It’s nearly the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Historic records are pretty spotty, but generally speaking, the Solstice would be treated as a feast day. In Germanic and Scandinavian traditional cultures, Jul would take place around the solstice as a feast day wherein animals were slaughtered and beer which had been started a month or so earlier (after the grain was harvested) would be drunk. It was, in short, a time to get drunk, stuff your face and give thanks to the gods with your family and neighbors.
I could talk a lot about how the mythology and symbols around the Solstice was taken up by conquering Christians as a means to assimilate the culture (ie, evergreens were brought inside to represent eternal life in a season of death; stars and suns were common decorative accents – an assurance that the sun would rise again). But instead, I’m going to post a cookie recipe.
I used a lot of different citrus fruits (Orange, Lime and Lemon) in this recipe because I had a lot of citrus on hand – ’tis the season. I like all the different flavors, but you could always use just lemon or just orange or just lime. I also freshly ground cardamom for this recipe (which entailed cracking open green cardamom pods to get to the seeds and then running those seeds through a burr grinder). If you use already ground cardamom, you may need to add more of it for flavor. I should also say, I bought some King Arthur almond flour because it was a finer ground than the Bob’s Red Mill brand I’d been using and it made a huge difference in the texture of these cookies. I chose not to ice these cookies because the cooling effect of the Erythritol in icing was unpleasant to both me and Michael – as such, I added some EZ-Sweetz liquid splenda to the dough for some extra sweetness.
Citrus Cardamom Cookies
1 1/2 cups Almond Flour
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom, ground
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1/4 teaspoon Salt
6 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Erythritol (I powdered mine for use in this recipe)
1 1/2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Orange Juice (juice from a quarter of a medium orange)
1 1/2 tablespoon citrus zest: I used lime and orange zest
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
A few drops of EZ-Sweetz (to taste – I probably added 1/4 teaspoon)
Optionally: sea salt for topping
Mix dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt) in a bowl and set aside. In a mixer, cream together butter and Erythritol (maybe a couple minutes of mixing). Add the egg, lemon and orange juice, vanilla extract, EZ-Sweetz and zest. Mix until incorporated, then gradually mix in the dry ingredients. Once the dry ingredients are mixed in, divide the dough in half. Flatten each half and wrap in wax or parchment paper to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a cookie sheet in parchment paper. I rolled out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes, but the dough is a bit wet and sticky (you can tell, because I gave up and started cutting the dough with a boring old biscuit cutter). If you don’t want to cut out shapes with cookie cutters, this dough would work great as a log that you cut – in which case, divide the dough in half, roll each half into an even log (maybe two inches in diameter) and set in the fridge for at least half an hour. Then just slice the log into 1/4 inch rounds and cook those. The cookies bake for about 10 minutes: as soon as they start to brown at the edges, they’re done.
Because I wasn’t icing the cookies, I topped a small number of cookies with a bit of fleur de sel on an impulse. Turns out, both Michael and I really liked those salt-topped cookies, so I totally recommend doing that. I’d say we got about 30 cookies out of this recipe.
Nutrition Facts (per cookie):
Calories: 57 kcal
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Total Carbohydrate: 2 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 2 g
Net Carbohydrate: 1 g
And happy solstice! I’ll be busting open a very, very dry hard cider tomorrow instead of a beer and we’ll be feasting on tofu, but it’s the thought that counts, right?