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A Sweet Tour: Christmas Cookies around the World

Around this time of year, we’ll all be craving more sweets than usual.  So you start to write your list of New Year’s resolutions and those first entries (lose weight, eat healthy, get fit, or any of its many variants) but the thought of all the yummy desserts that are abundant during the holidays makes you salivate. These are days to enjoy, to eat and, especially, to share. Holiday baking is also one of the most typical holiday season activities. Spending time during the holidays cooking traditional recipes with your family is and will always be an important winter pastime. Of course, every household has their own unique and secret recipe for making the goodies that complement the family meals, and it’s interesting to see how each country has a preference for a particular type of treat. Here we take a closer look at some of them.


Germany – Lebkuchen

These treats originated near Nuremberg. They’re made of ginger, molasses and spices, coated by the famous lemon glaze. Almonds and honey are usually included as well. The secret to make them perfect is preparing them a day in advance, because they need to stand for at least 24 hours before you can add the final decoration.

Complete recipe: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1941/lebkuchen




Italy- Cantucci or Biscotti di Prato

These are very similar to the Catalan carquiñoles but have Tuscan origins. The Italian word biscotti refers to the cookies’ being baking twice, which explains its crispy texture and why they keep so well. Full of almonds, these are great for dunking in milk or serving with vin santo, a sweet wine typical of this region in Italy.

Complete recipe: http://www.academiabarilla.com/italian-recipes/step-step-recipes/cantucci-biscuits.aspx



France- Bredele

Made from flour, eggs, butter, lemon and milk, bredele date back to the eighteenth century but became popular in the early nineteenth century, which is when they began to sell them as a take-away treat. They are a typical sweet at the end of the year in France. They need to rest for a whole day after being made.

Complete recipe: http://bemiam.com/2013/11/25/bredele-christmas-cookies/



Spain – Marzipan

These sweets are typical of Toledo. The recipe couldn’t be simpler (raw almonds, sugar and an egg white glaze) and that might be the reason they are so ubiquitous at every Spanish Christmas table. The origins are said to date back to the Arab past of the peninsula. They come in different shapes, sizes and colors!

Complete recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-homemade-almond-paste-marzipan-148988



England / USA – Gingerbread Cookies

This classic figure-shaped cookie associated with the character in the movie Shrek has been an Anglo-Saxon tradition since the tenth century, but it’s actually popular throughout most of Europe. Ginger is an important ingredient, of course, and cinnamon and nutmeg are also often added. And although it seems easy, getting a good shaped man is not so easy. Do you think you’re up to the challenge?

Complete recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/gingerbread-cookies-ii/