Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Gingerbread House(s)

This week is all about making gingerbread houses. I don't know what it is about gingerbread houses that makes them so appealing, whether it's because they're tasty,fun, gorgeous and edible. This year I'm making a few small ones, which I already tried a few years ago. I liked the way each house had it's own theme. And who wants to share? This is the first recipe I found when I made my first gingerbread house, when I was 5, and the recipe was fine, my architectural skills were not. this recipe comes form the food network channel, something I remember watching as a kid, although I never watched the episode where this recipe was featured.

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1&1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6&1/4 cup cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
1. Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. 
2. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until incorporated.
3. Add the vanilla extract and molasses, and mix until incorporated. 
4. Add the flour,baking soda,cinnamon,ginger,cloves and salt and combine until a dough forms.
5. Chill the dough until needed or at least 2 hours.

This is only the initial step, it's just making the dough, because really that only as far as I got. This weeks post is about all of it, the templates,baking, gluing, decorating and all the rest of it. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Worlds Best Christmas Cookies

 These are the worlds best Christmas cookies: They're flavorful, versatile, cheap,simple, and stay fresh for really long. This is my grandmothers recipe, and I have been eating them every Christmas for as long as I can remember. You can top them off with colorful sprinkles,chocolate sprinkles, plain or with icing. I made about a hundred little stars, with colorful sprinkles which are the best cookies ever, especially when put in little bags. Sadly I have the bad habit of writing recipoes down on little scraps of paper, so I can't really find it now ( or maybe i just don't feel like sharing my grandmothers best recipe?) but I'll be sure to post it soon. in case you were wondering what they looked like, because I haven't lost the pictures.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Don't go thinking this is a recipe for real German gingerbread, because it's not. This is a recipe for the German interpretation of Finnish gingerbread, it isn't the thick,almost cake like gingerbread covered in chocolate. It is still really delicious though, and it still rises up like the German gingerbread do. Since this recipe isn't for gingerbread men( and I don't  own a gingerbread man cookie cutter) I made heart shaped ones. I also use a straw to poke holes near the top of the hearts so they can be hung up on a Christmas tree, edible decorations are always the best, and you don't have to bother with storage and cleaning afterwards(apart from the possible crumbs) This is yet another recipe from one of my countless Christmas recipe books, this time I think it was 'Koestliche Weihnachtsbaeckerei'

Not German-Not Finnish Gingerbread

  • 250g (3/4 cup) honey
  • 250g (1&1/4 cup)  brown sugar
  • 150g (3/4 cup) butter 
  • 500g (4 cups) flour
  • 2 tablespoons gingerbread spice OR your favorite combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  • 2 tablespoon dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons rum
1. On medium heat melt together the honey,brown sugar and butter, let cool once sugar has melted.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour,spices,cocoa powder.
3. Mix together the flour and honey mixture, then add the egg, baking powder and rum.
4. Place the dough in an air tight container and let it rest overnight, at room temperature.
5. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F.
6. Roll out the dough as thin as you like-if you like thin crisp geinger bread, roll it out thin, if you like the thicker variety roll it out thicker. I roll mine about 4mm thick. Cut out using your favorite (or seasonal) cookie cutter
7. Bake f0r 15-17 minutes until lightly darkened around the edges. 

If you feel like it you can decorate them with royal icing and pipe initials,decoration or whatever else. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Spritz Christmas Cookies

These were my favorite cookies to have at my Aunt's house at Christmas time. I would search the entire cookie tin to find these, making sure I had actually found all the ones I could, and ate them all up. Spritz cookies actually means 'piped' and you make them using a piping bag and large star nozzle or cookie press. I own neither of the items so I just roll out small balls, and drizzle on some dark chocolate, which is a must. This recipe come from one of my countless Christmas cookie books, and I do believe this paricular recipe come from 'Himmlisches Weihnachtsbacken', although you'll be able to find the recipe in any ordinary german cookbook.

  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 150g flour
  • 100g cornflour
  • 40g almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons cream
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F
1. Cream together the butter,sugar,salt vanilla and egg-until light and fluffy.

2. Then add the cornflour and cream beating well until incorporated.
3.Finally add the flour and almond flour and beat until well incorporated.

4. using a piping bag and a large star tip, pipe wreath,'s' or finger shapes. 
5. Bake for 12-13 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Not your usual Christmas Cookies

These are christmas cookies...
Or so I think they should be, they are found in christmas cookie collecttion here in Germany, they are just a lot less common than say, the Vanille Girpferl. I think they have just as much of a right to be there as the Vanille Gipferl, andthey shouldn't be discriminated just because they have a little rum in them. Not all cookie were made for children, they don't all have to be super sweet and covered in sprinkle. The simple, tasty ones are just as good. And this recipe is as simple as it gets. By the way make these cookies small because rum makes them rise a bit.
Rum Cookies:

  • 60g butter
  • 50g powdered sugar
  • 40g flour
  • 60g cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) of rum
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F
1. Cream together the butter and sugar.

2. Add the egg, beat until well combined then add the flour,cornflour and rum.

3. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
4. Roll the dough into small balls and use a fork to even them out. 

Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown around the edges.
Give these cookies a try, they really deserve a chance.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Cookies

Today is the first...
day of advent. I was thinking instead that I would have a different cookie everyday instead of having a chocolate. Mostly the chocolates in the advent calendars are all the same, but if you made a differen tocokie for each day of advent there would be some change. Since it's around christmas time anyway it's time to get cookie baking anyway. These are one of my favorite cookies, super nutty and crumbly on the inside, light and vanilly-sugary on the outside.

Vanille Gipferl
Adapted from Koestliche Weinachtsbaeckerei

  • 180g all purpose flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g ground hazelnuts
  • 70g sugar
  • 200g (1 cup/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • 5 packets vanilla sugar 
  • 50g powdered sugar
1. Combine the flour,ground nuts,sugar,butter and eggs until a dough forms.
2. Place the dough into the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Cut the dough into equal sized pieces, then roll each piece into an individual log, the end smaller than the middle. 
4. Pre-heat your oven to 180C
5. Form the dough into a crescent shape, transfer onto a baking sheet then bake for 10-15 minutes. 

6. Place cookies on a cooling rack, and cover in powdered sugar and vanilla sugar.
 In cause you can't buy ground almonds or hazelnuts, you can just use your kitchen machine to grind them up, I did it this time and they had quite large chunks of nuts, which I didn't really like, so if you can you should try and get pre-ground nuts.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sweet Potato Waffles

Waffle Wednesday
Yes, I do love potatoes. Even in waffles, or pancakes, or cupcakes or cake, you name I'll eat it with Potatoes. Did you know that there are so many different varieties of potatoes that you can build a whole diet around it. There are odd shapes and colors that would open up to a whole new range of possibilities. I only have acces to a few kinds of 'yellow' poatoes, sweet potatoes and those small purplish colored ones. I actually find the purple oones a pain to peel, because they have so  many little bumps and crevasses. But since pumpkin waffles are made with pumpkin puree, which isn't really all that different of a texture compared to sweet potatoes puree, why not just use that instead? I heard/saw/found out that in the U.S. you sometimes eat your sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. I tried they were good, but everyone else refuses to eat it insiting it is dessert. SO why not make waffle, that would be acceptable and may even be able to be seen as something other than a dessert. ( the sweet potato and marshmallow bit)  So here it is, my recipe:

Sweet Potato Waffles

  • 50g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons conrstarch
  • 1 &1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree (cooked and drained Sweet Potato)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup mini-marshmallows
Pre-heat your Waffle Iron
1. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, flours,baking powder,mini marshmallows and cinnamon in a large bowl, in a second bowl combine milk,pumpkin puree,eggs yolks and butter. 
2. Seperate the eggs, then beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then fold in the egg whites.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, and be sure to grease your waffle iron really well.

 I have no picture to go with this because they were sooo good that they were gone before I even had a chance to take a pictue but I bet I'll be making it again.