Traditionally, my mother and I divided baking duties for Christmas. I baked Stollen, she made everything else. A most delicious fruitcake that soaks in bourbon for weeks, gingerbread with the children, Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars), Haselnuss Leckerli (Swiss hazelnut cookies), and these almond and currant cookies. Recipes from our childhood, which she has baked for decades.
In a newly discovered enthusiasm for baking cookies, in the past couple of years I’ve sought out new recipes, to complement the Christmas spread. Last year I also decided to make these myself, to pick up the tradition, perhaps? They are understated, without the heady Christmas spices. They are my favorite.
The dough must sit in the refrigerator overnight so plan accordingly, otherwise the cookies are extremely quick and easy to make. They improve with time so, ideally, they should be prepared a few weeks in advance. Oh well.
1 cup (225 g) butter
1/2 cup (115 g) sugar
4 egg yolks
3 1/4 cups (400 g) flour
1 cup (100 g) slivered almonds
3/4 cup (100 g) currants (Corinth raisins)
Let the butter soften at room temperature.
Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix well, then the flour. Mix and knead until the dough is homogenous and smooth.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Add the almonds to one half and the currants to the other, kneading well until they are completely integrated.
Roll each half into a long log approximately 2 in (5 cm) in diameter. (Optionally, to make squarish cookies as shown above, flatten the log on four sides.) Wrap each log first in parchment paper then clingfilm, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to bake the next day, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
With a thin sharp knife, cut the logs into thin cookies 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 8 to 10 minutes, until they just start to turn golden. (They will feel soft to the touch but will harden as they cool.)
Store in a tin in a cool dry place for up to a few weeks.