Right before Christmas I wanted to share a sugar cookie with royal icing made to wreaths. I use these for our Christmas tree, but obviously you can also just eat them like this or give away as a gift. My Christmas tree ornaments always need to be homemade, at least most of them. I usually decorate my Christmas tree with gingerbread. As we have a dog now, we do have some “fake” gingerbread ornaments, mainly hanging at the bottom so that there is no danger. However, this year I decided to also decorate with the sugar cookies made as Christmas wreaths. Continue Reading…
The good thing when you get married to somebody from another country is that you can start your own traditions. I got married to a Colombian 12 years ago, but we have been living in Germany since the start. Christmas is traditionally something we have discussed extensively. I have explained the difference between Colombian and German Christmas in this blog post. Man, we have discussed so many things, should it be the traditional bird as is common in Germany or should we go for the many snacks Colombians like to serve for Christmas? Should we make tamales, which is corn, veggies and meat steamed in banana leaves and which require a lot of work? Should we focus on the gifts instead or spend hours on the food? One thing we have learned over the years is that what works best for us is to create new traditions. Traditions that are neither German nor Colombian, but just us. New traditions we like and enjoy.
Shame on me, somehow I never manage to take care of a proper Advent wreath on time. When I finally decide to buy one, they are always sold out or only very sad ones are left. I am talking about the traditional ones with candles and fir branches. But not this time. This time we will have an advent wreath made from gingerbread. I love making things from gingerbread. Years ago, when I was a poor university student, I started this tradition of making everything from gingerbread as I didn’t have money to buy any expensive Christmad decoration. I decorated the Christmas tree with gingerbread, the nativity was made from it, I even hung some igingerbread n the windows. It is definitely something I hold dear. So this year I decided to make the advent wreath from gingerbread as well.
I learned recently that it is common in Germany to serve a plate full of Christmas cookies on the first of advent (this year on November 27th). I know, this is different than in the U.S. Christmas is already full in force here as we don’t have Thanksgiving. So I figured I would show you more than 20 cookie recipes to choose from. I decided to pick unusual recipes, recipes you haven’t tried yet, many of them from the U.S., but also from Latin America and some German ones that are not that common. I hope you find some to your liking.
#1 Brownie cookies from the U.S.
Today I have some ultra-cute nutcrackers for you guys made from sugar cookies with royal icing. Yes, they do require a bit of work, but for me that’s the best way to relax. Especially since you can make each step on a different day (like make the dough, bake, decorate), which I find super convenient. I love the fact that these cookies keep and will look great in any cookie box. You can also wrap them individually and give them as a gift to somebody. What do you say? You can of course use other cookie cutters, such as ugly sweaters and the like…
Today I have the honor of introducing to you Colombian Christmas, rituals, and customs. Of course I am going to introduce to you typical Colombian recipes for Christmas as well. I by no means consider this extensive and is more based on my personal experience. As a German I can say though that Colombian Christmas is happier, louder, and more carefree than German Christmas. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Germans usually meet with their nucleus family; during these short winter days you need to be at home behind closed doors. Colombians, on the other hand, are found travelling in large groups to relatives, Christmas celebrations can start at 30 people or more, you may encounter a birthday cake for Jesus and see Colombians dancing Salsa happily. Of course the food plays an important role as well. Usually you will find a large amount of people being involved in some food preparation as it requires many hours of labor. By the way, New Year’s Eve is not that different from Christmas, usually Colombians will visit one side of the family on Christmas, and the other on New Year’s. Prepare yourself for eating large amounts of food. But let’s first get started with Christmas in Colombia!
Do you want to make a Colombian happy during the holidays? I have a very simple solution for you, just make him or her natilla, this is an easy milk custard, which doesn’t require you to turn on the oven. Natilla is, and this was confirmed by many Colombians, beside the deep-fried cheese balls buñuelos THE most Colombian Christmas snack. Yes, you read right, Colombians don’t necessarily have a main dish they associate with Christmas, instead it is the snacks, which are served beforehand which are dear to them. The most common ones being said milk custard named natilla or the buñuelos, which are deep-fried cheese balls. These are served throughout the season and on the 24th the very latest.
I am not the conventional German cookie maker. Yes, of course I have all the traditional German cookies on my blog, such as vanilla crescents, cinnamon stars, gingerbread aka Lebkuchen and Linzer. However, my favorite cookies, even during the season, are usually not the traditional Christmas cookies. I usually prefer cookies you can eat all year round. Many German cookies are based on some version of sugar cookie or even pie crust, if you are looking for tips how to deal with this type of sugar cookie, check out this blog post. I also have one full blog post on how to freeze leftover egg yolks and egg whites. If you are looking for some different cookie, below list may be for you. I usually make a full plate with different cookies and many times one of the below cookies was declared the favorite from the receiver of the cookie plate.
Today I am introducing a fast espresso parfait, which is served with cranberry sauce. In case you are looking for a festive dessert you can prepare in advance for Christmas, this may be for you. Since it is frozen, it is up to you to decide when to make it. Also, you can make the cranberry sauce up to two days in advance. I think it is perfect for Christmas as you will have one less thing to worry about. The creamy espresso parfait is delicious on its own, however, if topped of with the tangy cranberry sauce, you have a winning team. Let’s get started!
Have you ever heard of Pfeffernüsse aka German spice cookies? I live in the south of Germany in the city Munich. Once I asked in a bakery whether they sold any and they look at me as if as were from Mars. So I checked, since there are so many German dialects, maybe they use another word in Bavaria, but no, I quickly learned that they are also called Pfeffernüsse here. However, they seem to be more common in the north of Germany, the Dutch and Danish also have similar versions. The handwritten recipe book from my grandma contains about ten different recipes. Many of her recipes contain peppermint extract and this one is closer to gingerbread or German Lebkuchen. Pfeffernüsse literally translates as “pepper nuts”, probably they are called “nuts” because they are the size of walnuts. At least the ones I grew up with are rather small.