A holiday treat: Christmas cookies from Black Forest Inn

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But first, I just realized that the Minnesota Opera’s production of Silent Night, a new opera about the Christmas Truce of 1914, is going to be broadcast this coming weekend on Twin Cities Public Television (and apparently also on national PBS in 2013). This is an opera I’d wanted to see and missed when it was staged in town, so I’m excited to be able to see it after all.

So. I’m a great lover of all things Christmas, except for that pesky business known as Christmas baking. It’s not that I don’t like to eat sweet treats; I just don’t generally like to make them. Love to cook, but I’m ambivalent about baking. Too precise, too easy to screw up, and for heaven’s sake don’t even mention “rolling pin”.

When the Black Forest asked me if I’d like to try a sample set of their Christmas cookies, obviously I couldn’t say no.

My, oh my, what have we here?? Well, from upper right, we have a giant black-and-white spritz cookie; decorated sugar cookie; lebkuchen; that little hint of green is a piece of marzipan; Russian tea cakes; pfeffernuss; ginger thins; springerle; and in the center, linzer.

What a treat! There’s a range here from sweet to almost savory, with the pfeffernuss nicely peppery and the springlerle tangy with anise. I admit I’m always a sucker for Russian tea cakes, and the linzer is absolutely amazing.

And they’re so pretty. Who wouldn’t like a plateful of these at your holiday table? Look more closely at the springerle:

And it’s hard to see, because I’m a crappy photographer, but this tiny piece of marzipan is shaped like a pear with just a dusting of gold:

Do yourself a favor. You don’t need more stress this time of year. Order some cookies. Eat. Relax.

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