Almond Butter Icon Cookies

from artos seal

Cookies on plate
Cookies stamped with Russian artos bread seal

A good number of Episcopal churches in California use traditional Orthodox bread seals to make large, special, icon image cookies for Saint Nicholas Day.

These cookies are made with a Russian artos bread seal. It is a truly beautiful metal seal, brass with silver gildiig. The seal has a 2 3/8-inch diameter and is available from Istok Enterprises, Inc. The detail is very fine and somewhat lost on the cookies. I hope to try the seal with speculaas and springerle dough and see if the results are more detailed. It does make a nice sized cookie, not as large as the larger seals.

1 cup butter or margarine
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

Granulated sugar, for rolling dough balls

Cream butter and sugar. Add extract and salt. Add flour and mix well. Chill dough, but no longer than an hour if using butter (otherwise it becomes rock hard). Form 2-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Stamp each ball with seal immediately. Bake at 350° 15 to 18 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Makes about 1½ dozen cookies.

Bread seal face
Detailed bread seal
Bread seal
Bread seal
Icon cookie
Finished cookie

Store in sealed container to retain crispness. To distribute, wrap each cookie in plastic wrap or put in a bag, tie with a ribbon and a card telling about St. Nicholas.

Molds available from Istok Enterprises, Inc.

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