St. Nikolaus Speculatius (Kris Kringle) Cookies
(German Spice Cookies)
Here is another variation of the European spice cookies so popular for St. Nicholas Day—this one has sour cream and finely chopped walnuts. This recipe is also given by Maria Trapp, of the Trapp Family Singers, in Around the Year with the Trapp Family. Makes a tasty thin, crisp cookie.
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup dairy sour cream
4½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
Cream shortening and sugar; blend in sour cream. Mix and sift dry ingredients; add slowly to creamed mixture. (Do not use electric mixer if dough is too stiff.) Stir in walnuts. Divide into 4 portions; wrap each portion in aluminum foil; chill several hours or overnight. Work with one portion of dough at a time, leaving the others in the refrigerator. Roll out very thin, cut with St. Nicholas cutters. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes. (Roll scraps into a ball; refrigerate briefly before re-rolling.) Frost and decorate as desired.
The girls left their shoes out, as the tradition goes, since Nicholas was said to have thrown bags of gold coins through a window or down a chimney, where it landed in the shoes/stockings of three poor girls whose father didn't have enough money to provide for their dowries.
In the morning, they found golden (chocolate) coins filling there shoes, along with a few new holy cards, an empty little manger (the baby Jesuses will appear in them on Christmas morning!), and sacrifice beads (which Caroline was thrilled to get!). Beside their shoes, the girls found two new books (Advent/Christmas season-related), an ornament of the Holy family, and a bowl of nuts with our nutcracker alongside!
Here's a close-up of our coins... Jessica at Shower of Roses made a document with these St. Nicholas images, which are sized to fit the large chocolate coins perfectly! She generously shared the file on her blog, and I printed them off and glued them onto our coins - what a nice little touch!
Caroline holds her tiny manger... I found these at the gift shop at the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, Florida... they were only a couple bucks each, so I picked them up to be stocking stuffers. Then I decided to have the mangers go in their shoes on St. Nicholas Day, and then the baby Jesus figures will probably be found at the bottoms of their stockings on Christmas Day!
Candy Cane Coffee Cake (recipe found here at Catholic Cuisine)... well, it is supposed to be candy-cane shaped, anyway, as a reminder of the shape of the bishop's crozier! We also talked about how candy canes are shaped like the letter J for Jesus. I made a basic dough recipe I like to use for this kind of recipe, and I found a combination jam of cherry/strawberry/currants/some other red fruit, and I used it instead of cherry jam... yummy!
We had German Chocolate Hot Cocoa (the girls still aren't too "hot" on hot chocolate, for some crazy reason, but Chris and I enjoyed it!!) and oranges along with the coffee cake. I used the nutcracker to distribute a few nuts at breakfast but stopped after taking down one of our St. Nicks with a flying piece of shell!