Our girls, Mille (Lonnie's daughter) and Mathilde (my daughter), ages 13 and 11, love to bake. This year they've promised to take care of baking our Christmas cookies not just for our own families but also samples for all of us here at JDL. After school my kitchen transforms into a Christmas bakery and the delicious smell quickly spreads to our offices.
Today they're making vanilla rings.
5 oz (150 g) hazelnuts
4 oz (100 g) almonds
1 lb (500 g) flour
3 ½ sticks (400 g) butter
1 ⅓ C (300 g) sugar
Seeds of 1 large vanilla bean
Toast the hazelnuts in the oven at 300 °F (150 °C). Rub off the skins and chop the nuts coarsely. Skin the almonds and chop them as well. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into a bit of the sugar if you like. In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped hazelnuts and almonds, butter, egg, flour, vanilla and sugar. Knead well to combine, shape into a ball and refrigerate overnight. Run the dough through a meat grinder with a star plate attachment (or use a cookie press). Cut the strips into smaller pieces and shape into a "wreath". Bake at 400 ºF (200 ºC) for about 8 minutes until golden brown and crisp.