Christmas Baking Frenzy

xmas cookies

1- Lengua de Gato, 2-Chocolate Chip, 3- Chocolate Crinkles, 4-Really Chocolate Chip, 5- Vanille Kipferl, 6&7-Black and White Cookies

 

The first advent week means a massive spike in the electricity consumption of German households. No, not because of Christmas lights that can be seen from the moon (although my neighbor is an exception), but because German women, like their mothers before them, go into a cookie baking frenzy. They fill tiny plastic bags with cookies, wrap it up in nice ribbon and trade them with each other, like kids do with trading cards. A completely pointless and cute tradition, something that is repeated in summer, but with jam jars.

I really enjoy baking Christmas cookies every year. Due to time constraints, (my kid), I haven’t been able to get to it until the last week of advent. But better late than never! It took me five evenings to bake the cookies, baking one kind of cookie at a time. This year’s cookies are a mix of Filipino/Hispanic, German, and American cookies, a reflection of my life so far. I could never really get the cookies to the tiny, bite-sized Plätzchen that the Germans trade with each other, since calculating how much the cookies spread had never been my specialty, though I got really close this year!

Lengua de Gato, or Cat’s Tongue cookies, are European in origin. They are however beloved in the Philippines, where I had my first taste of these thin butter cookies. I am pleased with this year’s batch. They look very good, but I would definitely work more on it to get the consistency I like. I’ll keep you posted when I come up with my definitive version!

This year’s Chocolate Chip and Totally Chocolate Chip cookies have also a Philippine component to it, as I used Philippine Muscovado sugar instead of soft brown sugar. A gift of walnuts from this fall meant that these were filled with walnuts instead of the traditional pecans.

Chocolate crinkles are traditionally American, but are also very popular in the Philippines. Even the corner bakery where you get your pan de sal have these now, although most of them are baked rock hard. I am very happy with how the crinkles turned out this year! They are very airy and chewy, just how they are supposed to be.

Vanille Kipferl are traditional German Christmas butter cookies made with flour and ground hazelnut or peanut, powdered with confectioner’s and vanilla sugar.

Black and white cookies are also German butter cookies. The dark parts are colored with cocoa, and are usually baked in different patterns. This year my chessboard pattern didn”t really work, and turned into spotted cow flecks. Not bad!

I’ve filled four tins full of cookies. If you send me postage I can send you some, or better yet, bake your own!

 

 

Cookies For A Cause

Cookies

I was invited to participate in a bakefest for a good cause. My friend Tanya is a chef and organizes “cooking experiences” in Thüringia, in English and in German. These are basically cooking classes that tries to explore a different part of the world by cooking the food there instead of booking a plane ticket. Quite clever!

The theme was “International Baking Expedition,” And we baked cookies from different parts of the world. The cookes were to be sold and the proceeds went to the Kinder- und Jugendtreffs Marienstift. I was assigned to the Persian table, where I was given a giant bowl of Naan Berenji batter. The cookie is made from rice flour, so it was a more glutinous consistency than normal batter.

I think they turned out great! We sampled German Vanille Kipferl, Chocolate Chili Logs from Canada, Butter Shortbread from England, among others.

Thank you Tanya for the experience!

Cookies for a cause

 

 

 

Fall Harvest

All this for free!

I’ve got more food than I know what to do with, and all that, for free! The tomatoes ( a mixture of Berner Rose and Oxheart) are mostly from my balcony. The ones on the picture have since been turned into tomato sauce. The Hokkaido pumpkins are from the Transition Town garden (The one in the picture is in a soup in a future post) The walnuts are from the walnut tree of one of my students. I’ve still got at least 3 kgs of apples from “my” apple tree that’s just waiting for me to have time to turn it into applesauce.  I’ve already turned 1.5 kgs of even more apples I picked from the trees by the lake nearby into Apfelstreuselkuchen last Saturday. That and three more pumpkins. A lot of work for me to do!