Glad I had taken notes last Christmas season, when experimenting with healthier ingredients for traditional cookie recipes. This one had been a hit. So I just made more again last night. The biggest challenge will be saving them for when we’re entertaining guests!
I discovered a few things: 1) Leave the traditional “Russian Tea Cake” recipe alone! I subbed whole wheat flour for all-purpose, and coconut palm sugar for confectioner’s sugar. Wondering if I could “powder” some palm sugar, I processed some of it in my Vitamix, to roll the fresh-baked cookies in. Of course they turned out more like “Spice Balls” or “Mud Balls”, being brown in color. They just didn’t fit in with my Christmas theme!
Discovery 2) Springerle might turn out if they don’t get over-cooked. And aren’t made with brown ingredients! I again had subbed whole wheat flour and palm sugar for the white ingredients. The dough rolled out just fine using the special rolling pin that embosses the dough with a cute design. I left them overnight to air-dry, as per instructions, baking them Christmas Eve morning. But I could hardly recognize that they were getting overdone—when brown gets browner, one might not notice! So the Springerle cookies got over-cooked, and were almost hard as rock. Yes, they were cute brown, embossed squares…cute for a dog bisquit, that is!
Discovery 3) Almond Orange Biscotti is actually pretty good made with the whole wheat flour and palm sugar. A touch of anise seed adds a nice, Italian-style flavor, and they keep well, to serve up on any occasion when guests may drop by. Great with tea! The following recipe makes around 16 slices.
- 1/2 c. butter
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 c. palm sugar
- 2 tsp. orange zest (preferable from organic orange)
- 1 tsp. anise seed (or orange zest)
- 1 c. plus 2 TBS. whole wheat flour (or 1 c. all-purpose)
- 1/2 c. blanched almonds (whole or slivered)
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Oil and flour a 9×5” loaf pan. Beat butter, eggs and sugar on high for 8 minutes or so, until light. Use: > 1/2 c. butter > 2 eggs > 2/3 c. palm sugar
2. Stir in remaining ingredients: > 2 tsp. orange zest > 1 tsp. anise seed > 1 c. plus 2 TBS. fresh-ground flour (or 1 c. all-purpose) > 1/2 c. blanched almonds (whole or slivered)
3. Pour into the oiled, floured pan; it will be about half full. Bake for 20 minutes or so at 375 degrees. Toothpick inserted in center will come out clean when it’s done.
4. Remove loaf from pan and slice into sixteen 1/2” slices. Bake on parchment (or oiled cookie sheet) for 5 minutes.
5. Turn cookies over and bake 5 minutes more, until slightly browned on sides. Turn oven off and leave in for 5-10 minutes longer, if desired, to get cookies a bit crisper.
6. Optional: Dip in melted chocolate. Serve with coffee or tea!