Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Not Always Afternoon Tea . . .

Although I embrace the English custom of a cup of tea at half past three, sometimes, in the afternoon, coffee seems to be the drink of choice.     Especially when I have company!

Whenever we went visiting any of Dad's German relatives, after a welcoming hug, they would hand you a cup of coffee.  (The adults, of course!)

   I remember at all of the aunts houses that there was always coffee ready.   (And in the afternoon that coffee would be rather "stout" which is perhaps, why, they always took it with a little cream!)

But it wouldn't be just coffee for there had to be something "with" -- a small treat of a cookie or a piece of cake.    There would always be one or the other in the larder.

Last week, when I was preparing for my biscotti class, the memories came flooding back.   I remembered going to Cousin Grace's (and her husband, Pockets) home as a child.   I remembered the adults sitting around the kitchen table -- with coffee, of course -- and a plate of hard little cookies.   Hard -- like biscotti -- not hard -- like stale!    And dipping their cookies into their coffee!

And I remember not being enthralled with the cookies preferring instead to have an oatmeal raisin or a hermit -- but that wasn't offered.    Just Cousin Grace's "hard cookies"!

And then I remembered something about how these cookies were "good keepers" and that Cousin Grace always had a tin in the larder not only for company but for her own afternoon coffee.     And I also remembered being told that they were baked until they were crisp so that they would last longer.  

What's a person to do?     I called a cousin in Higginsville and she gave me the recipe for "Kaffebrot" as she (and Cousin Grace) called them.   I didn't remember the name but when I described the cookie, she laughed and said that she still made them -- they were certainly good with (and in) coffee and they kept a long time.

So I made them -- not only for me but also for those attending my class on Biscotti at life+style.    We gave them a warm German welcome that night -- with a cup of coffee and one (or two or three) of the kaffebrots before we got down to the business of demonstrating biscotti!

And I kept some (of course) and when two Nevada friends showed up one afternoon, I made a pot of coffee (instead of tea) and put some kaffebrots on a platter.

We drank coffee, we dipped kaffebrots, and we chatted away the afternoon.     It's always good to get together with friends.

All ready for company

The breakfast room is my room of choice for an informal coffee (or tea).   We can watch the antics of the birds as we sip and nibble and chat.

Coffee and cookies

No plates for the cookies go right on the saucer.    Spode Blue Italian cups and saucers and even the sandwich plate (a remembrance of last year's trip to England -- the only piece of new pottery that I brought home).

Twice baked almond and sugared covered cookies -- they really are perfect with coffee for they're much better if you give them a dunk!

I like to use a tablecloth -- this is one of my tea cloths and the bowl of apples is still the centerpiece.    The paperwhites are starting to grow but hadn't attained the proper height to be centerpiece worthy!

Nothing better than coffee, cookies and friends!

I've modified the recipe for the kaffebrots.   You see, I'm pastry challenged.    I'm way too impatient to properly cut fat into flour -- the size of peas to me mean peas the size of ice cubes!   It made no never mind whether I used a fork or a pastry cutter, my "peas" were always huge.    And then I discovered how easy it was to make pastry in a food processor.    I made the best pie crust.    So I tried biscuits.    I made the best biscuits.     So why not do it with the kaffebrot?    I turned out very well -- but, shhh -- don't tell Cousin Helen -- she'll think I'm a heretic, making kaffebrot a new modern way!


3 1/2 c flour
1 2/3 c. sugar (divided)
1 t. baking soda
3 eggs
2 sticks butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
rind of 1 lemon, grated
1/4 t. almond extract
1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 T. heavy cream
1/2 c. slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350.

Place the flour, 1 1/3 c. sugar, baking soda, eggs, butter, lemon rind and almond extract in the bowl of a food processor.    Process until the dough forms a ball.    Take out of food processor and divide dough into 4 pieces.     Shape each piece into a roll 1 inch thick and 17 inches long.    Place on a buttered baking sheet (or a silicone or parchment lined one like I do).   Press the rolls down a bit, using a fork dipped in flour.    Brush with the egg-cream mixture.    Sprinkle the almonds and remaining sugar evenly over all four rolls.

Bake for 18 minutes.   Cut each roll crosswise into 1 1/4 inch cookies.    Return the baking sheet to the turned-off oven for 30 minutes to dry.

It is so easy to do in the food processor -- way easier than the way Cousin Helen's recipe from Cousin Grace made them!    

It's Tuesday and although it's really coffee instead of tea, I'm still joining these parties today:


Johanna Gehrlein said...

Hi Martha,
you made me laughing with your story. Yes indeed, the German idea of tea time means having coffee and something with it. In former times people had lunch early and so the coffee time was necessary. Now we celebrate it only on week ends and I skip lunch for it. The Kaffeebrot looks great. Thank you for sharing this sweet memories and the great recipe. And I will never tell your Cousin a word about the modern making.
Best greetings, Johanna

Bookie said...

Such good looking cookies! And I envy you that afternoon caffeine...I must stop at noon these days or be awake all night!
Your pictures are your blue and whites!


Oh that was funny, you made me laugh. I'll keep the secret from your cousin, but thanks for the recipe anyway! I love your dishes, specially that pretty tray. Wish I was there for a piece. I'll invite you for a piece of Valentine's cake.
Happy week.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Mmm, my kind of cookie. I've never thought to use a food processor, always my pasty blender that I received as a wedding shower gift long ago.
I'm going to try Kaffeebrot to have with coffee and tea, thanks for the recipe.

Antiques And Teacups said...

What a great post! Biscotti are my husband's favorite. Half the time he has coffee in the morning to my tea, but he always has tea in the afternoon! I will definitly try the recipe! Looks like I'll have to break down and get a processor! Thanks for your lovely post and for linking with Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

Pondside said...

That sounds so good.
In my family I'm the one who eschews cream, gooey cakes and sweet sweets. Give me a dense apple cake, a plain pound cake or a really good oatmeal cookie and I'm really happy. I just know I'd like these cookies.

Patti said...

Thanks for the recipe. I love a snack around 4:00. Tea in the winter, iced tea in the summer and a little something with. I never thought of it as having "Afternoon Tea."

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Hi Martha,
My relatives always served coffee too. Although my mother always served tea which sort of turned me off on tea for many years as she made terrible tea. {I know, that's not very nice!}
Anyway, when I discovered all the lovely herbal teas, I took to sipping that and love it. Of course, I still enjoy a nice cup of coffee too. Your cookies look yummy.
Thanks for sharing and joining me today.


Bernideen said...

I am copying this recipe as I am not knowledgeable about German delights! I enjoyed Johanna's insights as well!

Pamela Gordon said...

What a great post and wonderful memories of your coffee and biscotti. I tried biscotti only recently and found it very hard as I didn't have coffee or tea with it. Next time I'll do it properly. Pamela

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This looks like a delicious treat to serve with coffee! It seems there was always a pot of coffee ready in my relatives Danish homes also :)