Tuesday, December 18, 2012

German shortbread Christmas cookies

.... Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...please do put a penny in the old man's hat!.... Fa la la la la - la la la la... fiiiiiiiveeeeeee golllllllddeeeeeenn rrrriinnnngs......

Can you feel the excitement?!? Christmas is less than a week away!  And I am singing random Christmas songs that I learned when I was five.  That's how stoked I am.  

This weekend I spent all day Sunday indulging in the festive feeling and baking Christmas cookies.  Normally, I bake the same cookies every year.  I love them so much, but this year I really wanted to try baking German cookies.  (Wow, I am becoming more German all time!  Before you know it I will be cutting in front of you in line at the supermarket and engineering things.)  So, I wrote a letter to Peter's grandma--yes, we write letters back and forth, how retro are we?--and asked her for some of her recipes so that I could blend some of my traditions with her family's traditions  

What I got back is a priceless little set of recipes with handwritten notes on them that I will cherish forever.  These will go alongside my Grandmother's recipes in the folder of things to pass on to my children.  :-)  I couldn't be more thankful.

These cookies are really delicious and, just as the Germans like them, aren't too sweet.  They go perfectly with a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon of an Advent Sunday. 

German shortbread Christmas cookies
(Peter's grandmother's recipe)


500g flour (ca. 4 cups) - I used a bit of spelt (Dinkel) flour and mostly regular but you can use all regular, too
6 grams baking powder (ca. 1/2 tablespoon)
150g sugar (ca. 2/3 - 3/4 cup)
2 eggs
250g cold butter (about one cup)
1 packet of vanilla sugar (what they use in Germany instead of extract...you could probably just put a teaspoon of extract in)
1 large handful of almonds or pistachios or both
1 egg yoke for brushing


Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.  Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar in another large mixing bowl.  Add some of the flour.  Bit by bit add small pieces of the butter and the rest of the flour and knead.  

Place the dough in the refrigerator for one hour.  Then, roll the dough out thinly and cut with a cookie cutter.  (I used hearts because it was all I had.  Stars would be nice for Christmas.) Press pieces of almonds or pistachios on top.

Brush with a beaten egg yoke before putting into the oven.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove when slightly golden around the edges.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Could you please tell me how many grams of vanilla sugar are in a packet?