It was the end of November, we were living as poor university students at that point in Dresden, in the east of Germany. We had no clue what to do. Everybody around us seemed to be busy decorating the apartment with wood handcraft from the close Ore mountains. Nutcrackers, smoking manikins, “Schwippbögen”, these are usually showing the nativity, were unwrapped and placed throughout the apartment. We simply couldn’t afford German wood handcraft from the region and therefore only had bare walls to show. Our Christmas decorations? Nil, nada, inexistent. What to do if you can barely make ends meet? My solution was simple: gingerbread or German Lebkuchen. Gingerbread is perfect if you want to use it as decoration. Regardless if you wish to use it for a gingerbread house (or even village?), to decorate your Christmas tree with, or to make an advent calendar. Gingerbread was my solution to our Christmas decoration.
These German nut triangles are one of my favorite desserts from Germany. I just learned recently that you supposedly only serve them during Christmas season in some regions of Germany. However, I remember seeing them everywhere all year round, every bakery had them at least where we lived. Even the school kiosk offered them all the time and I happily ate them day in and day out.
Creamy German Cheesecake with strawberries, that’s what you will get today. You may ask what German cheesecake is compared to American cheesecake? The main differences are that you use quark or curd cheese instead of only cream cheese and you have a pie crust to keep it all together and not your typical cookie crust. Do you want to give this cheesecake a try? The version you see below is the creamiest of them all. You can eat it plain or serve it, as I did, with a strwaberry topping. If you rather try some other, this is more traditional cream cheesecake with blueberries a no refined sugar, this one with apples and caramel, this one is the traditional Japanese, or a no-bake with limes. Continue Reading…
Have you every heard of “Kaiserschmarrn”? This is a giant pancake cut into small pieces, dusted with icing sugar and served with compote. It is very famous in Austria and the south of Germany. Since I recently moved from the north of Germany to the south, to Munich, I felt it was time I gave this traditional recipe another go. There is a whole war going on whether to include raisins or not, but I love the plain version, sorry. However, I decided to serve it with rhubarb compote. Normally you would serve it with a plum compote, but it is spring and I like rhubarb, so why not give this a little spin. So think a pancake cut in neat pieces, dusted with icing sugar and some nice fruit compote on the side and you get this Kaiserschmarrn. Sounds good?
Recipes with a story behind are the best in my opinion. This definitely holds true for these Heidesand cookies. For that reason I feel especially honored to introduce them here. The recipe was passed down from the lovely lady Mrs. P. Mrs. P was busy baking these cookies for her granddaugther when the handyman who was working at her place asked why it was smelling so nice in her kitchen. Mrs. P. replied that she was preparing Heidesand cookies as these were the favorite of her granddaugther and immediately handed a cookie to the handyman. He was so excited about the cookies after he tried them that he continued praising them as soon as he returned home. The girlfriend of the handyman listened to his story and immediately requested that he ask for the recipe the next day when he was about to return to Mrs. P’s house. He glady returned the favor and asked Mrs. P. for the recipe. She got very excited, immediately sat down and wrote down the recipe for him, which he then faithfully passed on to his girldfriend. And this is the point where the story takes a tragic turn. Because Mrs. P. passed away shortly after. But had passed on the recipe to the girlfriend, who has baked this recipe many times and now passed on the recipe to me. I will definitely hold it very dear in my recipe collection.
I am excited to say that today I have the privilege of opening the first Advent door of the Advent Calendar, see further details here. Advent what? The Advent Calendar is a tradition that originated somewhere in Germany at the end of the 19th century. The basic idea is to make waiting for Christmas more bearable. For that reason between December 1 and 24 you get a daily tiny treat. It is common in German to say to “open the Advent door” to see what treat is found. Traditionally the calendar is filled with little chocolates, which are hidden behind tiny doors, but the Advent Calendar I want to introduce to you is a Food Advent Calendar. Every day one blogger will open their blog door and show us a new recipe they specifially created for this event. I named the calendar Food Advent Calendar “Spice It Up!” and requested for participating bloggers to use a spice, which is commonly used during the season. I picked the tonka bean and wanted to introduce you to the German Christmas Stollen. Let’s open Advent Door No. 1!