Category Archives: German Cooking & Baking

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

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“Fettes Schwein” – A New Food Truck on the Streets of Los Angeles

Fettes Schwein Food Truck

An Alternative to the almighty Currywurst is roaming L.A. streets

German Angelenos be on the look out for yet another new food truck! This time it’s Stojan’s Fettes Schwein truck in bold blue and pink colors, which delights with some Austrian inspired delicacies.

Stojan and Manuela, who left Austria for sunny Los Angeles, are including a traditional Schnitzel on their menu. From Schnitzel Platter to Schnitzel Sandwich,  you for sure will get your Schnitzel fix here.  Their salad bar lets you create your own salad and offers a healthy alternative to ‘all things meat’.

Even though the famous Currywurst made its way also onto their menu, Fettes Schwein has apparently a variety of sausages to offer its clientele as well.

Let’s hope they’ll include some Austrian speciality sausages, that are standard at every ‘Würstelbude’ (sausage stand) in Austria. I’d say, “It’s time for the Käsekrainer! ”

You can check out some of their menu and find out where their truck will be for lunchtime by visiting Fette Schwein‘s Facebook Page.


Photo Credit: ©Fettes Schwein

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Weihnachtsbäckerei – Part 5: Butterplätzchen

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Butterplätzchen – Butter Cookies

A classic in German Christmas baking is the Butterplätzchen (butter cookie). It’s a favorite for baking with children. They love using cookie cutters in all kinds of shapes to make these most classic Christmas cookie of all and decorate them later. The difference between American and German Christmas butter cookies might not only be the recipe but also the size. Usually the German variation is thinner and much smaller in size than its US counterpart.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 250 g – flour
  • 200g – butter
  • 100g – Baker’s sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp – rum
  • grated skin of one lemon

Ingredients for the decoration:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • for decorating: chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar sprinkles or pearls, smarties , coarse sugar, etc.

Prepare a shortcrust pastry ( Knetteig) by sifting the flour on a board, adding the sugar and the butter cut in little flakes on top. Make a little depression in the middle of the heap of the flour mixture and add the egg yolk, rum and grated lemon.

Blend the ingredients by first chopping them with a large knife, then kneading them to a smooth dough with your hands.

Form a big round ball out of the dough, wrap it in parchment paper and let it rest for about 30 min in the refrigerator.

Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough to about 3mm weihnachtsbackereibutterkekspixabaythin. Cut out different forms with your cookie cutters. Place the various cookie shapes on a lined baking sheet, and bake them for about 356-392 Fahrenheit in the pre-heated oven for about 8-10 minutes. They should look golden brown.

Before you start decorating your cookies, place the cookies on a cooling rack. Then whisk the egg yolk used for decorating with the 1 tbsp milk and brush the cookies with a thin layer. Decorate them with chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar pearls or coarse sugar.

…and you are ready to enjoy one of the most traditional German Christmas Cookies!

Happy Forth Sunday of Advent!

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Let us know your favorite German Christmas Cookie Recipe and send it to CaliforniaGermans(at)gmail.com !

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com


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Weihnachtsbäckerei – Part 4: Coconut Macaroons -Two different ways

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Coconut Macaroons – Kokosmakronen

Coconut macaroons are an absolute must for any holiday cookie baker. At least that’s what I was told by a very dear American friend, who has lived for years in Germany. When she saw my recent Friday posts on German Christmas Cookie baking, Weihnachtsbäckerei, she insisted that I had to include this old time favorite!

So here we go with her two recipes ! Yes, two recipes: One is with whole eggs and the other one is made only with egg whites. A great recipe, if you have excess egg whites left from your previous cookie baking, which you want to use.

Coconut Macaroons Recipe made with Whole Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 125g Butter
  • 375g Sugar
  • 1 package Dr. Oetker Vanilla Sugar or 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 50g flour
  • 375g shredded coconut
  • 4 egg whites

Beat the butter into a foamy mixture slowly adding half of the 375g sugar, as well as the Vanilla sugar and the 4 egg yolks. After having mixed well add the rest of the sugar. Then gradually add the 50g of flour to the batter together with the 375g shredded coconut.

In a separate bowl beat the 4 egg whites until you get a firm and stiff consistency, then carefully fold it into the coconut mixture.

With 2 teaspoons take out some of the batter, form little heaps of dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 420-430 Fahrenheit and bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Makes a batch of deliciously golden looking coconut macaroons!

Quick Coconut Macaroons Recipe made with Egg Whites only

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 250g sugar
  • 350g shredded coconut
  • A few drops orange peel aroma by Dr. Oetker or McCormick
  • 150 g hacked pistachios for decorating

Beat the egg whites to a firm, stiff consistency gradually adding the sugar while you keep beating the mixture until it takes on a glossy consistency and has stiff peaks. Fold the shredded coconut together with the orange aroma carefully under the batter.

Form little heaps of dough, put a few hacked pistachios on top and put them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake the coconut macaroons in a preheated oven (320 Fahrenheit) for about 10-15 minutes.

Makes beautifully white coconut macaroons with a green pistachio top!

Enjoy!

Let us know your favorite German Christmas Cookie Recipe and send it to CaliforniaGermans(at)gmail.com !

Image: Pixabay.com

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Weihnachtsbäckerei – Part 3: Chocolate Wasp Nests

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Chocolate Wasp Nests – Wespennester

Today we are adding a chocolate macaroon with slivered almonds and a touch of cloves to our Weihnachstbäckerei. A very light but intensely flavored Christmas cookie satisfying your chocolate cravings. Thank you Christine R. from San Diego!

Ingredients for 60 pieces:

250g slivered almonds

2 tbsp sugar

250g bittersweet chocolate

4 egg whites

250g sugar

1 pinch ground cloves

Directions:

  1. Spread the slivered almonds on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the 2 tbsp sugar. Bake them in the oven at 392F degrees for about 15 minutes to let them get golden brown.
  2. In the meantime melt the bittersweet chocolate over a hot-water bath
  3. Let both chocolate and almonds cool down.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff. Carefully add the sugar and the ground cloves while continuing to beat the egg whites.
  5. Continue to mix the mixture with the electric mixer (on a lower level) for about another 10 minutes until the mixture takes on a glossy and thick appearance. Slowly add and fold into the mixture the slivered almonds and the melted chocolate.
  6. With 2 teaspoons make little heaps of dough and put them on a greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies on the lowest rack in the preheated oven (302 F ) for about 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Let us know your favorite German Christmas Cookie Recipe and send it to CaliforniaGermans(at)gmail.com !


Image: CaliforniaGermans.com

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