These tender Polish Pierniki Christmas Cookies are a holiday favorite. The licorice-flavored cookies capture the holiday spirit with a generous topping of festive sprinkles.
I have talked a lot about family recipes, locally significant recipes and how food generally creates a
Perhaps one of the reasons I am so drawn to the topic of food as history is because we lost many of our traditional polish recipes through the years. I will not go into our family history AGAIN, but my great grandmother came from Poland with her husband and oldest son, they settled in East Rochester on Pine Street. My Grandmother fell in love with a French Canadain working on the rail cars and married young. My grandparents wanted nothing more than to be American, and that meant shaking off a lot of the Old World traditions and recipes.
Of course, a few special recipes have stood the test of time. But some just never got passed down, and I occasionally find myself looking for a way to celebrate our polish heritage in small ways throughout the year, but especially around the holidays. This year I really wanted to add a traditional Polish Christmas Cookie to my Cookie Tray, and I was thrilled to find this recipe for Anise Pierniki.
Here’s the thing, if you’re at a loss for the traditional foods of your cultural
Tips for Making Cut-Out Christmas Cookies
After rolling the cookie dough it should chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour before making the cookies. Place the cookie sheet with the stacked dough in the fridge. This extra step of chilling the dough helps the cookies cut out cleanly and helps them their shape when they are being transferred to the baking sheet. As you cut out and bake the cookies any dough you are not currently using should be kept in the refrigerator. You really want the butter to set back up and have a firm dough to work with. You can see below my cookie dough is very firm and the cookie will stand and hold its shape.
All ovens run slightly different, and these variances become painfully obvious when you are trying out a new recipe, but it seems especially so when you are cooking cut-outs! Set the timer for about half the recommended bake time, especially with new recipes. It is always a good idea to turn your cookies sheets halfway through baking time for more even cooking, and this quick check in half-way through also lets you monitor the progress of the baking, and fine-tune the baking time without running the risk of over-baking the cookies.
When baking the cookies DO NOT OVER BAKE! Monitor the first batch closely. These cookies do not brown or turn golden. The cookies are done baking and need to be removed from the oven when the edges of the cookies just barely begin to turn golden brown.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons milk
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon anise extract or oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 6-8 Tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon anise extract or oil (optional)
- Assorted sprinkles
- In a stand mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the anise, egg yolks, and milk, beating to combine. In a separate bowl, sift baking powder and salt into flour, then add to wet ingredients, mixing until incorporated. Dough will be thick and sticky.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 1 day.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Flour your workstation moderately, as well as your hands and rolling pin. Take half of the dough and dust it with flour, knead it into a ball, then roll it out to about ¼ inch thick, dusting the cookie dough with flour sparingly, but as needed to manage the dough.
- Cut with cookie cutters. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, until edges are just barely golden
- Remove from oven and cool on pans for 3-4 minutes, then remove to cooling rack with a metal spatula.
- Combine ingredients in a small bowl and beat until a fluffy buttercream consistency is reached, adding milk or sugar as necessary to thicken or thin the frosting.
- Gently spread frosting on each cookie and decorate with sprinkles as desired.
- Allow the frosted cookies to set on a wire cooling rack, for the frosting to set before packaging and storing.
Yields depend on thickness and size of cutter.
All ovens run slightly different. Set the timer for about half the recommended bake time, especially with new recipes. It is always a good idea to turn your cookies sheets halfway through baking time, and this quick check in half-way through also lets you monitor the progress of the baking, and fine-tune the baking time without running the risk of over-baking the cookies.
Christmas/Holiday Cookie Cutter Set with Recipe Book - 3 Piece - Snowflake, Gingerbread Man and Christmas Tree - Ann Clark Cookie Cutters - USA Made Steel
Gobam Wood Rolling Pin Dough Roller for making Pasta, Cookies, Pie Pizza, 11-inch-by-1.38-inch
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet (2 Pack), Silver
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Recipe Adapted from: The Crumbly Kitchen
I am a huge fan of black