Fröliche Sankt Nikolaus Tag!
On the eve of December 6, Sankt Nikolaus visits houses, leaving small toys and candy for the good boys and girls. In 2012, I celebrated my first Saint Nicholas Day with my MFA cohort. That year marked the beginning of a new holiday tradition.
Each year, I plan a party on or around the time of Saint Nicholas Day and each year, I've celebrated in a different residence. Moving to Boulder for graduate school meant moving--sometimes more than once--every year. One of the joys of traditions is that no matter where I was, I opened my home to celebrate the holidays with friends.
Each year, Sankt Nikolaus Tag is better than the previous year. Last year was the first year we played white elephant. This year, we took it to a whole new level. People stole gifts frequently to get the most coveted items. I baked, but didn't go overboard. Gingerbread bites to put in people's shoes, Mexican wedding balls, chocolate biscotti, and almond cupcakes (all gluten-, soy-, and coconut-free; also mostly vegan) awaited my guests. There were still too many baked goods, but what're the holidays if you don't eat more cookies than you should?
For my almond cupcakes, I used the funfetti recipe from Fork & Beans, adding a little bit of almond extract. Although the cupcakes were good, they sort of fell apart. Before I make them again, I'll have to troubleshoot this gluten-free, vegan baking issue. I watched a poinsettia piping tutorial on YouTube to decorate my cupcakes. They weren't perfect, but they kinda looked like flowers.
You'll see I've included the recipe for the Mexican wedding balls here. I also made chocolate biscotti and sugared cranberries, but this cookie recipe is one I've been perfecting since attempting to be gluten-free. I nailed it this year.
Mexican Wedding Balls
Makes about 40 cookies
2 cups + 1 Tbsp Cara's Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1/4 cup almond flour or meal
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 heaping cup powdered sugar (and more for dusting the cookies!)
1 cup earth balance, room temp
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350º.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, and xanthan gum. Set aside.
Sift 1/2 heaping cup of powdered sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer.
Add butter and cream the sugar and butter together.
Add egg and mix until well blended.
Add the flour mixture.
Fold in the chopped walnuts. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour, but not too much.
Roll cookies into balls that are about 1".
Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake 10 minutes, rotating at the halfway point.
Remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes.
Place 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a bowl.
After the cookies have cooled for about 3–4 minutes, roll in the powdered sugar.
Place them on a wire rack and let them cool another 5–10 minutes, then roll each cookie again.
These cookies are normally eaten in one bite and demand a class of almond milk (or your non-dairy/dairy beverage of choice).
As you're celebrating this holiday season, I hope you have good friends and good treats to make it all the merrier.