My Childhood Christmas Cookies Are the Best You'll Ever Bake
Brown butter, sweet jam, and a hint of cardamom make these Bavarian Spitzbuben unforgettable.
Tortellini Dolci al Forno (Emilian Fruit-Stuffed Christmas Cookies)
Not to be confused with the pasta of the same name, these classic Emilian Christmas cookies are made from a tender, flaky dough filled with a sweet-tart trio of fruit: cherry preserves, rich saba (cooked-down grape must), and candied citron.
Brown Butter-Cardamom Spitzbuben
German for “cheeky boys,” these Bavarian cookies will be the star of your holiday cookie platter. Brown butter and cardamom make this simple cookie into a fragrant treat. Take the time to freshly grind the cardamom—its robust, citrusy flavor is worth it. You can use round or fluted cutters to cut out the cookies and any shape that takes your fancy for the center.
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Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Dulce de Leche Peda Filling
Adorned with edible flower petals and gold leaf, these spiced sandwich cookies, which blogger and cookbook author Hetal Vasavada makes for her Diwali celebration, are an occasion unto themselves. Store-bought dulce de leche enriches a filling inspired by peda, a creamy Indian milk fudge flavored with cardamom. For the toppings, be sure to seek out 24-karat gold or pure silver, which is safe for consumption. (Purchase from Slo Food Group: Loose Leaf Edible Gold Sheets, $41.99 for 25 sheets; Loose Leaf Edible Silver Foil, $16 for 25 sheets; slofoodgroup.com.) For flowers, Vasavada likes to use calendula and pansies, and notes that fresh petals from Whole Foods or other retailers will work as long as they marked as “edible.”
Thumbprint Cookies with White Chocolate-Espresso Ganache
Baking legend Claudia Fleming based these melt-in-your mouth cookies on a recipe her mother used to make. They owe their texture to the perfect amount of cornstarch, which makes them exquisitely crumbly without being too dry. The buttercream-like filling is light in texture but stable thanks to the white chocolate.