Thursday, November 12, 2009

German Cookie Bake-Off part 3

Welcome to the last installment of our German cookie baking extravaganza - a day so long, it required three blogs. A long day, but a fun one, filled with lots and lots of sugar. I probably had a weeks worth of sugar that day. I'm still recovering.
Cookie #7: Mini Americans. They are really called this. Basically, they're smiley faced cookies. Apparently, we Americans are extra smiley. Smiley enough to be noted by German cookie bakers. I'll take it. Any other theories? I'd like to hear them.
Maike's piping out some piles of doo. I mean dough. (It kind of looks like doo if you use your inner elementary school imagination.)
See, the piles flowed into nice little cookie pillows. They are tasty just like this, however not as fun to look at.
Maike is painting a canvas of white icing on the bottoms of the cookies.
I got to make up the faces with melted chocolate. I got the most fun part! Some had uni brows and mustaches. Excess facial hair is always funny.

Mini Americans
Preheat oven to 355 degrees F.
Mix 100g. softened butter, 100g. sugar, and a pinch of salt for 8 minutes. No less!
Add beaten egg and mix for 30 seconds. Add a second beaten egg and mix for another 30 seconds.
Combine 250g. flour, 1 package of instant vanilla pudding mix, and 1 Tbsp. baking powder.
Add dry mixture to butter mixture alternating with 5 Tbsp. milk. (Example add 1/5 of the dry, then 1 Tbsp. milk, then 1/5 of the dry, then 1 Tbsp. milk, etc.) Until just combined.
Pipe little circles onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes.
Let cool and decorate with frosting. (Make smiley faces with two different colored icings.)

I'm going to emphasise, again, for you to get a scale; a DIGITAL scale. Digital scales hop from grams to ounces in a second. It's great. Hooray for technology!
ATTENTION COCONUT LOVERS! This is your cookie. Heck, even coconut dislikers, you will like this cookie. As a coconut disliker, I can honestly say that these cookies are fantastic! So give them a try. They are very easy to make.
Scoop. Plop. Top. Scoop. Plot. Top. Scoop. Plop. Top. Scoop. Plot. Top. Scoop. Plop. Top. Scoop. Plot. Top. Scoop. Plop. Top. Scoop. Plot. Top. You get the drift. After so many hours of baking. It becomes like clock work. Auto pilot kicks in. Scoop. Plop. Top. Scoop. Plot. Top.
Topping them with a chocolate chip was a great idea. That little bit of chocolate was perfect as well as adorable.
And now, you eat!
Or you decorate with more chocolate. AND THEN EAT!

Coconut Lumps
Preheat oven to 320 degrees F.
Cream 50g. softened butter, 125g. sugar, and 1 Tbsp. vanilla sugar.
Add 1 whole egg and 1 tsp. almond extract and mix for 30 seconds.
Mix 125g. flour and 2 tsp. baking powder. Add half of dry mixture to butter mixture and add 1 Tbsp. milk. Mix just until combined, then add the rest of the dry mixture and 200g. coconut flakes. Mix until just combined.
Scoop out by the tablespoon full. Option - top with a chocolate chip.
Bake on lightly greased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes.

Want to learn how to peel an almond? You'll need to know for this last cookie. It's quite fun actually. Start by boiling some water.
Throw in the almonds and wait a couple of minutes. Drain the hot water and plunge the hot almonds into some ice water. Now for the fun part.
Squeeze the little naked almonds from their skins.
Don't stare! Have you no manners?! They are shy. Poor things, all cold and naked.
Now for the tricky part. Find the seam of the almond. Slide a paring knife in and crack the almond in half. Set them aside to use at the end.
Bethmännchen is the name of this cookie. Maike and Nadia couldn't find a way to translate it. (Sometimes there just aren't the right words in our English language.) So, I've given them an alternative name: Worth the Wait cookies, because they take 50 minutes to bake! The dough - another marzipan based dough - is not pretty. It's a sticky mess, but pinch off small amounts and roll into balls.
A reserved egg yolk will make them shine. This cookie is the best dressed of the bunch. Use some water to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
Lather up the dough balls with the yolk.
Bring back the naked, halved almonds, and place three on top of each dough ball.
Very nice. Very nice.
These were my second favorite - tied for first place, next to the Almond Moons. What can I say, I dig on some almond cookies.

Bethmännchen/Worth the Wait Cookies
Blanch and peel almond skins from 500g. of whole almonds. Split in half.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Mix 200g. marzipan, 50g. powdered sugar, 1 egg white, 1 Tbsp. flour until combined and roll into balls the size of a tablespoon.
Glaze dough balls with a beaten egg yolk. Top with three almond halves.
Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 50 minutes.
I hope you have enjoyed our long day of cookie baking. Surprise your family and friends by baking something different for this upcoming holiday. A German cookie perhaps?

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