Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

Mad about Raspberry Jam Cookies

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

              Raspberry Jam Cookies

The idea for these very pretty looking cookies comes from Delicious Days, a delightful blog owned by a German couple living in Munich. I was so inspired by the gorgeous photographs of Nicky’s Brombeerbusserl that I couldn’t wait to make my own version.

Raspberry Jam Cookies

I finally got a chance make them with a slight modification to the recipe last week (more than a year after I’d first read about them!). The cookie dough was simple to make, but required some strength to pipe through the nozzle onto the tray. They had a thin crunchy shell and a soft centre fresh out of the oven. I’d expected the cookies to stay crisp on the outside, given the drier climate here in Germany, but they were melt-in-your-mouth soft by the next morning.

              Cookie Jar

The only dilema I faced while making these cookies was selecting an appropriate jam. And what a wonderful dilema it was, for I was completely spoilt for choice; there were more than 30 bottles of jams and preserves (black/red currant, blackberry, raspberry, quince, apple) stored in Harald’s family home cellar, every one of them homemade in summers past!

Raspberry Jam Cookies

I finally settled on a raspberry jam filling. The end result was a delightfully melt-on-your-tongue soft cookie with a hint of fruit. Although I’d have preferred a slightly crunchier cookie, I’ll definitely be making these again, perhaps with a further modification for more crunch and a little more jam for more fruity flavour. Sandwiched with a suitable jam filling, these may just be perfect for the coming Lunar New Year. I’m thinking homemade pineapple jam or orange marmalade. More suggestions, anyone?

Mad about Lebkuchen

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

              Homemade Lebkuchen

The first time I ever had Lebkuchen (German gingerbread) was back in 1997. Harald was visiting me in Berkeley and had brought homemade ones all the way from Germany. At that time, I had no idea what these round, fragrant, nutty and soft cookie-like snacks were, but they were the most delicious things I’d tasted in a long time. Sadly, they were impossible to find outside of Germany.

              Lebkuchen Ingredients

Lebkuchen is most commonly available in Germany around Christmas. These wonderfully aromatic spice cookies, whose main ingredients are spices, flour, ground almonds/hazelnuts/walnuts, eggs, candied orange and lime peel, can be found in supermarkets in the couple of months leading up to Christmas with the most common brands being Bahlsen and Wicklein.

Lebkuchen Schmidt

Our favourite Lebkuchen manufacturer is Lebkuchen-Schmidt. Their Lebkuchen products are so popular (in Bavaria, anyways) that they can afford to have seasonal shops that are closed all year round except for 3 months in winter. Fortunately for us (since we aren’t always here around Christmas), they also have shops that are open all-year round. Whenever we visit Germany, we’d make a trip to one of their shops in Nürnberg and end up carrying at least a kilogram of Lebkuchen home.

Homemade Lebkuchen

The homemade Lebkuchen featured here, which I made together with A, are just as wonderful as the store-bought ones, if not better. I’ll definitely be making space in my luggage for these “(home)made-in-Germany” cookies, along with all sorts of confectioneries and baking ingredients that I’d be hard-pressed to find back home!

[Edited Mar 21, 2008 to include translated recipe]

Classic Lebkuchen (Adapted and translated from Lekuchen Rezepte)

Yield: ~ 30 Lebkuchen
Ingredients
200g sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar (~10g)
1 tsp cinnamon
One pinch each of ground cloves, allspice and cardamon
200g almonds (ground)
50g candied orange peel (chopped)
75g candied lemon peel (chopped)
Zest from ½ lemon
250g flour
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
30 round wafer sheets (~ 7cm)
Sugar glaze (see recipe below)
Whole blanched almonds for decoration (optional)

Method
1. Mix the flour and baking powder together.
2. Place the eggs with the sugar and vanilla sugar in a bowl and beat until foamy.
3. Add in the flour mixure, spices, almonds, lemon zest, candied orange and lemon peel. Mix to form a dough.
4. Preheat the oven to 175 – 200 degrees C. (I use 180 degrees C for lebkuchen)
5. Spread the dough on each wafer sheet and bake until golden brown on an ungreased baking sheet for 15 to 20 mins.
6. Allow the lebkuchen to cool and glaze with the sugar glaze. Decorate with the whole blanched almonds as desired.

Sugar Glaze
Ingredients
200g confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice (alternatively, use 2 tbsp rum)
2 tbsp hot water

Method
1. Mix well for 5 – 10 mins. The glaze should be fluid with a thick consistency.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Christmas Cookie Collage

After an insane 20-day-long Christmas baking schedule, I’m ready for an extended break.

Gingerbread Order - Corporate RWS

Baking this year has been loads of fun, but at times, it has also been extremely challenging and exhausting, especially in the last 3 weeks. I suppose it was inevitable, with 418 macarons, 250 gingerbread cookies, 6 gingerbread Christmas trees, 30 cakes on the Christmas baking schedule and just one oven and one pair of hands!

Christmas Macarons/

Looking back, I’ve realised that this past year held several “firsts” for me; 1st press interview and press mention, 1st blog award, 1st corporate order, 1st time taking Christmas orders. I’m not sure if next year will be as exciting, but I’ll be beginning 2008 by teaching my 1st ever individual hands-on baking class!

Corporate Request - RWS

None of these would have been possible without you (my dear blog readers and generous clients), so here’s a big thank you to all of you, for your support, wonderful comments and feedback this past year!

Gingerbread Snowflakes

For now, Harald and I are off to Germany (and London) for a month of R&R! So here’s wishing everyone a happy Christmas and wonderful New Year!