17 December 2015

Tis the season...

...to be baking! My efforts this year include, left to right in the photo, Vanillehörnchen, Husarenkrapfen, Haselnussringen, and Schokoladenschäumchen, recipes from a German cookbook first published in 1911 that belonged to my mother. I don't think she used it much - her favourite was Dr.Oetker. But it does have over 100 cookie/biscuit/Plätzchen/Kekse recipes, and another section on cakes - rich pickings!

The recipe for Vanillehörnchen is here. Shortbread with ground almonds, and not too sweet, they are our default xmas cookies.

Husarenkrapfen - hussar's doughnuts - are this year's discovery - they melt in the mouth, and the speck of jam gives them zing.

Haselnussringen should, or could, be cut with a ring cutter, but I had to make do with a round cutter with an interesting edge. If you can get hold of coarse sugar to sprinkle on top, all the better.

Schokoladenschäumchen - chocolate meringues - are "under development" at my place. They need to be small so that they dry out and are crispy - what I thought were small shapes turned out to expand rather in the baking; the soft centres were very chewy and the outsides extremely crunchy.

It's amazing how many different results can be had with various combinations of butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and additions of nuts, chocolate, etc. My project is to bake more of these "lost" recipes ... lost to me, without my mother around to bake them, but very much alive on www.chefkoch.de - 275,000 recipes (not all for cookies, of course; check out the tempting photos).

Husarenkrapfen (hussar's doughnuts)

150g butter
65g sugar, including a tsp vanilla sugar
2 egg yolks, plus an extra one* for brushing (optional)
160g flour
about 2Tbsp (raspberry) jam

Cream the butter, beat in the sugar and egg yolks, then add flour. Make little balls (slightly smaller than a walnut) with the dough and dent the tops with your finger or a thimble. Let stand in a cool place or the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Brush with the extra egg yolk*, put a tiny bit of jam in the indentation, and bake in a moderate oven (350F, 180C, gas 4) for 30 minutes. Makes about 30.

*Alternatively, dust with icing sugar once the biscuits have cooled.

Haselnussringchen (hazelnut rings)

250g butter
250g sugar
2 eggs plus one yolk
500g flour
90g ground hazelnuts

Cream the butter, add other ingredients one at a time. Let the dough rest for an hour, then roll out 1/3cm (1/8") thick and cut, preferably with ring shaped cutter. Spread with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and Hagelzucker (coarse granulated sugar). Bake at moderate heat (350F, 180C, gas 4) for about 30 minutes, till golden. Makes about 60.

Schokoladenschmäumchen (little chocolate meringues)

2 medium egg whites (60g)
10g vanilla sugar
340g icing sugar (270g plus 70g)
80g dark chocolate
30 g cocoa

Grate the chocolate on a medium grater and set aside. Beat the egg whites till stiff, then beat in the 10g vanilla sugar and sift in the 270g icing sugar. Mix in the grated chocolate and sift in the cocoa.

Put the 70g icing sugar on a board (or the counter) and onto it the mixture; flatten the mixture to 3/4 cm thick, then cut into small (2 – 3 cm) shapes. Lay the shapes onto a buttered baking tray, leaving 2cm between them and let stand for 1-2 hours to dry. 

Bake in a low oven (275F, 140C, gas 1) for 1-1½ hours; it’s more drying than actual baking. Wait 5 mins before removing them from the baking tray.

Makes about 50, depending on the size of your shapes.


Plum Cox said...

They look - and sound - delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipes - I was thinking about baking with my DDs this weekend.... now I'm sure that I will!

magsramsay said...

Look forward to sampling them.....

Stitchinscience said...

Mmmmm, thanks for these Margaret. I'm doing my Xmas baking this weekend ( Italian tea-bread 3 ways) and one of these recipes could well be added to the production line.