Thursday, November 15, 2012

Surprisingly, I've already seen Christmas decorations here in Istanbul!

Well, technically, the decorations are for New Year's celebrations because the Turks don't celebrate Christmas. But they look exactly like Christmas decorations, complete with snowmen, reindeer and Noel Baba.

So to get into the holiday spirit, I'm warming up my kitchen and baking some festive treats.

On Monday, Nov. 19, you can join me at the Istanbul Culinary Institute where I will teach how to make hazelnut-cardamom shortbread squares, candied chestnut tarts, Italian Tadal Christmas cookies and dark chocolate-cinnamon mousse. You can sign up for this class by clicking on the institute's monthly calendar here.

Italian Tadal cookies are a holiday tradition of my in-laws in the U.S. My mother-in-law's grandmother brought the recipe with her when she immigrated from southern Italy to the U.S. Tadals seem to be an American-Italian version of Taralli Dolci from the Puglia region of Italy. But every holiday season, my in-laws gather together, make and roll out the dough, then bake and decorate the cookies with a colorful powdered sugar glaze.
I added aniseed to my dough as well.
My mother-in-law, who shared her recipe with me, says tadals are fun to make for the whole family. Children love rolling up the dough and playing with the icing glaze.

If you can't make my class at the institute, I will be hosting the same class at my home on Wednesday, Dec. 5, through the International Women of Istanbul. There will be one additional recipe of Linzer jam-filled cookies.
Candied chestnut tarts surrounded by a custard and buttery tart shell, dusted with cinnamon on top.
Then, if there's enough interest from you my readers and friends that live in Istanbul, I will offer additional holiday baking classes at my home in December. Please let me know.

Happy baking!
Hazelnut-cardamon shortbread squares.
They can even be sandwiched together with ice cream! 

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jaz@octoberfarm said...

i love those italian cookies and make them several times a year. can you buy live xmas trees there? i am thinking no!

Joy said...

@Joyce, very cool regarding the cookies! I have a small fake tree that I bought here that I will decorate. Otherwise, you can get live xmas-like pine trees from some of the nurseries in large pots but nothing like what you can get in the US.

Ozlem's Turkish Table said...

Oh, Joy how I wished to be there!! I am sure your classes will be fabulous, the cookies look great! Just shared your post at my FB page, all the best!
I am in Istanbul in mid Feb, hope to see you that time. Hope you are feeling better, xx Ozlem

Cuisine de Provence said...

Wish I could just hop over to take that calss with you!

Joy said...

@Ozlem and @Barbara, yes, I would love to share a baking class with both of you. :-)

As of now, no travel plans for Feb., so we should be here. And I am feeling better, still a little sore, but not bad.