Let’s all agree upfront that I’m a hypocrite so we can move on. Yes, I’m Jewish, and yes, I love, love, love Christmas!!! Not for the whole Jesus-the-Savior-was-born aspect, but more for the decorating-pretty-trees-and-buying-presents-and-eating-sweets-and-spending-time-with-family stuff.
So, what better way to secularly welcome Christmas cheer than by baking cookies!!! My friends Talley and Laura came with me to my mother-in-law’s house and we all baked totally-legit Swiss Christmas cookies. Obviously (since I only pretend I’m good at cooking and baking), while everyone else slaved over the hundreds of cookies we baked, I used the time to practice taking pictures with my new camera (as per my new birthday’s resolution that I mentioned in my last post). What, the cookies were done AND we have beautiful pictures. Both are equally important, right? Sort of? Anyway, I would say contributing as both the photographer AND the taste-tester more than accounts for my share of the work. They tasted as good as they look below… yummy!
My favorites are the Brunsli. Half brownie, half cookie, all deliciousness. In case you crazy kids out there want to try baking some of these cookies yourselves, I’m including the recipe. This is a new thing I’ll try to do more since a lot of you have asked me to share more specifics as I tackle my Hausfrau duties. I think it would actually be awesome if anyone was brave enough to try making this and then would send me pics of how it turned out!
Serves ~50 cookies (go big or go home!)
• 150 g (5 ounces) sugar
• 1 pinch of salt
• 250 g (9 ounces) ground almonds
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 pinch of powdered cloves
• 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
• 2 tablespoons of flour
• 2 fresh eggwhites (about 70 g or 2.5 ounces)
• 100 g (3.5 ounces) bitter chocolate
• 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of Kirsch
1. Mix sugar, salt, almonds, cinnamon, powdered cloves, cocoa powder and flour in a bowl.
2. Add eggwhites and stir until ingredients are evenly distributed.
3. Cut chocolate in really small pieces, pour hot water over the chocolate, then let rest for about 5 minutes. Pour off all water except about half a tablespoon, stir until even. Now immediately proceed with the next step.
4. Add melted chocolate from the previous step and the kirsch, knead to a soft dough.
5. Roll out dough on a flat surface (it may be slightly covered with sugar), approximately 10 mm (0.4 inches) thick. Put out different shapes and put them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
6. Let them rest overnight in a dry place. (the Swiss are darn serious about their cookies being utterly delicious, what can I say?).
7. Bake for about 4 to 6 minutes in the center of the pre-heated oven at 250 °C (480 °F).
8. Let cool completely before serving.
Still on the Christmas theme, Florian and I had kicked off the Christmas season a few weeks ago when we woke up early with excitement and bought our very first Christmas tree together!! You could tell it was our first time planning because, for no reason whatsoever, we went and bought a fake tree. Then when we got home, we realized that neither of actually wanted a crappy plastic one and we both wanted a real one! Oh well, crappy plastic will have to do this year because we were too lazy to go back out and buy a new one (BTW, I’ve realized laziness is a critical aspect of a happy marriage. Some call it compromise, I call it laziness to argue). Here’s our beautiful tree with the beautiful ladies of the household. Don’t judge, it was morning and I was in pajamas with no make-up on.
If you’re not in the Christmas mood by now, or I’ve bored you to death with my long blog, I’m positive watching this video clip will make you feel better and smile.