Maltese Lemon Christmas Cookies

by eat in my kitchen

Maltese Christmas Cookies

I got this recipe from Jenny, my boyfriend’s mother, who makes these wonderful lemony cookies every year at Christmas time. She lives in Malta, in the Mediterranean, where everyone has their own citrus trees or knows someone who has enough citrus fruits to give away. Many Maltese recipes are made with lots of lemon juice or zest and I love it. I used to cook and bake more carefully with lemon and lime flavours but I became quite brave with it over the years. It doesn’t have to be a shy add-on, it should stand out in many variations.

These flaky cookies are  stuffed with lots of lemon zest, they fill the house with such a beautiful, warm and buttery citrus smell. It’s absolutely lovely!

Maltese Christmas Cookies

Maltese Lemon Christmas Cookies

Makes about 70 cookies

plain flour 160g / 1 1/4 cups
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
cream of tartar 1/2 teaspoon
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
butter, soft, 120g / 1/2 cup
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
vanilla pod 1/2, split and scraped
lemon zest, freshly grated, 1 1/2 teaspoons
organic egg 1
sprinkles, for the topping

Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a large bowl.

In a second large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg and continue mixing until well combined. Add the dry flour mixture to the butter mixture and continue mixing with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until combined. Scrape the dough onto a piece of cling film, form a thick disc, wrap and freeze for 30-45 minutes or until the dough is hard.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) (preferably convection setting). Line 2 (or more) baking sheets with parchment paper.

Once the dough is hard, brake 1/4 off the dough and keep the remaining dough wrapped in cling film in the fridge. Lay a large piece of cling film on the kitchen counter and cover generously with flour, lay the dough on top, dust the dough with flour and cover with a second layer of cling film. Roll the dough out thinly with a rolling pin. The dough is quite buttery, if it sticks to the cling film, dust it with more flour. Dip the cookie cutters in flour and cut out cookies. Carefully transfer them to the lined baking sheets, spread them with a bit of space in between and decorate them generously with sprinkles. Continue with the remaining dough. Bake for 6-7 minutes (slightly longer if using conventional) or until golden. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack.

Once the cookies are completely cool, store them in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

Maltese Christmas Cookies