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.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A German Holiday

I was back in Franklin, Kansas today

Where I did a program on how our Christmas traditions
have roots in Germany

I can't do any kind of presentation
without show and tell
And the show and tell usually is food
Today was no exception . . . 

My Weihnachtspyramide
(Christmas pyramid)
was the centerpiece

And I made four kinds of cookies
Christmas in Germany means tins and tins of cookies!

(or honey cakes)

1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. molasses
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon rind
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. allspice
1/3 c. cut up citron*
1/3 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 400

Mix honey, molasses and brown sugar together and bring to a boil.    Cool thoroughly and add egg and lemon juice and zest.       Sift the flour, soda and spices together and stir in.      Once mixture is smooth, add citron and nuts.

Chill dough overnight.    Roll small amount at a time, keeping rest chilled.    Roll out 1/4 inch thick and cut into oblongs 1 1/2 x 2 1/2.   Place one inch apart on greased baking sheet.     Bake until when touched lightly no imprint remains.   (about 10 to 12 minutes)  While cooking bakes make Glazing Icing.    Brush it over the cookies the minute they are out of the oven.    Then quickly remove from baking sheet and cool.     Cool and store to mellow.

Glazing Icing:

Boil together 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to 230 degrees.    Remove from heat.    Stir in 1/4 c. powdered sugar.     

*I could not find citron so used a fruit cake mix of cut up fruits.     Dad’s cousin candied her own lemon peel to use in the cookies.

(vanilla crescents)

1/2 pound butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups blanched almonds ground (I use the more readily available pecans)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. powdered sugar

Cream the butter and sugar together until very light in color.    Sift in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.    Stir in the nuts, vanilla extract, and salt and continue mixing until the ingredients are well blended.    Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Lightly butter and flour two cookie sheets.    For each cookie, pinch off enough dough to make a ball about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.    Shape each cookie by rolling the ball between the palm of your hands into a strip about 1/2 inch thick with slightly tapered ends.    Place the strips on the prepared cookie sheets and shape them into presents.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, on a rack in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until light gold in color.  

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes better transfer them to a wire rack to cool.    Sift the powdered sugar over them while they are slightly warm.


1 cup butter
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c. white corn syrup
1/2 c. molasses
4 to 5 T. anise seed
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. nutmegg
1 t. baking soda
1/4 c. warm water
6 1/2 c. flour

Preheat oven to 375.    Place rack in center of the oven.
Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl that is large enough to hold all ingredients.

Add the following ingredients one at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate:   eggs, corn syrup, molasses, anise seed, spices.    Dissolve baking soda in warm water, add to mixture and beat again.

Add flour and beat mixture until all ingredients are well incorporated.     The dough should be somewhat stiff.    Take a handful of dough and roll it into a ing cylindrical sausage shape about 1 inch in diameterer.    Repeat until you’ve formed all the dough into cylinders.

Cut one inch pieces of dough from the cylinders and roll the pieces into small balls.    Place dough balls on silat lined baking sheets.    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.    The cookies are done when baked through and starting to brown on top.

Roll cookies in powdered sugar while still warm.    Store in airtight container.

(butter cookies)

1 1/4 c. flour
3/8 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 c. butter

For decoration:   1 egg yolk, 1 T. milk, sugar and chocolate sprinkles, coarse sugar

Sift the flour on a board, cut the cold butter, put the egg yolk, sugar and butter chunks on top of the flour.    Blend the ingredients by chopping with a large knife until you get a crumbly mix.

Then use your hand to quickly knead into a smooth dough.     There should be any butter pieces left in the dough.    Wrap the dough in Saran and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Dust a board and rolling pin with flour, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick.    Dust cookie cutters with flour and cut out shapes and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat.

Whisk the egg yolk with 1 T. milk, brush the cookies thinly.     Now decorate with coarse sugar, colored sugar or chocolate sprinkles.

Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes until golden.    Let the cookies cool on a cooking rack, store them in a tin box.

I did learn that there are many different recipes for these classic German Christmas cookies.    Different areas of Germany often have different way of doing things -- even iconic German cookies like pfeffernusse. Perhaps, too, some changes occurred in the new world when they couldn't find an ingredient and either left it out or substituted something else.

It was fun to make these classic German cookies again for their flavor does say Christmas.

With the ice and snow we had yesterday, it kept some people home (probably folks who thought they had cancelled.    So many things had been canceled even church services.     But it was a good crowd weather considering.     Lots of great questions and my favorite part of any presentation is visiting with the guests afterward!

Thanks, Jason and MHM for having me back.    It was great to be a small part of a MHM exhibit.

1 comment:

Angelina at Petite Haus said...

Yes I'll have one of each, danke schön