Thursday, December 5, 2013

Countdown to Christmas - Chocolate Nusse


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Opening an old recipe box is a bit like opening Pandora's box. The contents pour out, but there is no unpleasantness to deal with. There may be a flash of sadness as memory conjures a glimpse of faces and places that can no longer be touched or seen, but that passes, and what's left is a special warmth and gratitude for the time and space that was shared and enjoyed with those who have triggered the reverie. On a more practical note, there are also some wonderful recipes to be exhumed, and if it's true that we are what we eat, those kitchen scribblings help to explain whole blocks of our lives. I found this recipe for chocolate nusse  among those the Schlesinger's shared with the Silver Fox and me, and I wanted to pass it on to those of you who like the unusual and are fond of barely sweet European pastry.  The Schlesinger's were our first landlords and they added color and kindness to the early years of our marriage. Mama S had no daughters of her own, so I became the repository  of her wisdom and I can still hear her admonitions, the most serious of which always began with the rather ominous, "lest you have to move your tent to another village".  That was never necessary, but I think I spent more time in her kitchen than I did in my own.  She was a wonderful cook and I was fortunate enough to be there when she wanted to pass on what she knew. That's how I learned that a nusse is a nut or a confection made with nuts and it's also how I became the recipient of this old-world recipe. It makes an atypical Christmas cookie that I think you will enjoy. I know you will love the ease with which it comes together, and I do hope you'll give it a try. Here is how the cookies are made.

Chocolate Nusse...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, separated
2 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2  to 2-1/2 cups finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts)  
Ginger marmalade or cherry or apricot preserves

Directions:
1) Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Add chocolate, vanilla, orange zest and cinnamon and blend well. Stir in flour and salt. Chill dough for 1 hour.
2) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
3) Using a teaspoon measure, form dough into small balls. Drop into egg whites, then roll in chopped nuts. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Make an indentation in center of each cookie by pressing with a 1/4 teaspoon measure. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until nuts are lightly browned. Remove from oven and again press 1/4 teaspoon measure into cookies to form indentation for filling. Cool cookies on tray. Store in airtight containers or ziplock plastic bags. Fill indentations with marmalade or fruit preserves just before serving. Yield: 4-1/2  to  5 dozen cookies.

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9 comments :

Becki's Whole Life said...

I love old recipes and the memories that come with them - even if they are someone else's memories. These cookies sound delicious!

Jenn S said...

I have a lot of my grandma's recipes and every time I look at them, it makes me sad and happy all at the same time. I love how just looking at them can bring back such wonderful memories.. never mind the memories you have once you make something of theirs!! This was a great post, Mary.. thanks so much for sharing these delicious little desserts with us!

From the Kitchen said...

I'd certainly choose that from a holiday cookie platter.
So true, the joy of memories that come with old recipes.

Best,
Bonnie

radha said...

No mention of the quantity of flour in the ingredients list. Please include. Thank you

David said...

Mary, Wow...these cookies look and sound really rich and scrumptious! Lots going on for the taste buds... Thanks for the recipe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

sheherazahde said...

Unless I missed it. There is no mention of kind or quantity of nuts in the ingredient list for this recipe.

These are very much like the thumbprint cookies my family makes. Although ours are not chocolate. My parents spent a lot of time in Germany and most of our Christmas cookies are European.

Mary Bergfeld said...

shaherazahde, walnut, pecans or hazelnuts would all be fine. As to quantity, that depends on how finely you grind the nuts. I used 2-1/2 cups for about 50 cookies. While these look like thumbprints, they are cooked differently and have a different texture. I think you will like them. Blessings...Mary

Pam said...

What a wonderful story surrounding the source of this recipe.

Ginny said...

It sounds awfully close to mousse! But nothing like it!

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