It’s been a fun-filled few weeks since I posted last. We celebrated Christmas with my family back in Italy which is always a treat. Granted, there was little if any natural snow, but plenty of the man-made kind which made skiing possible, if slightly different than in other years. And the weather was great, too, which meant we spent time on the terraces of my favorite slope-side chalets enjoying outstanding home-made dishes in the sweet company of my family and friends. And if that was not enough to cheer me up, imagine how I felt when I learned that one of my cookie recipes was selected as a winner in a public radio show! Come and cook with us!
We left the city in a haze but one of the last things I did was submit my favorite Christmas Lebkuchen recipe to a cookie contest hosted by the Leonard Lopate show on the public New York radio station WNYC featuring no other than New York Times’ very own Melissa Clark. These cookies have always been my favorite kind: chewy, not too sweet, a little spicy but simple in its ingredients. The reason Melissa Clark picked them as part of her Baking Cookies with Melissa Contest was that unlike many other cookies, my Lebkuchen cookies are made of 100% rye flour. As you can hear from my interview (I’m on at minute 12:00) the reason is that rye, along with buckwheat, is one of the heartier grains making it ideal to grow at our altitude. Back then, you made due with what you had. So rye lebkuchen was one of those classic traditional Christmas treats that around here have been around for ages. Literally. Also, unlike the comparable american ginger bread cookie, our Lebkuchen cookies do not contain ginger. It did not grow there back then, and neither does it now.
My winning lebkuchen are quick and easy to make and I’m proud to say that Melissa baked them and liked them as well. If you’d like to give them a try, here is my recipe. However, if you’ve already moved into the New Year and can’t really think of eating, let alone baking one more holiday cookie, make these baked apples instead. They are easy, delicious and perfect for this colder time of the year. And they are a classic from home, as well. Here is to a great year of delicious cooking – and baking – together. Come and bake with us!