Recipe courtesy of Mihaela Pesa Dascalu

Romanian Holiday Cookies

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 20 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: about 4 dozen, 1 1/2-inch cookies.
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Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch salt

1 cup lard, at room temperature, cut into pieces

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup water

Walnuts, Turkish delight or slivered almonds, for decoration

1/2 cup powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. 
  3. In a heavy duty mixer, beat lard until softened. Add the egg, vanilla, and dry ingredients all at once. Mix on low speed until a thick dough forms. Cook's Note: Dough can be piped into flowers, shaped using a cookie press, or rolled into 1-inch balls. 
  4. Place a piece of walnut or Turkish delight in the middle of each cookie and press a little. 
  5. Line the cookies on a baking sheet (ungreased, or lined with parchment paper), leaving a 1-inch space in between. Bake in the preheated oven 15 minutes, or until slightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven, allow to cool and dust with powdered sugar.