December 1 is always a sobering day for me. Every World AIDS Day I think all day about the struggle of the 80's and 90's before effective HIV drugs were invented and how many people my community lost. Each year I commemorate the day in this space by baking something special.
From the World AIDS Day website:
Globally there are an estimated 34 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, each year in the UK around 6,000 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.
World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
Kipferl are traditional crescent shaped, vanilla scented Austrian Christmas cookies. In Germany I have a kipferl pan. The cookies are so popular in Germany and Austria, special pans to shape and bake them in are readily available in most stores.
Here in the USA, I was recently challenged to make them the old fashioned way, when creating these Pumpkin Cinnamon kipferl for my German Food Page at about.com. Always one to go off the recipe rails, it occurred to me I didn't actually have to make crescent forms, I started fantasizing about experimenting with shapes. However, at that time I was concentrating on a a more traditional cookie, so I went with the half moon shape.
Shaping the dough into AIDS ribbons worked well. Also the red velvet emulsion flavor is just wow. I also swapped out the almond meal for cashew flour. However, if you stick with the traditional crescent shapes, this recipe is also perfect for Christmas and Valentine's Day.
Red Velvet Cashew Kipferl Ribbon Cookies
For the Cookies:
- 1 + 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup cashew meal
- 2 sticks (or 1 cup) unsalted butter
- 3 teaspoons red velvet emulsion
For the coating:
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup red sparkle sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, powdered sugar, salt and cashew meal. Set aside.
- In a mixer, on medium high speed, cream the butter.
- Add the red velvet emulsion and continue to mix on high speed until the color is evenly combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix thoroughly.
- Turn the mixer down to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
- If you have a kipferl baking pan, grease the pan and press the dough into the kipferl shaped molds.
- If you don't have a kipferl pan, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pinch off a handful portion of dough at a time. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface.
- Use both palms to roll the dough out into a long rope about an index finger thick. Divide the rope into 5 inch pieces. One at a time, place each piece on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bend the piece into a U shape, then cross one side over the other forming a memorial ribbon shape. Gently press the part where the two sections of the dough meet together. Pinch each end of the ribbon to form a point.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the cookies for 12 minutes.
- In a shallow small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and glitter sugar.
- Remove the kipferl from the oven and when the cookies are cool enough to handle, but still warm, roll each one in the powdered sugar mixture and place on a serving platter.