Saturday, December 21, 2013

Day 9 of “The 12 Days Of Christmas Music” & "Linzer Tarts"

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Welcome to Day 9 of “The 12 Days Of Christmas Music.” I hope that you enjoyed yesterday’s post, “Joy To The World.” Just to remind some of my readers that have just stopped by what I am doing, everyday for the next 3 days I will post a Christmas song, and share a holiday treat, a homemade gift idea, or just a favorite recipe that I think may go with that song, all leading up to “Christmas Day!” This has been an incredible year! I want to say thank you to my readers, as we prepare for the most joyous time of the year! (Don’t forget to come back tomorrow!)

Whether it is a solemn hymn, or a modern version of a Deck the Halls, Christmas music is an essential part of the holiday celebration. Did you know that Christmas originated in Italy, but it was also the birthplace of the first Christmas carol?  During the thirteenth century, Saint Francis of Assisi introduced the carol, which soon spread all across Europe. Saint Francis wrote a Christmas hymn in Latin, but there is no evidence that he composed carols in Italian. His companions the Franciscan Friars contributed a large number of Italian Christmas carols.

Tu scendi dalle stelle” (You come down from the stars) is the most traditional Italian Christmas carol. Especially loved by little children. The lyrics and the melody were written in 1754 by a prominent Neapolitan priest, Alfonso Maria de Liguori. (Because of this carol, it is said that he became a Saint) It’s a kind of lullaby that describes the birth of baby Jesus, who, precisely, descends from the stars. In time, this carol became a central part of the Italian Christmas tradition. Here is a beautiful version of the most famous Italian Christmas carols: "Tu scendi dalle stelle" (You come down from the stars), with words translated into English:

Day 9: “Tu scendi dalle stelle

English version:
From starry skies descending, Thou comest, glorious King, A manger low Thy bed, in winter's icy sting; O my dearest Child most holy, Shudd'ring, trembling in the cold! Great God, Thou lovest me! What suff'ring Thou didst bear, That I near Thee might be! Thou art the world's Creator, God's own and true Word, Yet here no robe, no fire For Thee, Divine Lord. Dearest, fairest, sweetest Infant, Dire this state of poverty. The more I care for Thee, Since Thou, o Love Divine, Will'st now so poor to be.

Italian version:
Tu scendi dalle stelle, O Re del Cielo, e vieni in una grotta, al freddo al gelo. O Bambino mio Divino Io ti vedo qui a tremar, O Dio Beato Ahi, quanto ti costò l'avermi amato! A te, che sei del mondo il Creatore, mancano panni e fuoco; O mio Signore! Caro eletto Pargoletto, Quanto questa povertà più mi innamora! Giacché ti fece amor povero ancora!

Every Christmas my family looks forward to my baking these cookies. They are called “Linzer Tarts.” Everyone loves them, and my nephew Nicholas, always says, “Aunt Dottie your Linzer Tarts are better than the bakery ones!” That is a wonderful compliment! The tarts are so good that they melt in your mouth. The butter in the cookie is so scrumptious and with the combo of the jam, no better marriage can be made. They make a beautiful presentation on a Christmas plate in the center of your dessert table! I am dedicating this recipe to my nephew Nick, who is one of my biggest fans….So everyone enjoy!

"Linzer Tarts"

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good raspberry preserves
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°F
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. (or Food Processor) Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 2 3/4-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. (Or Linzer Tart Cookie cutters) With 1/2 of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a heart or circle shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an un-greased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread your favorite preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut out cookies with confectioners' sugar and press the flat sides together, with the preserves in the middle and the confectioners' sugar on the top. Yields:  25-30 cookies depending on the size of your cutouts

Till Next Time………………………………..........................

Copyright © 2013 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Hi Dottie , Your 12 Days of Christmas is just wonderful , I am enjoying celebrating them with you , just so joyful dear Dottie and I know it comes from the heart .
    "Tu scendi dalle stele" is beautiful and we sing it in Italian .
    My father-in-law wants all his grandkids to know the song in their native tongue .
    I can hardly wait for the next 3 days , blessing to you Dottie and thanks for sharing :)

  2. Dear Nee,
    Oh my, I am overwhelmed with your happiness about my blog. I appreciate that you are reading and enjoying my stories as well as my recipes. I always love to hear that what I have written brings back memories in your families. Tu scendi dalle stele is my mom's favorite Christmas carol. It is so beautiful, you should go to you tube and find that song by Pavarotti. It is so beautiful..
    That is nice that your father-in-law wants his grandchildren to know their culture and traditions. When they get older they will remember those memories of their grandpa! Yes, do come back to visit, the next few days are going to be wonderful!!
    Blessings, Dottie :)

  3. I always used to sing "Tu scendi dalle stelle" as a child. It is still such a popular song in Italy although new songs have slowly replaced older ones.
    Your linzer biscuits are divine! They are actually my favourite. I love jam biscuits much more than chocolate ones.
    I hope you have a beautiful Christmas Dottie with plenty of good food, laugh and joy. XX

  4. Dear Alida,
    Thank you for stopping by! I agree with you, love this carol. It is my mom's favorite and mine as well. I remember singing this beautiful sweet carol many times. The music is very catching, it remains in your head.
    The Linzer tarts are my families favorite. I also love them like you said the jam ones are the best!
    So happy that you enjoyed reading and hope you try the biscuits. Alida, thank you for your thoughtful words. I wish for you a blessed Merry Christmas and A happy New Year too! Dottie :)

  5. dear Dottie, What beautiful cookies you have been posting. They bring back fond memories. It is a nice compliment to be told that your cookies are better than the bakery.

    Christmas is filled with so many mixed feelings. The memories are warm and though there always is a slight pang in your heart throughout.

    I will send your love to Tammy. I wish you a warm and Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
    I am very happy to have met you in this blogging world.
    Hugs, Catherine xo

  6. Dear Catherine,

    Thank you so much for stopping by. I love the smell of baking especially at this time of year..Yes, these cookies are wonderful and tasty too!

    You have said it correctly, Catherine dear. Christmas is filled with many mixed feelings, and many memories. I especially think of all of the family that will not be here with us and are already at God's table. But that is why it is so important to have memories now with our families.

    Can't believe that Christmas is here so fast...Enjoy the last few days before Christmas, thank you again for always being there to support my blog as well.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year....and I am also so thrilled that I was introduced to you as well, in this food blogging world..

    Blessings, dear friend, Dottie :)