Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Cookies with a Finnish Flair

It's Christmas cookie baking season. I love making our traditional family favorites, but I also love trying some new cookies that may become future family faves.
I came across this recipe for Ruiskakut (Rye Cookies) in the 2007 edition of Christmas Baking. It is a publication of Better Homes and Gardens.
The simple, easy to make, recipe calls for rye flour and I happened to have some in the pantry so thought we'd give it a try. I couldn't imagine a recipe with rye flour and only 4 other ingredients could produce a yummy cookie, but I was pleasantly surprised.
"In Finland, where rye grows better than wheat, rye flour is used in baking appetizing sweets as well as breads." pg. 32 Christmas Baking 2007
When my husband was growing up he had an exchange student from Finland. My mother-in-law still stays in contact with their former exchange student. I hope she tries this recipe and reports to them the results of her Finnish creations. Happy baking!
Ruiskakut (Rye Cookies)
Prep: 25 min.
Bake: 8 minutes per batch (in my oven we had to bake a little longer)
Oven: 350 degrees F

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups rye flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons cold water
blue and white decorating sugars (we had red and green on hand so we used them instead)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally.
2. Beat in the rye flour and all-purpose flour with an electric mixer on low speed until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the water, tossing mixture with a fork until a moist dough forms. Gently knead the dough until a ball forms.
3. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-3 inch scalloped round cookie cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary. Place cutouts on and ungreased cookie sheet.
4. To make wreath shapes, cut out the centers with a 2-inch scalloped round cutter; remove centers and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with decorating sugars.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are firm and edges begin to brown. Carefully transfer to a wire rack and cool. Makes about 48 cookies.
To Bake Ahead: Prepare as directed. Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

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