Category Archives: Cultural Happenings

Xmas Baking Recipe: Peanut Butter Blossoms à la Anne-Kathrin

 

IMG_4857

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Growing up, baking cookies for Christmas was an established tradition by my grandmother and me. We used to bake a specific kind of sugar cookies and then decorate them with fun stuff like edible glitter and chocolate lentils. When I was older, the tradition continued with friends. During the month of December, a couple of my girlfriends and I would meet at one of our homes and bake the afternoon away, making about 3-4 batches of our favorite cookies.

Nowadays, I am still an avid cookie eater during the Holidays, but I have been researching some healthier options.  I still love to indulge and don’t believe in depriving myself of anything I like, but I do prefer to have a healthier alternative here and there. So today I’d like to share a recipe that I discovered from Tone It Up, a fitness community for women who I have been a part of for several years now.

The recipe doesn’t require many ingredients and is quickly made, two things I am a big advocate for as I personally don’t enjoy standing in the kitchen for hours and hours.

Happy Baking!

LIST OF INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup Unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter

2 Scoops Vanilla Protein

¼ Cup Egg Whites

1 Tea Spoon Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt

18 Chocolate Kisses

Coconut Oil Spray

 PROCEDURE:

STEP #1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

STEP #2: Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate kisses, in a large bowl and stir.

STEP #3: Form one tablespoon sized balls and put them on a cookie sheet greased with coconut oil.

STEP #4: Bake the cookies in the oven for 10 minutes. Once you removed the cookies from the oven and let them cool for a couple minutes, press one chocolate kiss onto each cookie.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Image: Anne-Kathrin Schulte

———————————————————————————————–——————
Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

———————————————————————————————–————–———-

.

Advertisements

Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day. How did you behave all year?

Today is Saint Nicholas Day (Sankt Nikolaus). How did you behave all year? He will know!

Perhaps you were good and could start out your day already with a full boot full of treats. Or you are still waiting until tonight when Saint Nicholas himself comes by and pays you a visit.

Many German families celebrate this beloved tradition the way that they have their children put out a boot overnight from the 5th to the 6th of December so that Saint Nicholas could fill it with oranges, nuts, chocolates, and even small toys. This would, of course, happen only if the child had behaved well all year. Surprisingly, they always had!

In some families, like mine, Saint Nicholas would actually come by in the evening of the 6th of December. Every year it was a big affair. We had friends with their children over to await the honored guest. O my, was I nervous as a young child!

Around 6 pm we would hear little bells and heavy footsteps crunching through the snow towards our patio door looking out onto the black pitch garden. And there he suddenly was! Standing in front of our patio glass door knocking with his white-gloved hand. Saint Nicholas!

All of us kids would huddle together, while my dad would open the door and beckon the honored guest in. Every year we were awed just the same!

Saint Nicholas and his Golden Book of Truth

Saint Nicholas entered our living room. Dressed in a bishop’s robe with a red cape and a Mitra he had a heavy burlap sacket over one shoulder and a huge golden book clasped underneath his other arm that was also holding a golden staff.  After we all had greeted him he took a quick glance at the half circle of children asking one of us to come forward to hold his precious crozier. We were all excitedly terrified and intimidated at what to expect next.

He sighed and slowly leafed through his golden book when suddenly stopping at one page, he announced a name and looked at us children with questioning eyes. The one, who had been named, timidly stepped forward and Saint Nicholas looked at him or her with a friendly look and exclaimed in a deep voice: “Now, let’s see what my little angels have written about you over the past year.”

He started reading out of his big golden book all, that he or she had achieved over the year, and what the parents were so proud of. Saint Nicholas would approve with little nods here and there or even utter some words of admiration.

With gleaming faces, we listened to his every word wishing just that the end would not be too embarrassing since everyone else was listening. We were aware that most likely, not everything had been perfect over the year and knew that Saint Nicholas would close by mentioning something we could thrive for and do better in the following year.

Every child had finally been addressed and received a little burlap sacket filled with treats, that Saint Nicholas retrieved from his big one. But this wasn’t the end. No!

Now it was time for entertainment! The parents would ask Saint Nicholas to take a seat and enjoy a glass of red wine while he would listen to our, the children’s presentations. Relieved, we children moved to this more relaxed part and recited our poems, played holiday music on our flutes and the piano.

After a short social time with Saint Nicholas, we finally accompanied him back out to the garden where he vanished into the dark, leaving us with the noise of the crunching footsteps in the snow and the jingling of bells in the air.

Exhilarated we ran back inside the house to indulge in unpacking our presents at last.

 

Image: Title image ©CaliforniaGermans , Pixabay.com


Happy First of December! Countdown to Christmas has officially started!

The story of the Advent Calendar

Germans love Christmas. In fact, for Germans, it’s the most important holiday of the year!

Many traditions help us Germans prepare for and enjoy the Christmas season to the fullest, like Saint Nicholas Day on Dec 6th or the four Sundays of Advent, Christmas cookies and much more.

One tradition, however, stands out since it is equally loved by children and adults. The Advent Calendar!

Who doesn’t like a countdown to a highly anticipated event?

Apparently many don’t want to miss it. In places all around the world, one can now find these magic Advent Calendars that hide chocolates or little toys behind their secret doors. Even beer calendars are available or calendars filled with a variety of liquor filled chocolates. The possibilities seem endless…

In the old days, just a beautiful little picture behind a door would make kids happy. Today some Advent Calendars made it even online, published by companies that discovered it as another tool to engage customers.

The first Advent Calendar originated in Germany in 1904 when Gerhard Lang published a simple one as an insert in a newspaper in Stuttgart. It was a raving success! So Lang decided to print a new one every year. The designs became more and more elaborate from calendars that worked like a dial to calendar houses filled with chocolates to even a calendar in Braille for the blind.

But how did he get the idea to make a calendar that would count down the days to Christmas in the first place?

The idea of counting down to Christmas Eve already existed in different ways. Some families used to mark the days to Christmas with chalk on their doors, in other families children were putting one piece of hay every day into a manger in which Baby Jesus would be laid on Christmas Eve.

Gerhard Lange’s mother however handcrafted a calendar for his then little son that would be filled with a little meringue for every day in December leading up to Christmas Eve. That caused a lasting impression and, as an adult, inspired Gerhard Lange to expand on his mother’s idea of an Advent Calendar.

The ‘modern’ Advent Calendar was born and started out to conquer the world in all kinds of variations!

Wir wünschen eine schöne Vorweihnachtszeit!  

Happy Holiday Season!

Images: Pixabay.com


Xmas Baking Recipe: Christmas Rum Cake à la Merrill Lyew Emanuel

Christmas Rum Cake

This is the recipe for a delicious rum cake that our CaliforniaGermans contributor Merrill grew up with. It’s a treasured recipe from his mother, who used to make many smaller cakes from this recipe instead of one big one. It stayed a tradition for him and his family and every holiday season they are the delight of everyone in his family.

Enjoy!

LIST OF INGREDIENTS:

1. 1/2 Pound Cake Fluor
2. 1/2 Pound Sugar
3. 1/2 Pound Butter
4. 5 Eggs Separate the yolks from the egg white
5. 1/2 Cup Evaporated milk
6. 2 Tea Spoon Baking Powder
7. 1 Tea Spoon Vanilla
8. 1/8 Tea Spoon Salt
9. 3 Table Spoon Burned Sugar (see procedure)
10. 3 Table Spoon Raisins and cut Prunes soaked in Rum for several weeks
11. 1/3 Cup Chopped Walnuts
12. 1/4 Cup Red Cherries cut into Halves
13. 1/4 Cup Green Cherries cut into Halves
14. 1/3 Cup Dark Beer
15. 1/8 Tea Spoon Grinded Nutmeg
16. 2 Table Spoon Orange Juice
17. 1 Orange Skin Grated orange peel

PROCEDURE:

STEP #1: Burn the 3 tablespoons sugar to a dark syrup then add 1 tablespoon of water, keep to a thick consistency. Let it cool down.

STEP #2: Mix butter with sugar, add dark syrup from STEP #1, grated orange peel, vanilla, nutmeg, orange juice. Add egg yolks one at a time. Add evaporated milk little by little.

STEP #3: Strain flour, baking powder, and salt together in separate bowl and add to the batter.

STEP #4: Add the cherries, prunes, chopped walnuts.

STEP #5: Whip the egg white apart and add to the batter at low speed. Add the dark beer.

STEP #6: Pour into a buttered 9-inch mold.

STEP #7: Bake at 350 ° F for around one hour

Bon Appétit!

Image: Pixabay.com
———————————————————————————————–——————–

Merrill Lyew EmanuelAs a recent retiree, Merrill Lyew Emanuel now has time for his old and new hobbies. Within his hobbies are writing fan fiction in German, solving chess puzzles, repairing things at home that are not broken, doing a little bit of social media, reading every and anything that looks like a book, traveling a little, and taking snapshots with his mirrorless camera.

Having lived in Germany, Costa Rica and the USA, he is fluent in the languages of these countries. As a professional geographer he traveled profusely throughout Latin America. He is living in Southern California for over thirty years. Find more of his work at http://www.merrillius.net


.

Christmas and the First Sunday of Advent Is Near- Are Your Christmas Cookies Ready?

It’s Holiday Baking Time!

This Friday marks the 1st of December and while we can start opening the first door on our advent calendar (Yay!), we still have to wait a few days to lighten the first candle on our Advent wreath. The first Sunday of Advent is near however and on December 3rd we will officially enter the 4 weeks of Advent before Christmas Eve.

Typical for the Christmas season in Germany is having an Advent calendar helping you countdown to the 24th December, an advent wreath that is the centerpiece in the dining room or living room, and… lots of homemade Christmas cookies to share with family and friends! And some families do take holiday baking really seriously! It’s not uncommon for some families to sport up to 15 different cookie varieties. No kidding!

So…, how is your holiday baking coming along this season?

If you are still struggling with deciding what to bake and want to get inspired, check out our posts on Thursdays. Every Thursday until Christmas one of our CaliforniaGermans contributors will let you in on his or her favorite baking recipe for the holiday season. 

We hope you’ll discover your favorite one among them!

Image: Pixabay.com

.