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Holiday Cookies-Gavan Knox

I love the whole giving aspect of the holiday season and for me food, in particular cookies, is a perfect festive love language. Whether it’s a cookie exchange party or wrapped under the tree, there’s nothing better than seeing people smile as you give them the gift of some delicious cookies.

So, this year, I’ve decided to run a “12 Days of Christmas Cookies” series where I am sharing a different cookie recipe a day. These cookie recipes range from tradition to innovative and easy to ones requiring a little more time. Here are my top three that I think you will all love and be sure to check out my Instagram for the rest of them.

Lebkuchen Hearts

A traditional German gingerbread-style cookie, Lebkuchen is the taste of the holidays. It’s simple, comforting and the warm spices of the holiday season singing through.

Lebkuchen Hearts

Makes 20-30 hearts (dependant on cookie cutter size)

Ingredients

Cookies

  • ½ cup runny honey
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 ½ Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2/3 cup ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ½ teaspoon Lebkuchen spice *see below
  • ½ Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 oz candies mixed peel (optional)
  • Zest ½ lemon
  • Pinch Kosher salt

To Decorate

  • 1 egg white, lightly whisked
  • Blanched almond halves (optional)
  • Glace cherry halves (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the honey brown sugar, butter in a small pan and heat over a low heat until melted. Stir occasionally until fully blended. Remove from heat and set aside until needed
  2. Place the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together to combine
  3. Pour over the melted honey mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon to form a sticky dough. Cover with a clean dish cloth and set aside for an hour. By this time the dough should become more workable
  4. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line two baking/ cookie trays with baking parchment
  5. Lightly flour a counter-surface and roll out the dough to  1/8inch thickness. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, punch out hearts and place them on your prepared baking cheets, spacing ¾ inch apart. Re-roll any dough scraps to form additional cookies and repeat
  6. Brush the top of each cookie with the whisked egg white and place an almond or cherry half in the centre of each cookie
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and just firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely
  8. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for month or more. They will soften over time

*Lebkuchen Spice Mix

  • 5 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise
  • ½ teaspoon ground mace
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Combine all the ingredients and whisk to thoroughly combine. Transfer to an airtight storage jar and store for up to a year

Amaretti Morbidi

These cookies are a treat for almond lovers everywhere, with their chewy exterior and soft, marzipan-like middle. They are also gluten free, which is a bonus.

 Amaretti Morbidi

Makes 15

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups finely ground almonds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Powdered sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet or cookie tray with baking paper
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together ground almond, sugar and salt until well combined
  3. In a mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks
  4. Add the beaten egg whites and almond extract to dry ingredients and stir until mixture forms a soft, sticky dough, kneading with your hands if necessary
  5. Lightly dust your hands with powdered sugar. Use a small cookie scoop to portion dough into 1-inch balls. Roll into a smooth ball, then roll in powdered sugar. Arrange on your prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch of space between cookies
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are cracked and bottoms are just barely golden. Remove from oven; let cool a few minutes on the baking trays, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely
  7. Cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight bag or container, for up to 5 days

Grinchy Christmas Wreaths

These Christmas wreaths are crispy, chewy and a huge hit with the little ones. You can get them to help once the mixture is cool enough for them to handle. Overall, the perfect dose of holiday fun.

Crispy Christmas Wreathes

Makes 18

Ingredients

  • 8 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups (30) large marshmallows
  • A few drops of green food coloring gel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups cornflakes
  • Red candy coated chocolates (M&Ms)

Method

  1. Line a large baking/ cookie tray with baking parchment and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside
  2. Add butter to a large pan and melt over a low heat
  3. Add in the marshmallows and cook, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth
  4. Remove pan from the heat, adding in the food coloring and vanilla extract, whisking until evenly blended
  5. Add the cornflakes and stir gently until well coated
  6. Working quickly to avoid the mixture hardening, use two small spoons (or your lightly oiled fingers) to drop small amounts- roughly 2 tablespoons, of mixture onto your prepared cookie sheet. Using  your fingers shape these mounds into wreath shapes with open centres
  7. While the wreath cookies are still sticky. Add the red candy coated chocolates for berries
  8. Set the finished wreath cookies aside to dry for several hours until they are fil and hold their shape
  9. The finished cookies can be kept for 1 month in an airtight container at room temperature

Whether you try one or all, I hope you enjoy this selection of festive cookies. You can check out more Christmas cookies on my Instagram and don’t forget to check back over the next few days for more.

Wishing you all a happy, safe, and cookie-filled holiday season!

Award-winning Irish, Canadian baker, chocolate aficionada and LGBTQ+ father of two, Gavan Knox is the only competitor from Eastern Canada to appear on the third season of Food Network Canada’s The Great Chocolate Showdown. Where he defined his baking philosophy of taking point on using unexpected ingredients and flavours. 

Knox has become the resident baking expert on many daytime shows including The Social, The Marilyn Denis Show, Your Morning, Cityline, CP24, CTV Calgary, CHCH and The Kelly Kutrara Show. 

Knox has also been featured in major publications such as Foodism Toronto, The Montreal Guardian, The Guardian, Delicious Magazine, Gay Times and Attitude.

Website: https://crumbsinmybeard.ca/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crumbsinmybeardyyz/?hl=en

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@crumbsinmybeardyyz?lang=en

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