I posted recently about the batches of german christmas biscuits (Plätzchen) that I made this month. I thought I would add a few of the recipes translated into English.
First off is Vanillekipferln. The original recipe (in german) is from the women’s magazine Brigitte and can be found here.
- 200 g of flour
- 80 g of caster sugar
- 175 g of cold butter chopped small
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 g of ground peeled almonds
- Scrapings of 1 vanilla pod
- 1 pinch of salt
- 80 g of bourbon vanilla sugar (substitute with icing sugar)
- Mix together flour, sugar, butter, egg yolks, almonds, vanilla and salt to form a smooth dough.
- Divide the dough into two and roll into long tubes. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- After chilling, divide each roll of dough into 35 small portions. Shape each piece of dough with your hands, firstly into a small ball and then into tubes approximately 5 cm long. Taper the ends slightly and form into crescent shapes.
- Place the crescents onto a pre-chilled baking sheet lined with baking paper and chill for a further 30 – 60 mins in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C fan, Gas Mark 3. Bake the biscuits for about 15 mins. They should remain light in colour.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. While the biscuits are still warm, roll them individually, gently, in small portions of the vanilla / icing sugar. Allow to cool completely.
My absolute favourite thing about living in Germany so far has got to be Advent. Growing up in Ireland ‘Advent’ existed purely in the religious sense with the exception of our ancient Advent calender which had picture behind the doors, not chocolates!
In Germany though, it extends far beyond church services and encompasses a whole month or so of festive traditions in the build up to the big day. Christmas decorations usually go up on or about the first Sunday in Advent and the Christmas markets open up just before.
Food and drink is also a big part of the celebrations and there’s nothing like a hot mug of Glühwein (mulled wine) at the Christmas market to stave away the December chill. However, one of the most endearing traditions (to me at least) is that of Weihnachtsplätzchen (Christmas biscuits).
They are traditionally baked and eaten during Advent and often given as presents to friends or neighbours. Most recipes are for pretty large quantities to ensure there are plenty to go around.
It is also sometimes a family event, with children involved in the easier steps like using the cookie cutters or decorating. Recipes are often advertised as being ‘wie aus Omas Backstube’ (roughly, ‘just like Grandma used to make’).
I spent Wednesday baking some of the classics as pictured here. They passed the authentic test by being appreciatively devoured by my husband’s work colleagues!