Today I wanted to introduce a recipe from my grandma again, which I found in her little handwritten recipe booklet: peppermint cookies. I had to order the peppermint oil and I wondered how my grandmother got hold of it back in the days. This recipe also requires baking ammonia, which you can find in Germany during the season, but I have no idea where to get it in the U.S. Maybe in a pharmacy? I kid you not, my grandmother has about 10 different peppermint cookies in her recipe book and about half of them require baking ammonia and all do require peppermint oil. When making them, you may think of dying your hair, but the baked cookies won’t taste anything like that. The baking ammonia makes these cookies extra soft and extra fluffy. If you are a peppermint lover, these cookies are for you!
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.
For the beginning of the Oktoberfest I decided to introduce gingerbread hearts, they are a staple during this time, decorated with royal icing, often in blue and white for the Bavarian colors and showing the edelweiss flower common in the mountains. These gingerbread hearts, however, don’t necessarily need to be served for the Oktoberfest only, you can also give them as a gift for a special occasion such as a wedding, baptism, or as another sweet giveaway. Essentially, I went for my beloved recipe for gingerbread, which has been on my blog for a while. You can very easily make a vegan version of this recipe as it does not contain eggs. Please see details in the recipe below.
I asked several experts who have eaten hearts from the Oktoberfest and they did tell me that yes, you usually make it with the traditional gingerbread spices. You don’t necessarily have to, but it is pretty common. So folks, if you are in for some decorating, for having fun, this recipe is for you!
Today you will get the recipe for a pup’s cake as our Australian Shepherd Hazel turned 1 recently. She gobbled up this birthday cake within minutes, I was quite surprised. I will never forgot how in August 2021 we picked her up from the breeder. It was a hot day. At the beginning having a puppy is quite demanding. It’s like having a mobile baby, she didn’t know when she simply needed to sleep and got all naughty and grumpy. By now we have figured out how to get along with each other. It takes a while to understand and communicate properly. Currently she is a teenager, just like a human teenager she is a bit rebellious and we need to show her her boundries again. But compared to the first months, I am sure we will get through this as well. But now back to the cake. Our dog loves strawberries and whipping cream. I know that some dogs have problems digesting airy products, so before you make this cake, be sure to check whether all ingredients can be eaten by yours.
Today I am introducing Colombian tamales. This means an assortment of meat and corn mash, which is steamed in wrapped banana leaves for about an hour. I don’t think you can imagine how nervous I was when I found out that the local produce owner here in Munich actually could get me fresh banana leaves. So far I had only eaten tamales on vacation in Colombia. Usually they are served for breakfast and devoured with Colombian hot chocolate. However, since this is a savory dish, it will also taste great as the main course for dinner. I had often wondered whether it was possible to make them in Germany. But since I had not seen banana leaves being sold anywhere, I had not attempted Colombian tamales. This was over now! Finally I got hold of banana leaves! And I quickly learned why tamales are usually prepared by the entire family and not one person only. Preparing the tamales definitely was a full-family business. I had listened to stories of Colombians who had nothing else to do than to put their index finger on the yarn so that the designated mom/grandma/aunt could be sure that the tamales were sealed all proper. That was their entire job for the small children, nothing else. Since making tamales does require quite a bit of work and contains many components, usually they are made in large batches, anything below 15 tamales is not worth the effort. And if you keep in mind that Colombian families are large and include many more people than only the nucleus family, it does make sense to prepare 30 or more. Making Colombian tamales felt to me like an accolade of the highest nature and thus I was nervous of whether I could achieve this as a German who happened to be married to a Colombian.
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.
Since I have been asked by several people now whether I could publish the recipes for this very fruity and fresh wedding cake (each tier had a different flavor combo), I decided to give in and finally let you have the recipes. You can also see a summary in my highlights in Instagram. Yes, just making the cake base requires 43 eggs already (because I used sponge cake as the base) and yes, we need 18 more egg whites for the Swiss meringue buttercream and almost two kilos of butter, but hey, this is for a large crowd. Since I am frequently asked about some further details, let me first give you the most important facts. The wedding cake consisted of:
- 18cm Apricot Rosemary Filling with Fluffy Vanilla Sponge Cakes, based on this apricot rosemary cake
- 24cm Raspberry Filling with Fresh Raspberries and Chocolate Sponge Cake, based on this raspberry chocolate cake (I did change the cake base though)
- 30cm Blueberry Lemon Filling with Lemon Sponge Cake, based on this blueberry lemon cake
You can also check some details on my Instagram highlights on how I made this wedding cake. In this reel you can see how big the wedding cake actually is.
Part three of my series on how to bake a wedding cake at home is about the recipes and amounts. Before I give these for each cake separately below, I will first give the full list of ingredients, which will help you when you buy them. I would strongly recommend getting more ingredients than you need, just in case something goes wrong. I hadn’t planned to bake three chocolate cake layers. Somehow they were thinner than expected, so I felt I shouldn’t cut them in half and decided to make three thicker layers instead. I was very happy I had enough ingredients at hand. As you can see on below picture, I ended up with three thicker layers of cake and two layers of filling instead of the planned four cake layers.
We finally need another German recipe on the blog, for that reason you will get the typical Snow White Cake aka Donauwelle. But I am serving this classic with a twist, you will get it with strawberries instead of cherries. This cake contains a marbled cake base (another super German recipe) into which you press some cherries (normally), followed by a layer of German buttercream and topped off with a chocolate layer. Beside the Black Forest Cake this Snow White Cake is super German for me. But since I was not in the mood for canned cherries, I decided to use a lot of fresh strawberries, so my buttercream contains chunks of strawberry. The chocolate layer also has some strawberries tucked inside. Because why not? Continue Reading…
It has been four years since I put these ginger muffins on the blog the first time. Partially they are made with whole wheat flour, the traditional butter is replaced with coconut fat and we will not use any refined sugar, but instead sweeten them with molasses. Since they contain feshly grinded ginger, they are super moist and delicious. Of course you can argue if this really is “healthy”, but at least they are healthier than your average muffin. At least I didn’t feel guilty eating them happily with some joghurt and more molasses for breakfast.