Lidia Bastianich and her daughter, Tanya Manuali, have come out with their eighth cookbook, “Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian.”
Brenda Kurczewski, who submitted this buttery pretzel-shaped cookie recipe of German origin, has been baking Christmas cookies for 35 years. Many are quite complicated, using ingredients not found in the average grocery store, "but that's what makes them so special for the Christmas holiday," she writes. She uses a kitchen scale that measures grams, available at any kitchen retailer.
- 200 grams (about 7 ounces, almost 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 300 grams powdered sugar (about 10.5 ounces or 1/3 cup), divided
- 1 egg yolk
- Pinch of salt ( 1/8 teaspoon)
- The inner scraping of a whole vanilla bean
- 300 grams flour (about 10.5 ounces)
- 1 egg white
- 6 centiliters Pott or Jamaican rum (4 tablespoons plus 1/8 teaspoon)
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Knead the butter with 1/3 of the powdered sugar. Add egg yolk, salt and vanilla bean scrapings.
Sift the flour into the butter mixture, and mix only until blended. This is best done by hand. Wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough 1/4-inch thick. Using a pretzel cookie cutter, cut out cookies. (You can make pretzels by hand, rolling a small piece of dough to a long rope and twisting into a pretzel shape.) Bake until firm and golden on the bottom side of the cookie. Cool. Glaze.
For the glaze
Mix remaining 2/3 of powdered sugar with the egg white, rum and lemon juice. Brush over the tops of the pretzels. Store in air-tight containers in freezer.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
-- Brenda Kurczewski, Moon