Marzipan Christmas Cookies (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

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Christmas cookie season has begun. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year and its seasonal treats have a special place in my heart (and stomach). The only problem of course is not letting the sugar send you into the downward spiral that is the sugar binge. Classic iced holiday cookies are often so sweet that they immediately give you that sugar high jolt followed shortly by the inevitable crash. This year I’ve been testing out a few recipes to satisfy my sweet tooth without going overboard.

I’m half-German so when it comes to Christmas cookies I crave almond, anise, and molasses. One of my favorite recipes is the Bethmännchen marzipan cookie. Because of its almond base and mildly sweet flavor, it’s the perfect cookie to tweak with a healthy twist.
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Marzipan Christmas Cookies (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup almond flour (additional 2 tablespoons reserved)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 egg
1/4 cup sliced almonds
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DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, blend almond flour with maple syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Almond extract can be strong, so start by adding 1/4 teaspoon and bump it up from there. Blend until a thick paste is formed. This is your marzipan.
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Next, separate the egg and set the yolk aside. Toss the egg white into your processor along with the arrowroot powder and additional almond flour. Your cookie dough will be thick and a little sticky. If it’s too sticky, you can add an additional teaspoon or two of almond flour. Scoop the dough into plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.
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Meanwhile preheat your oven to 275F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Once ready, take out your chilled dough and using your hands form it into small balls (about the size of a walnut). Using your hands, form little balls the size of a small walnuts and place them on the baking tray. It’s easier to roll balls if your hands are moistened. Place on baking tray; they don’t spread so you can crowd them fairly close.
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Mix your reserved egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and brush it across the top of your cookies. Decorate with three sliced almonds and bake for about 25 minutes. If you want to be really traditional you can use blanched almond halves, but it won’t make or break the recipe. I underbake mine because I like to make sure the insides were still nice and soft.
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Once they’re done, let cool for a few minutes before taste testing. This recipe serves 2-4 people (the cookies are small so the definition of a serving size is open to interpretation).
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All lined up on the baking tray. The nice thing about these cookies is that they don’t rise much or spread, so you can really pack them in on your baking sheet.

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marzipan cookies

I love how pretty and delicate they look. They’ll be the classiest cookie on the block.

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They were the perfect accompaniment to my afternoon cup of earl grey tea.

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These cookies are great for parties, although make sure you at least double or triple the recipe. Most hosts I know try to get rid of leftover sweets when the night is over, but these are subtly sweet enough that he/she might just want to keep a few.

What is your favorite holiday cookie? Gingerbread? Chocolate anything? Mil’s signature is her rum balls. Also, has anyone been watching The Great Holiday Baking Show?
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XOXO,
Jules

 

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Friday Favorites

Today I’m sharing this week’s favorites from Allentown, PA. We came out to attend a funeral and are staying an extra day to spend time with Nick’s family. Funerals are a funny thing: the conflicting feelings of sadness over the loss of life combined with the happiness that comes from reuniting with family and friends. Since moving out to Seattle, it’s been harder to see Nick’s family, so I’m thankful for every extra moment we get with them. Have a great weekend. Hope you’re spending it with the ones you love!
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FridayFavorites.
1. By now, most of you should know that pie is one of my all time favorite foods. Berry, chocolate, pumpkin, quiche…I love it all. Imagine my pure joy when I came across PieGram, a business built entirely around mailing people pies. Why didn’t I think of that?! #dreamjob

2. If PieGrams aren’t going to cut it as gifts for the whole family, check out Real Simple’s new holiday gifting service: Giftable. It helps you track holidays and collect gift ideas throughout the year.
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3. I’m a sucker for holiday movies, the Hallmark ones in particular. I love the cheesy story lines and the cookie cutter leading men. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of this month checking off some of the movies on this playlist.
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4. Everyone has their go-to cookie recipes they bring out every Christmas season. My good friend’s mom always makes the famed Neiman Marcus cookie recipe. After six or seven years of being gone, I’m looking forward to stopping by soon for a cup of coffee and a cookie or two.
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5. I love Lauren Conrad’s Ladies Who Laptop series. This month’s interview highlights Jordan Jones, the creative mind behind Packed Party and The Doorstep Necklace.
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XOXO,
Jules

Friday Favorites

This week’s favorites are semi-Thanksgiving themed as I’ve spent most of my free time this week browsing the web for new recipe ideas. Mil is a little under the weather right now, so send positive thoughts her way. In fact, at least a fourth of my workplace is sick so I probably need some of those thoughts as well! This weekend I’m heading over to her place to hopefully watch some movies and maybe break out my new Enchanted Forest coloring book. What are you up to this weekend?
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1. If my brother is reading this, he’ll be relieved to hear that we won’t be hosting a Paleo Thanksgiving. I definitely have big plans for at least one pie, stuffing (for Nick), and a big batch of the perfect fluffy mashed potatoes. I’ll be making a dairy-free version for me.
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2. Christmas is my favorite time of year in New York. While it’s freezing cold, the festive decorations and general holiday buzz in the air more than makes up for it. When I lived there, I particularly loved sipping a latte while gawking at the Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows. Here’s a peek at this year’s displays.
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3. This is a scary time both in the United States and across the world. To be honest I felt a little funny sharing a normal recipe post on Monday  in midst of so much worldwide grief and anger. Joanna Goddard captured this struggle in a brief but thoughtful post.
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4. Local blogger Julianna of Blush and Camo had a fun post this week on how to wear red. Too bad almost all my sweaters are all black, grey, and white. Time for some holiday shopping…?
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5. Any analysts out there? You’ll appreciate this strategic approach to Thanksgiving meal planning. Search for the perfect turkey recipe based on various criteria including easiest and most alternative.

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XOXO,
Jules

 

Holiday Gift Guide: The Book Lover

As the daughter of two librarians, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for books. I spent my childhood frolicking amidst the library stacks, and Jules and I have passed many a happy afternoon shopping for books together. I created our latest gift guide with all of our fellow bibliophiles in mind. These are the perfect picks for the lady who never leaves home without something to read (i.e. the Rory Gilmore of your friend group). She’s never met a bookstore she didn’t like, she’d trade closet space for bookshelf space any day, and she’ll likely go to her grave arguing that the book was better than the movie. (Not surprisingly, this guide contains several books. #6 is on my personal wish list.)

Holiday Gift Guide: The Book Lover

 


one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten

 

1. This stylish thermal coffee mug will help keep her caffeinated during frequent all-night reading sessions.

2. Texts From Jane Eyre imagines hilarious text conversations with beloved literary characters.

3. Any lit lover will get a kick out of these matchboxes featuring banned books.

4. This collection of postcards replicating vintage book covers is a great source of inspiration for what to read next (and who doesn’t love snail mail?).

5. She’ll love wandering the winding roads of her favorite stories with this book map.

6. This compilation of cocktails with a literary twist is perfect for your book club buddy who appreciates a well-crafted drink as much as a well-written novel.

7. Secret Lives of Great Authors combines history and absurdity; it’s a great choice for the friend who devours the classics and Us Weekly with equal vigor.

8. This notebook is for the girl who’s proud to have her brain turned by books.

9. A sassy tote bag is just what she’ll need to carry her latest haul home from the bookstore.

10. These candles are the perfect escape for book nerds; literary-inspired scents range from Winterfell to Sherlock’s study.

Happy shopping!

♥ Mil

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