Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

Mad about Vanillekipferl

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Vanillekipferl

I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas!

This year, H and I had a small Christmas Eve dinner party with my family. Learning from the experience we had last Christmas, we went with a bone-in store-bought traditional Christmas ham, a large roasted chicken (instead of a huge turkey which would have barely been touched and probably gone into a pot of rice porridge on Christmas day), salami and hawaiian pizza (yes, I know, not exactly a Christmasy sort of dish, but for some reason, my sister really wanted this), homemade Schwaebisher Kartoffelsalat (a German potato salad), tossed greens and a homemade apple pie.

Vanillekipferl

H also made a huge pot of Gluhwein (mulled wine) with a bag of Gluhwein spices sent to us from H’s sister (thank you, N and H!) by way of his mum who was here for a visit a short while ago.

Back home in Germany, this aromatic hot wine would be enjoyed in the winter evenings with our familly, along with a huge assortment of Christmas cookies (Plaetzchen). These Christmas cookies would be lovingly baked in the weeks leading up to Christmas; believe me when I say it takes huge restraint (mostly on H’s part!) to resist all the delicious cookies just so there would be some left by Christmas day!

Vanillekipferl Closeup

Sadly, cookies, of the Christmas-sort or otherwise, don’t keep very well in our humid Asian climate, so I went with just one type to go with the Gluhwein - Vanillekipferl. These crescent-shaped cookies are a quintessential part (in my opinion, anyway) of any Christmas Plaetzchen platter and are made with ground almonds, butter, flour, sugar, egg yolks and scrappings from a vanilla bean.

I used the recipe here from Nicky of Delicious Days. The end result was a lovely crumbly, almond-ny, buttery cookie. I would have preferred them to be a little less crumbly and this would probably have been the case if we lived in a dry climate and left the cookies to sit for a few days in a container. Still, H enjoyed them immensely (can’t exactly say the same for the rest of my family), which was the most important part for me!

              3D Gingerbread Christmas Tree

I also finally got round to assembling the 3D gingerbread Christmas tree as a decorative piece for the dinner. I found that drying the humidity-softened decorated cookies in the oven does help. The dried decorated Christmas ornament cookies are now happily sitting in a container with a couple bags of desiccant. I wonder how long they’ll keep…

3D Gingerbread Christmas Tree

My next project is a macaron croquembouche, but before that, I intend to give myself a nice long rest to recover from the crazy hectic time that was Christmas. :)

Have a wonderful year ahead, everyone!

Mad about Christmas Cookies

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

              Christmas Cookies

With a full-time job, it’s been a little difficult keeping to my Christmas baking schedule. But I knew that I’d definitely be baking and decorating Christmas-themed gingerbread cookies this year, having given them a miss last Christmas.

Plus, I’d been longing to make these edible Christmas tree ornaments since I saw the beautiful designs on Joycelyn’s blog last year.

Christmas Cookies

These gingerbread cookies were baked and decorated over the course of 2 work day evenings and this past weekend. The challenge with cookie decorating in humid Singapore is, as I’d already blogged about previously, that the cookies turn soft very quickly while the icing air-dries.

I had high hopes for these cookies since they remained really crisp, even after 2 days in an air-tight container. But wet December weather finally decided to reappear right after I’d laid down the first layer of royal icing; the poor cookies didn’t stand a chance against the damp, although I have to admit that the royal icing did dry beautifully.

Christmas Tree Cookie

Still, I managed to capture a few decent shots of the ornaments and Christmas tree this morning despite the afternoon rain. I’m particularly happy with how the Christmas tree cookie turned out, given that this is the first time I’ve worked with sprinkles and sanding sugar.

Many thanks go out to Joycelyn for sharing generously sharing her gorgeous decorated cookie design ideas!

Gingerbread Kids

These gingerbread kids are a slight variation of the ones I made 2 years ago. There’s still a 3D gingerbread tree waiting to be assembled, but there just isn’t enough time on the weekend to do everything I’d planned. And then there are the vanillekipferl to be baked. Things aren’t looking too great for the macaron “croquembouche” at the moment. :(

But I’m not complaining; I’m really pleased with what has been accomplished in the kitchen this weekend despite the weather and everything else that’s going on this time of year. With that, I leave you with a photograph of my favourite design of the lot.

Happy holiday baking, everyone!

              Christmas Cookies

Mad about Cookies

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Butterfly & Daisies

I’m starting work at a new place on Monday. The plan was to take it a little easy for a couple of days before that, i.e. no baking, no running errands, no anything. BUT it figures that things rarely ever go as planned when it comes to rest.

Decorated Cookies

A week ago, my cousin SL texts me with a request for 20 custom cookies for her marketing course project to be collected on her 21st birthday.

I’d stopped taking orders for a long time now, but I couldn’t, in all good conscience, disappoint her, especially when I knew her to be all stressed out about her coursework and that she probably didn’t have much time to search for other alternatives.

How much work could 20 cookies be? I factored in about 8 hours of baking and icing, taking into account the various designs and colours.

Hearts

20 disposable piping bags and 5 hours into cookie decorating, all the while dealing with rapidly softening cookies and icing that refused to dry completely even in an air-conditioned room (oh, how I loathe this humid weather!), I remembered why I’d always limited cookie orders to a maximum of 3 designs with a choice of 4 different colours. Note to self: bake cookies longer and limit choice of designs and colour.

Happily, I was done right on schedule and stored the completed cookies in an airtight container, together with 2 small packets of desiccant.

"I'm a litte teapot"

The next morning, I was dismayed to find that some of the darker icing had bled into the lighter backgrounds. This was most apparent with the dark brown and red icing on white. My guess for the unslightly bleeds is that the darker icing had absorbed moisture overnight and proceeded to stain the lighter icing below, despite the airtight container and desiccant.

I was equally annoyed to find that the cookies had turned even softer, after just 1 day. There was nothing I could do to stop both the staining and softening process. I only hope the cookies survive till the time of SL’s presentation!

Birthday Cake Cookie

On the upside, SL has given me new cookie decorating ideas and a lesson in cookie decorating. I even managed to make her a celebratory cookie (and try out a couple of new designs for myself) for the all-important 21st!

Packed Cookies

I’m optimistic that I’ll still find time to bake when I begin my new job tomorrow, but for now, I’m happy that I got to do this just once more. :D