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Christmas

Gingerbread House with Video and Printable

Lebkuchenhaus oder Knusperhaus zu Weihnachten

Guys, it was so, so much fun baking, decorating, assembling, and also filming this gingerbread house (video further down below). You can’t imagine how wonderful this was. Probably because this year is different and so I needed to relax even more than usual. I dare say that I have become a gingerbread expert over the years. You need to know that I always decorate our tree with gingerbread, I also make tiny gingerbread houses you can actually place on your mug every year. I have learned a lot making gingerbread over and over again. And today I am going to share with you how to make this gingerbread house from scratch. You will find a recipe for a sturdy house, lots of helpful hints and tips, a recipe for royal icing and a video showing the entire process. I have traditionally made a gingerbread house for the first of advent for several years. I just love when the entire apartment smells like cinnamon and other spices throughout December. So let’s get started!

Lebkuchenhaus oder Knusperhaus zu Weihnachten Continue Reading…

Soft Snickerdoodles

Weiche Zimtkekse aus USA: Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are America’s answer to German cinnamon stars! I love snickerdoodles and I find it super exciting every time a German tries one and declares it the new favorite cookie. Snickerdoodles are easy to prepare and are similar to how sugar cookies are created. You will need cream of tartar for these beauties to stay soft and puffy. The recipe does not require any chilling.

Weiche Zimtkekse aus USA: Snickerdoodles

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German Vanilla Crescents with Real Vanilla

Vanillekipferl mit echter Vanille

These German vanilla crescents are prepared with real vanilla to give them maximum flavor. This is a classic Christmas cookie very popular in the German-speaking countries. So we are going to add vanilla not only in the dough, but also in the dusting. They are called vanilla crescents for a reason.

Vanillekipferl mit echter Vanille

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Tips for Shipping a Cookie Box

Wie man eine Weihnachtsplätzchendose verschickt

Cookie boxes are my thing! I love shipping cookies to friends and family during the season! I have been doing this for years. And since this year is so special and you may not be able to see everybody you hold dear, how about shipping a cookie box instead? This post will let you know which type and size of box to choose, which cookies are best to ship with lots of recipe suggestions, how you make your cookie box look nice and give it a personal touch and how your cookies make it safe and sound without breaking or going bad. Let’s have a look:

Mürbeteigplätzchen mit Zuckerglasur

Simple sugar cookies with royal icing

#1 Which box is best to ship cookies?

It may sound counter-intuitive, but I do prefer rectangular boxes, even if round cookie boxes seem so much more common here in Germany. I find rectangular boxes so much better as you can easily create smaller compartments by cutting out some carton (yes, you can use an old cornflakes box) and by placing them inside your cookie box to create smaller compartments. So stacking the cookies becomes much easier as each has its small compartment and is protected even better. You probably could create something similar with a round cookie box, but I am very bad at this. This is not to say that you can’t use round boxes, but as stated, for shipping rectangular boxes are better.

A tin can will work best and can be found in German stores during this time of the year. Once I even bought a cookie box already filled with cookies in a grocery store and replaced those with my own homemade cookies. So you can go with tin, thick carton, or wood. Paper is not thick enough, you may only use it if you want to wrap single cookies in some extra containers.

The size is also tricky, they shouldn’t be too small as you won’t be able to put in any cookies (and they fill up much faster than you think), but also not too large. I would suggest about 17-20cm in diameter and 8-10cm in height for round cookie boxes, these are the ones I liked a lot. For a rectangular box again height should be between 8-10cm, the largest I shipped was 17cm in width and 20cm long.

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All Recipes From My Cookie Box

Gefüllte Keksdose zu Weihnachten

Wow, you guys are crazy! And I am crazy! Because I will be flying to my in-laws tomorrow and I am writing this blog post even though I haven’t packed yet. I usually plan my posts long in advance. But not this time. That’s because soooo many of you requested the recipes of the below cookie box. When I showed the picture on Instagram and Facebook, many of you wanted to get ALL the recipes. Figure that. All of them. And since I am far away from being able to link on Instagram, I will link the recipes in this blog post. The below picture shows the cookies with numbers, so you should be able to match them. I tried to number them clockwise, so it is easy to see which one is which. The cookies are as follows:

Gefüllte Keksdose zu Weihnachten

  1. Brownie cookies
  2. German cinnamon stars (gluten free)
  3. Speculoos prezels (I made them to prezels and dunked them in chocolate)
  4. Ugly sweater gingerbread
  5. Baci di dama (hazelnut cookies)
  6. Snickerdoodles
  7. Nutella chocolate chip cookies
  8. Chocolate chip cookies with instant pudding
  9. Spice wreaths (I made mine with marzipan “cranberries), not on my blog

P.S.: If you are making all these cookies, you will probably have a lot of egg whites left over. What to do with leftover egg whites and how to freeze it, you will find here.

And in case you were wondering, I like to bake one cookie per day. I work full-time, so I always made one recipe after work. Once cooled, I immediately froze them and only took them out shortly before shipping. I am not the type who will make like five different cookies in one night. Too stressful, that’s not me. If it is a recipe that requires the dough to chill, I would prepare the dough in the morning, go to work, return, and then cut out the cookies, bake them, etc.

I have shipped a lot of cookies successfully, just be sure to make cookies you can stack and that are sturdy. I feel that the tin/can already protects them well, so what I did was to stack them and cover with some napkins or similar. The cookie box was protected with newspaper. So far the cookies I’ve shipped all made it safe and sound. I even did a cookie box giveaway for the international cookie day. If you have not shipped cookies, give it a try. First ship nationally and see how it goes. I am telling you, it is addictive!

The cookie box you can see is from the German publishing house Grätz (currently seems to only be available on Amazon). I will take this box to my in-laws in Spain. And since I still need to pack, I will leave you to it. As always feel free to ask me anything about baking or if you encounter problems. Alright, have wonderful holidays!

Happy Holidays with this Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake

Orange-Cranberry-Gugelhupf

Today I am introducing a delicious orange cranberry bundt cake. I just love that this bundt cake is so moist, contains real fruit and is just perfect for winter. The batter is fairly easy to prepare and I am sure that you can serve this cake either for Christmas or any kind of get together you have planned in your future. Heck, you may even try it for breakfast!

Orange-Cranberry-GugelhupfSince Christmas is just around the corner, I decided to spice this cake with some traditional Christmas spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and the like. I am sure the cake will also taste without, but seriously, I put quite a bit of effort into making this cake look pretty. I mean, for me the taste of a cake will always overrule its prettiness. Seriously. I don’t understand how people find cakes made with ultra-sweet fondant georgeous. Sure, they may be from the outside, but it really saddens me that you cannot eat fondant. So what’s the deal? Why do people say these cakes are gorgeous if you can’t eat half of them? In this instance I decorated my bundt cake with some oranges, cranberries, and rosemary to make it extra special. So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to also make the batter have some secret ingredient. Hence the spice plus fresh cranberries and orange juice. I can assure you, this cake definitely tastes as good as it looks!

Orange-Cranberry-Gugelhupf Continue Reading…

Snickerdoodles with Brown Butter

Snickerdoodles mit gebräunter Butter

Snickerdoodles with brown butter are a cinnamon surprise from the U.S. I decided that they are perfect for the season. In case you don’t know, snickerdoodles have a similar base as sugar cookies, but are then formed into balls which are then rolled in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon before you bake them. As far as I know you can find snickerdoodles in the U.S. throughout the year, however, due to their cinnamon flavor I decided to make some during the season.

Snickerdoodles mit gebräunter Butter Continue Reading…

The Tiniest Gingerbread Houses for your Mug

Die allersüßesten Mini-Lebkuchenhäuschen

I honestly can’t imagine Christmas without gingerbread. Every year at the end of November I am faithfully going to make gingerbread of some kind. Be it to decorate the Christmas tree, traditional gingerbread men, or be it gingerbread cut into stars, angels, and stockings. Today I am going to present the cutest mini gingerbread houses you can decorate your mugs with. Prefect for a dinner invitation or as a gift. You can print out the mini houses here.

Die allersüßesten Mini-LebkuchenhäuserI do agree that anything made from gingerbread requires a lot of work, but I feel nothing says Christmas more. I really do enjoy starting the season this way. Gingerbread may require a lot of work, but there is one advantage to it, you can take a break after every stage and you can make gingerbread in advance. You can easily store the gingerbread dough for a week in your fridge. Undecorated gingerbread will also keep for weeks if stored in an airtight container, and even fully decoarted gingerbread is safe for consumption. Mind you, I at least happily munch away my Christmas tree decoration every year after Christmas. So I invite you to decorate some gingerbread with some friends. Have them come over, prepare some hot cocoa and just give it a go!

Die allersüßesten Mini-Lebkuchenhäuser Continue Reading…

My 10 favorite Christmas Cookies

Weihnachtsbäckerei

I’ve decided to open the season, it is time for Christmas cookies! Have you started yet? Every year I promise to start early and then I end up with a long, long, long list of cookies I want to bake, but nothing happens other than the list getting longer. Well, maybe this blog entry with my ten favorite Christmas cookies will also make your list longer, but maybe you will actually bake some, that would be actually awesome. Please let me know in the comments if you do!

#1 Tiny gingerbread houses

Seriously, I feel Christmas is not complete without gingerbread. Gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, ugly sweater cookies made with gingerbread, you name it. My recipe also includes some printables for these cute little gingerbread houses.

Die allersüßesten Mini-LebkuchenhäuserI urge you to try these cute little gingerbread houses

#2 Alfajores with chocolate and a slight hint of orange

Hands down, my favorite cookie from my country of birth Uruguay. It is filled with dulce de leche, do I need to say more?

Alfajores, a cookie made with cornstarch, filled with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate

#3 Cute little Santas

These cute little santas are a simple sugar cookie with ermine frosting, I just love them, check the recipe for further details!

If you really want to get into Christmas, make these cute little Santas!

#4 Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies with caramel and sea salt

This may not be the traditional Christmas cookie, but all these flavors, I promise, you won’t regret making these!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Caramel and Sea SaltAll my favorite flavors combined, peanut butter, chocolate, caramel and sea salt, yes!

#5 Meringue cookies that actually look like mushrooms

You have some egg white left over? How about these little cuties? They only contain two ingredients, egg whites and sugar and are glued together by some chocolate.

Pilze aus BaiserYou are making a yule log for Christmas? How about decorating it with these little mushrooms

#6 Linzer cookies

Another Christmas cookie I can’t do without. Who can say no to these cookies with a slight hint of almond and yummy jam filling?

Linzer PlätzchenThis is one of the traditional Christmas cookies in Germany, go ahead and try it!

#7 Stained-glass cookies

They are easier to prepare than you may think. Obviously I give a lot of tips in my blog post to guide you along.

stained glass cookiesThey look so cool and actually are not that hard to make, try these beautiful stained-glass cookies, they are a perfect gift and wonderful decoration.

#8 Snickerdoodles

These snickerdoodles are made with a lot of brown butter for extra awesomeness.

Snickerdoodles mit gebräunter ButterOh, this joy of cinnamon and brown butter called snickerdoodles!

#9 Heidesand cookies

You may not know this traditional cookie from Germany, but it has brown butter and real vanilla. So buttery, so good!

Heidesand-PlätzchenThese shortbread cookies are prepared with lots of brown butter and real vanilla. Traditionally from the north of Germany and so good for Christmas.

#10 Vanilla stars with chocolate ganache

If you are a chocolate lover, these cookies are for you. Instead of jam or buttercream, these cookies are filled with wonderful chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Star CookieIf you can’t decide if you want to do chocolate or vanilla, why not combine these two flavors? Make these vanilla stars with chocolate filling.

So which one is your favorite Christmas cookie you can’t do without?

Mushroom Meringue

Pilze aus Baiser

I have to admit, I love fall, especially if you check the ground of a dark forest, you will find mushrooms, just like the ones I am presenting today. No, I am kidding, you won’t find these mushrooms in the forest, they are actually made from meringue. However, I do find that they do look very much like their original, don’t you think? I am sure these mushrooms are going to be a show-stopper. And the best thing is, they are basically made from two ingredients. You beat egg whites with sugar, which you then pipe into mushroom caps and stems, you glue it all together with chocolate, and then dust them off with cocoa powder, voilá!Pilze aus Baiser Continue Reading…