Christmas Cookies Are for Blogging

German Poppy Seed Cookies (Mohn)

German Poppy Seed Cookies

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Have you ever wondered why Christmas baking makes such heavy use of spices? The answer is surprisingly simple: For centuries spices were one of the world’s most valued commodities – sometimes costlier than gold – so using them lavishly in holiday baking was a way of demonstrating religious devotion. For the less high-minded, it was also a way to demonstrate worldly wealth. Other ingredients followed the same sort of logic, including poppy seeds, which we use here for this very old recipe for Poppy Seed Cookies.

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Festive Florentines (naturally gluten-free!)

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In Europe many Christmas cookies are nut-based, held together with either beaten egg whites or some form of caramel. Florentines are one of the most popular, a caramel-base cookie rich with almonds. They’re sold and enjoyed year-round, but are especially prized during the holidays.  They are naturally gluten-free, too!

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