Welcome back, Dresden Files fans!
I do hope you’ve enjoyed your Wild Hunter’s Pie from a few weeks ago. I apologize in advance as this will be a shorter post due to a sinus infection sapping all of my energy as of late. Though I did promise you milk and cookies for the Yule Season, didn’t I?
As you may remember from the series, the King of the Winter Faerie Court happens to be that red and white clad, beard rocking and carol humming giver of Yuletide cheer, Santa Claus. I’m going to go ahead and give you another spoiler, though, as it’s already known in folklore: He is also Odin, King of the Aesir in Norse Mythology.
That’s right, folks, as Kringle says “Masks, mantles, what’s the difference?”
A good number of our modern day Christmas traditions are derived from the Germanic pagan Yule Festival — the yule log, the yule ham, carol singing. Odin worshippers would even tie fruit and candles to the boughs of evergreen trees to give thanks to the all-father. So with this in mind, I wanted to create a holiday cookie that pays homage to that hooded, cloaked gift bringer of the North as he rides across the sky on the back of his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir.
I first made up a dough using not only butter but also solidified bacon grease to offer a yule ham sacrifice to Odin, and apple butter in homage to the golden apples of eternal youth. Don’t have bacon grease? Fry up some and drain the rendered fat into a clean, sealable jar before sticking it in the fridge for a few hours. It’s also a divine spread to griddle cheese sandwiches in. Though do I really need to convince you to fry up bacon?
To this base, I also added ground cardamom since it’s commonly used in Scandinavian pastries (and because it’s so darn tasty). I then rolled it, dusting with powdered sugar instead of flour to keep it light and add a little extra caramelization. I then got creative with the standard Christmas cookie cutters, cutting and pressing fun images such as:
Sleipdolph, the eight-legged and red-nosed reindeer!
Odin’s Offering Trees,
Evergreen Valknut Wreaths,
Odin’s Turtle Ravens
The Triple Candy Horn of Odin
and the golden apples of eternal youth ornaments!
That gloppy and delicious icing is not just a standard buttercream, either. Mixed into that sticky goodness is more apple butter, and honey as a mead-like toast to the jingle-bell ringing leader of the Wild Hunt.
So pour yourself a horn of mead or milk, and settle into a long Winter’s sugar coma with these cookies. If you’re looking for a feast for dinner, check out my recipe for Wild Hunter’s Pie from last month. I thank you again for stopping by, my fellow fans of the Dresden Files Universe. Your enthusiasm drives me to delve even deeper to the culinary possibilities of this world.
Until next time, Happy Yule, Christmas, and Holidays, my friends!
Yields about 3-dozen cookies
Equipment: Stand mixer, wire whisk, oven, rolling pin, cookie sheets, cookie cutters, parchment paper.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup solidified bacon grease
- 1/4 cup apple butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- powdered sugar
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 tablespoons apple butter
- 2 tablespoons milk
For the cookies:
- Beat the sugar, apple butter, and bacon fat in the bowl of the stand mixer until completely incorporated. Add the cream and egg and beat to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, salt, cardamom, and baking powder. Set the stand mixer on low and gradually add the dry mix to the wet ingredients until it forms a thick dough. Scrape the dough into a lidded container and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until ready to bake. You may want to stick your rolling pin in the freezer for about a half an hour before rolling to keep the dough cold.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Lightly dust the area you plan to roll out your dough with powdered sugar. Cut the dough into 4 portions and only take one out of the fridge at a time. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut desired shapes with the cookie cutters.
- If the dough becomes too warm, stick it back in the fridge for about 10 minutes while working on another portion. Continue to dust the surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar to keep from sticking. Place the cut cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheets about an inch away from each other, making sure to keep similar sized and detailed shapes on the same baking sheets.
- Bake cookies with thinner shapes like birds and reindeer for about 6 minutes, while larger cookies like the valknuts and apples can bake up to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven when the cookies are beginning to brown around the edges. Let sit on the sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely before icing.
For the icing:
Beat all the wet ingredients together in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar gradually until fully incorporated and spreadable. Color as desired with food coloring. Decorate cookies and enjoy immediately, or refrigerate after decorating to set the icing for gifting.