If you are looking for something a bit different to bake for the upcoming holidays, you may want to try one of these international delights:
Poland – Chrusciki – Angel Wings
1 C. all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 T. sour cream
1 T. vodka
Vegetable oil
2-2/3 C. powdered sugar

Combine flour and sugar in medium bowl. Mix in egg yolks, sour cream, and vodka until soft dough forms. Place dough on lightly floured surface; knead gently until dough is smooth. Form dough into 2 discs; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes or overnight.
Working with 1 disc at a time, unwrap dough roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch-thick (12 x 10-inch) rectangle. Cut dough lengthwise in half; cut each half into 12 strips. Make a 1-inch vertical slit down center of each strip. Insert one end of strip through cut to form twist; repeat with remaining strips. Heat oil in large saucepan to 375 F. Place 6 strips at a time into hot oil. Fry until golden brown, turning once with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels to cool. Dust liberally with powdered sugar. Cookies are best when served immediately, but can be stored in airtight container one day.

England – Toffee Squares
1 C. butter, softened
1 C. sugar
1 egg
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 C. chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 275 F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Separate egg, then beat yolk into butter mixture. Add cinnamon, then flour and combine well. With your hands, spread dough evenly over bottom of a greased 10 by 15-inch baking pan. Brush dough with beaten egg white. Sprinkle pecans over top; press in lightly. Bake for 1 hour or until firm when lightly touched. While still hot, cut into 1/2-inch squares. Let cool in pan on a rack. Store in an airtight container.

Finland – Chestnut Fingers
6 T.butter flavored Crisco
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 C. canned chestnuts, drained and pureed
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg white — slightly beaten
additional sugar
1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream butter and 1/4 cup sugar; add egg yolk. Beat till light and fluffy. Beat in puree and vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and cinnamon, then stir into creamed mixture. Take a tablespoon of dough and roll into 2 1/2 inch fingers. Dip top of each finger in egg white, then in additional sugar and place, sugar side up, on greased cookie sheet. Bake until slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on rack. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler over low heat. Dip one end of each cookie in chocolate and place on waxed paper until set.

France – Tuiles Lace Cookies
4 T. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 C. Granulated sugar
2 egg whites, beaten
4 T. all purpose flour
1 C. almonds, finely ground
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream sugar and butter. Whisk in egg whites and then remainder of ingredients. Grease well a sheet pan with Pam. Drop about 1 tablespoon of mixture onto pan. Spread thin in round shapes and place into a 375 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes. Only bake 2 cookies at a time. When the cookies are light golden brown remove from oven and allow to sit for a few seconds. With a flat pastry spatula remove cookies from pan and allow to cool on waxed paper, or drape cookies over a rolling pin and allow to harden to the shape of the pin.

Greece – Melomacarona
For the cookies:
1 1/4 C. (2 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1/4 C. orange juice
2 T. whiskey
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3-1/2 C. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. orange zest
For the syrup:
2 C. honey
1/2 C. ground walnuts or almonds
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine egg yolk, orange juice, whiskey, sugar and baking soda in a blender. While mixing, slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Continue until mixture resembles mayonnaise, about 2 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, cloves, and cinnamon. Add orange zest. Mix in butter mixture and knead until smooth and stiff. Shape tablespoons of dough into an egg shape. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and press the tops lightly with a fork, making a crisscross pattern. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. To prepare syrup: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in honey, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Dip cookies in warm syrup for a few seconds. Place on cookie sheets until syrup soaks into cookies. Sprinkle with nuts and let cool. These cookies taste best the next day and keep well when stored in an airtight container.

Holland – Jan Hagels
1 C. butter, softened
1 C. granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 C. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg white
1 tsp. water
8 oz. sliced almonds
Pre-heat oven to 325 F. Beat together butter, sugar and egg yolk until light and fluffy. Stir in flour and cinnamon. Separate dough into 3 portions and roll thinly on 3 small baking sheets. Beat egg white and water in a small bowl until frothy and brush onto dough. Arrange the almonds on top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and slice into diamond shapes while hot.

Hungary – Kiffli Nut Fold-Overs
For the dough:
4 C. all-purpose flour
1 lb. Unsalted butter
2 (8-oz.) packages of cream cheese
powdered sugar for rolling
For the filling:
1 lb. finely ground walnuts
1 T. melted butter
1-3/4 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. warm milk
1 T. vanilla extract
Beaten egg
Powdered sugar
Mix together ingredients for the dough until smooth. Divide dough into three equal portions, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Roll dough out on powdered sugar (not flour) and cut into 3″ squares. For the filling, mix together walnuts, butter, granulated sugar, milk and vanilla. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Place one teaspoon of nut filling on each square and fold over opposite corners to make a triangle. Brush triangles with beaten egg and bake until golden. When cool, dust with additional powdered sugar.

Ireland – Whiskey Cookies
1 C. butter, softened
1 C. granulated Sugar
3 large eggs
2 C. all-purpose Flour
1/4 C. Irish whiskey
1/4 C. candied citron, chopped
1/4 C. golden raisins, blanched and chopped
1/4 C. almonds, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Beat in the eggs until well blended. Add flour and whiskey, and beat until smooth. Add the fruit and nuts, and mix well. Drop cookie dough from a tablespoon onto the greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula while still warm. Place on wire rack to partially cool.

Italy – Love Knots
3 C. all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. marsala wine
1/2 C. butter, softened
Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat the butter until creamy. Mix in eggs, sugar and wine. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture, adding a small amount of milk if the batter is too thick or dry. Mix batter until dough forms. Shape pieces of dough into a thin cigar shape, about 4 or 5 inches long, and then loop the dough into a knot shape. Place knot-shaped dough onto greased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Croatia – Christmas Cookies
For the base:
2-1/4 C. all-purpose flour
3/4 C. chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. butter, softened
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 C. seedless red raspberry or apricot jam
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. For the base, combine flour, nuts, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture and blend well. Turn onto greased 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan and smooth the surface. Evenly spread jam over dough; set aside.

For the topping:
4 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 C. granulated sugar
3/4 C. ground walnuts
1/3 C. finely chopped walnuts
To prepare topping, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl at medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium-high; add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until very stiff glossy peaks form. Gently fold in ground nuts. Spoon dollops of meringue over jam, spread evenly. Sprinkle meringue with chopped nuts.
Bake 5 minutes, remove pan from oven. Using a very sharp or serrated knife, lightly score surface of meringue into 2-inch squares (8 x 5). Continue baking 20 to 30 minutes or until meringue is firm to the touch. Cool in pan on rack. Cut into squares. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Scotland – Scottish Shortbread
1 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. water
1 lb. Unsalted butter softened
4 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. granulated sugar, for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 275 F. Measure sugar into bowl & sprinkle with water. Cream butter into sugar with a wooden spoon. Add flour and salt and knead dough with your hands until dough pulls away from side of bowl as well as your hands. Press dough into an ungreased 9 x 13-inch glass baking pan. Spread it flat right into the corners. Prick with fork about at 1 inch intervals. Sprinkle all with the additional 1/4 cup sugar. Bake for one hour or until pale golden. Cut while hot into diamonds or rectangle shapes. Let cool.

Spain – Palmeras
3 C. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 C. cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 C. sour cream
1 C. sugar, divided
Cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in sour cream, then transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough holds together. Flatten dough into a 8 x 6-inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2-1/2 hours or overnight. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar onto work surface. Divide dough in half. Wrap half of the dough in plastic wrap and return to refrigerator. Roll the dough out on the sugared surface to form a 14-inch square. Using side of hand, make an indentation down center of dough. Starting at one side, tightly roll dough until it reaches indentation. Repeat with other side and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough, standing up inside a tall drinking glass to keep from flattening. Repeat with second half of dough and remaining sugar. Refrigerate 2 hours or up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 weeks.
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Cut rolls crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices with a serrated knife. Place slices 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes; carefully turn cookies over and bake 5 minutes longer or until sugar has caramelized and cookies are deep golden. Let cookies remain on cookie sheet on wire rack 1 minute to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Ukraine – Medianyky Honey Cookies
4 C. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. clove
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 C. powdered sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 extra large eggs
1 C honey
2 T. orange zest
1 egg, beaten with a little water
20 roasted almonds
coarse sugar
Sift together flour, spices, powdered sugar, and baking powder. Mix in eggs, honey, and orange zest to make a stiff dough. On a floured work surface, roll out dough about 1/2 inch thick. Cut shapes with cookie cutter, place on nonstick baking sheet, and brush with glaze. Place 1/2 almond in the middle of each, sprinkle with coarse sugar, and bake in preheated 350 degrees oven until done, about 15 minutes. Cool on racks. Store in tightly covered tins.