Tag Archives: Traditions

Happy Easter with a Classic – “Osterhasi or Nikolausi”

We wish you all a happy and enjoyable Happy Easter !

… and just so that you know who is coming by tomorrow to sweeten up your day, we found a classic by Gerhard Polt for you. Enjoy!

 

Image: Pixabay.com Video: YouTube


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Springtime and Easter – Time for Memories

One more week, and we will celebrate Easter!

Growing up, I remember Easter and my birthday (since it is in March) being the most welcome indicators for spring’s arrival.

We often celebrated my birthday in Italy and while Munich at that time was often still covered in snow and sported temperatures near zero degrees Celsius, I could see that winter was in retreat as soon as we had crossed the Brenner and we were leaving the alps behind us descending into the valley of the Veneto region. Our final destination was Verona, where much warmer temperatures and sun welcomed us.

How I loved this trip every year! I think I came back home to Munich another person knowing that springtime will soon have a triumphant return here as well.

All I Need For Easter is….

Easter egg hunting was always fun, but eating all these delicious chocolates was the best! I have to admit, I do miss those since living here in California; even though Easter egg hunting itself has become much more exciting. We as parents can actually go wild playing Easter bunny now in the garden or a park finding the perfect hiding places in nature versus the living room… California weather is just perfect, isn’t it?

While I do send urgent requests to Germany each year to ship me my favorite Easter egg candies like liquid filled ‘Dragee Eier’  or Lindt & Sprüngli Cognac & Eierlikör eggs – hmm! – one can actually find some familiar Easter chocolate egg choices at places like Worldmarket or even at Amazon!

                                

My Favorites!!

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Should you be short on some German Easter chocolate egg options, these are some you may still have shipped to you perhaps on time…

Remember these…?

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I realize for some of these goodies, it might be too late, but hey, I don’t discriminate… I’ll eat Eierlikör chocolate eggs year-round 🙂

Featured Image: pixabay.com



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Xmas Baking Recipe #4 – Gingerbread ‘Leicht Gemacht’

It’s not Christmas without Gingerbread Cookies!

As a child, I loved using my little cookie cutter forms and produce a variety of differently shaped butter cookies, which I later decorated wildly.  But as much as I enjoyed making butter cookies, I really, really loved to eat Lebkuchen! In fact, I couldn’t get enough of them. My favorite was the Elisenlebkuchen, made by my aunt from a family recipe, which was quite elaborate and required not only ample time but also lots of attention.

On a mission to find a recipe that would combine the easiness of a butter cookie recipe but encapsulate a flavor reminiscent of my cherished Lebkuchen in the final product, I came across this delectable and easy-to-make recipe for gingerbread cookies. And, the fun thing is…I can use all my cookie cutter forms with this kind of dough as well. Bingo!

Dive into our last Christmas cookie recipe for this holiday season!

Bon Appétit!

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INGREDIENTS:

70g  Sugar

180g  Honey

1 Egg Yolk

1 Pinch of Salt

1 tsp  Cinnamon

1 tsp  Candied Orange Peel (orangeat)

5 tbsp  Water

375g  Flour

1 tsp  Baking Powder

PROCEDURE:

Step #1 – First put the sugar and the honey in a pot and heat it up until it turns into a creamy mixture (don’t cook!). Put aside and let cool down. Preheat the oven to 356 Fahrenheit.

Step #2 – Add egg yolk, cinnamon, salt, and water to the mixture and mix well. Put flour and baking powder into a separate mixing bowl and add the honey mixture to it. Blend well. Cover the mixing bowl and let the batter rest for 24 hours.

Step #3 – Roll out the dough and cut out cookies in a gingerbread man shape for example. But any shape works fine. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit (top and bottom heat) for 11 minutes. Sugarcoat or decorate with icing or sprinkles.

Step #4 – Enjoy as a savory Christmas treat with friends and family, or use as a special decoration on your Christmas tree!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Image: Pixabay.com


 

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Xmas Baking Recipe #3: Bad Ischl Jelly Rings à la Dieter Kermas

JELLY RINGS FROM BAD ISCHL – The No-Eggs Xmas Cookie

In our Christmas Cookie Baking Series, we share today one of Dieter Kermas’ favorite ‘Weihnachtsplätzchen’ that he has baked for years! It’s a straightforward recipe that doesn’t need any eggs.

The cookies make for a beautiful looking and deliciously tasting Christmas treat. In fact, this cookie and some with slight variations (different jams & jellies) belong to the traditional staple of Christmas cookies in Germany and shouldn’t miss on any Christmas cookie platter. A variation of this cookie is called ‘Spitzbuben’, a cookie that looks similar but sometimes incorporates an egg in its cookie batter.

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

300g   Flour

100g almond flour

185g powdered sugar

2 packets of vanilla sugar

1 pinch of salt

225g Butter

some flour to roll out the dough

75g raspberry jelly

PROCEDURE:

Step #1 – For the dough, mix the flour with the almond flour and the 125g powdered sugar.

Step #2 – Make a well in the middle. Add the Vanilla sugar and the pinch of salt to it.

Step #3 – Spread the butter in little flakes around it. Quickly prepare to a smooth batter. Cover and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Step #4 – On a lightly floured work surface  roll out the dough about 3mm thick. Cut out round cookies with a diameter of 6cm. Turn half of the cookie batch into circles by cutting out a hole of about 2cm in the middle.

Step #5 – Put all on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8 minutes at 392 Fahrenheit.

Step #6 – Once baked, remove the circles with the holes from the baking sheet and dip them still warm in a mixture of powdered sugar and the rest of the vanilla sugar.

Step #7 – Cover the full round cookies with the raspberry jelly and place the powder sugared circles on top of it.

Tastes delicious with a hot cup of coffee, hot chocolate or spiced tea!

Merry Christmas!

Image: Pixabay.com

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Dieter Kermas, CaliforniaGermans Author and a true Berliner, turned to writing after he retired from his profession as an engineer. Family and friends urged him to document his many experiences during his childhood in wartime Germany. This made for a collection of various essays which have been published here at CaliforniaGermans. (You can find the stories here on CaliforniaGermans.com by putting “Dieter Kermas” into the Search Box.) Apart from his childhood memories, he is also sharing some of his short stories and poems on CaliforniaGermans. Dieter Kermas, who loves to write, has published his first novel “Kolja. Liebe im Feindesland” in 2016, available at Amazon. Some of his work has been included in anthologies.

To get in touch with Dieter Kermas, please send an email with subject line “Dieter Kermas” to californiagermans@gmail.com
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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