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Childhood Christmas and Few Cookies Stories – part 1

I love to spend Christmas at home, because Christmas is all about this – reunions, love, family, refreshing memories of good times, the tree, the cookies and all the winter. I love also, and I’m trying each year, to make each Christmas as Romanian as possible. Being away from my home country for years, made me realize that I miss a lot the good meals made with local ingredients, so each year, I’m trying to reproduce an authentic Romanian Christmas, as on the times when I was a child.

The tender shortbread cookies have an amazing taste when my grandma is making them, this year I tried them in my kitchen to see if I can reproduce that amazing taste. And yes, is possible, so for all Romanians which are abroad, don’t be shy to try this amazing recipe even if you are not in Romania.

My number 1 Christmas recipe – (also my grandma’s recipe) the cheese sticks with fennel – I could eat it day and night. I don’t know why I love them so much, but I do, so feel free to try this recipe. You’ll find for sure, more or less similar recipes around the internet, but be confident and try this one, and you’ll feel the difference. Until the Christmas I will try to make all other favorite Romanian recipes and I’ll post them here. Happy baking, folks!

[stextbox id=”custom”]Egg, bacon and milk breakfast
This is my favorite breakfast made with organic homemade bacon (made by my grandpa) and my all time favorite fried egg with cheese. There’s nothing best and faster you can think of, than this meal. Serve it also with a bit of greens and finely drink some good milk.[/stextbox]

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Tender shortbread cookies

Ingredients (around 20 small pieces):
3 cups all-purpose flour
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
4 tablespoons powder sugar
raspberry jam for filling

Directions:
1. Using an electric mixer or the bread machine, at medium speed mix the butter and the flour, until the mixture has a crumbly consistency. Keeping at low speed, add in the water and the vinegar and keep mixing until the mixture forms a dough. Transfer the dough to a plastic sheet and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Spread the dough on your work surface (already sprinkled with flour) and flatten to a big square or rectangle. Cut it in small squares (2x2cm) or larger triangles. Fill each one with the jam of your choice. Roll them in a form of small croissants. Place them in a tray already lined with a parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Immediately after you have discarded from the tray, sprinkle generously  with powder sugar.
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Grandma’s cheese sticks with fennel
Ingredients:
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons of sour cream
2 teaspoons active yeast
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
cheese (of your choice) and fennel

Directions:
1. Place the milk lightly heated, in a small bowl and dissolve the yeast. Let it rest for 10 minutes. With an electric mixer or the bread machine, cream butter, sour cream, flour, oil, salt, 1 egg and milk and yeast until fluffy and well combined. Let it rest until doubled in size, around 1 hour. Than, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 20 minutes.
2. Divide dough in 2 parts and line each one in a form of big rectangle or square. Coat each one with the egg lightly beaten, then sprinkle with cheese (of your choice, I prefer salted and dry cheese) and finely top with fennel. Using a pastry cutter, divide the big lined dough in sticks, 1-2 cm large. Place them in a tray already lined with a parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray and cook for 15 minutes, at 180°C or until lightly golden. Cool sticks on a wire rack.

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