Catholic News Service
One of the most ubiquitous Christmas hymns, “Angels We Have Heard on High,” sweetly captures the scene of the shepherds’ watch, of the angel that appears to them announcing Christ’s birth, and of the heavenly host singing praises to God.
The song encapsulates the spiritual and earthbound nature of the moment — the perfect prelude to the Incarnation — when the Word of God becomes flesh.
Humans give angels features that we can relate to. But angels have no bodily form. They are of a spiritual nature that our minds cannot fully comprehend.
Around Advent and Christmas, I like to imagine what that moment was like for the shepherds, how the revelation of Christ’s birth came to them. The song “Angels We Have Heard on High” always brings out these thoughts.
All of our senses serve to help us reflect upon the Christmas feast, its importance and meaning. Think of the songs we hear, the art and decor we observe, and the scent of incense at midnight Mass. Those of us who bake and cook believe that taste can be a part of that reflection.
My Polish heritage gives a reminder of the rich yet delicate moment of the Gloria in the form of a crispy pastry. Like we imagine angels to be, Polish chrusciki are ethereal — light, delicate and pleasing. They are a delicious and memorable addition to any Christmas cookie tray.
Polish Chrusciki, Angel Wings Cookies
Start to finish: 1 hour
Yields about 40 cookies
6 eggs yolks
8 ounces sour cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon brandy
3 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for frying
2 cups powdered sugar for coating
In a large mixing bowl beat the egg yolks, sour cream, granulated sugar, vanilla and brandy until smooth. Slowly mix in the flour until dough comes together.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough until smooth. If dough become too sticky, add a little more flour. Cover the dough with a bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or a deep pot to 375 F.
Divide the dough into three pieces and roll out each piece into a thin rectangle about 3 inches wide. Cut into strips that are about 1 inch by 3 inches. On each strip, make a slit longways down the middle and pull one end through the slit to form a bow.
Place the bows, a few at a time, in the hot oil and deep fry until golden brown. Let the cookies drain on paper towels and then sprinkle the chrusciki all over with powdered sugar.
Cool the cookies completely before serving or storing. Chrusciki are best served immediately but can be stored in a dry airtight container for a day or two.
(Follow Wiechec on Twitter: @nancywiechec.)
Catholic News Service