christmas

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[From the archives. I'm not making a lot of cookies these days, but when I do these are still big favorites. They are quite plain but buttery-good, rather like shortbread but a little less rich. They are great Christmas cookies. Originally published December 2008.]

When it comes to cookies, I like them rather plain and not overly sweet. This traditional cookie from the Bretagne (Brittany) in France is so plain and simple, that the ingredients really shine. It is made of flour, sugar, egg, and the famously delicious salted butter (beurre demi-sel) of the region. Somewhat related to shortbread or sablé cookies but not as rich, for me they are almost the perfect cookie, and very more-ish.

The salted butter is the key to this cookie's distinctive nutty, buttery sweet-salty flavor. The best salted butter from the Bretagne and other regions along the Atlantic in France are creamy-fresh and rich, with little glistening crystals of salt still visible. If you can get a hold of really good salted butter, you can use traditional recipes and the cookies will turn out the way they should. If not, some adjustments need to be made. So, I would recommend following the variation of the recipe that meets your butter quality.

(You might see something called galettes bretonnes au sarrasin. These refer to a thin crêpe or pancake made out of buckwheat (sarrasin) flour, usually served with a savory filling. I love those too, but these article is about the cookie galettes bretonnes.)

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My stepfather: accountant by day, Santa by nights and weekends.

Originally published in December 2005, edited in November 2008.

Bubbling Vin Chaud

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A Christmas post from 5 years ago, during Just Hungry: The Early Years.

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Sweet Christmas ornaments

Some spun-sugar candy Christmas ornaments being sold at the Christmas market in Zürich.

Have a great weekend! I'll be off exploring more Christmas markets over the weekend.

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From the archives. I did this 3 years ago, and will likely never do it again. This is offered as a cautionary tale should you be contemplating creating a Turducken for your Thanksgiving or other holiday feast. Originally published on December 28, 2005, and edited slightly.

I am not sure what came over us. We were planning a quiet, simple Christmas dinner - maybe roast a goose, or a nice chicken or two, or something. But then someone blurted out the infamous words.

"Hey, why don't we try a Turducken?"

In case you are not familiar with turducken, it is basically a Tur(key) stuffed with a duck(en) stuffed with a (chick)en. It supposedly originated in Louisiana, and has been popularized by famed New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme.

Keep reading OMG, Turducken →

I am suddenly behind on everything - work, holiday tasks, shopping, etc. etc. I was planning to do a lot of Christmas food related thing - you know, make a stollen or six, maybe a Christmas pudding (should have been made a month ago), cookies, etc. I may still have time for the cookies, the rest I'm not sure.

There is one thing that I have done that took me maybe 10 minutes max, and part of that time was spend let's say, sampling the wares.

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Confiserie Sprüngli Zürich Christmas Chocolates

A reader emailed me asking, how people celebrate Christmas in Japan.

My answer to that is ... "Not very well." But I get to pick and choose.

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