Tag Archives: Recipes

Home for the Holidays Hop – German Holiday Cookies

The Romance Troupe
German Holiday Cookies: Spekulatius*

I’ve always been a huge fan of Spekulatius, German holiday cookies, but I’ve found the following recipe only last year — and it has already become one of my favourite holiday cookies! Not the least because this receipe is just perfect for cookie stamps. 🙂 (If you don’t have a cookie stamp, never fear: the cookies taste fantastic with or without stamped motif)

You will need:

  • 250 g / 9 oz plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g / 2 oz skinned and ground almonds
  • 100 g / 3,5 oz softened butter
  • 100 g / 3,5 oz brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • a pinch each of ground cloves, nutmeg, coriander, cardamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g / 2 oz flaked almonds

Mix the flour with the baking powder and the ground almonds. Cream together the butter with the sugar, the vanilla sugar, the spices, and the salt. Add the egg, mix together, then add the flour mixture and quickly mix in.

Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 200° C / 392° F (fan-assisted oven: 180° C / 356° F).

Line two baking trays with baking paper and sprinkle the flaked almonds onto the paper.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface about 4 mm thick. Cut in rectangles. OR run wild with your cookie stamp(s) and your cookie cutters. 🙂

Place the cookies onto the baking trays and bake for about 12 minutes until golden brown. Place the cookies onto a baking rack until cool, then store them in a pretty tin. (They developed their full taste only after a few days.)

Now you have the cookies, it’s time to grab a cup of tea (or coffee) (or hot cocoa) and snuggle up on your couch with a nice book! And since you’re warm and comfy, what could be better than a book partly set in the stark, bleak landscape of the wintry fenlands?

When BEWITCHED was first released, Kathe Robin from RT Book Reviews called the novel a “captivating tale of a spell gone wrong, a love potion gone right, deceit, revenge, black magic and redemption.”

Sweet passion …

After a magical mishap that turned her uncle’s house blue, Miss Amelia Bourne was stripped of her powers and sent to London in order to be introduced into polite society—and to find a suitable husband. Handsome, rakish Sebastian “Fox” Stapleton was all that and more. He was her true love. Wasn’t he?

… or the bitter taste of deceit?

At Rawdon Park, the country estate of the Stapletons, Amy began to wonder. Several inexplicable events suggested that one sip of bitter punch had changed her life forever—that this love, this lust, was nothing but an illusion. She and Fox were pawns in some mysterious game, and black magic had followed them out of Town. Without her powers, would she be strong enough to battle those dark forces and win? And would she be able to claim her heart’s true desire? Magic potion or no, what she felt for Fox was a spell that could never be broken.

~~~~~~~~~~

Do you have a favourite kind of holiday cookie or any other favourite holiday food?

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* The recipe is based on the Spekulatius recipe from the book Lieblings-Weihnachtsplätzchen by GU. The original recipe can be found online here.

Creamy Vanilla Pudding

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures, and by now me and teh kitteh have devoured all of the pudding. All I could show you is the empty bowl. Anybody wants to see a picture of an empty bowl? (Pink transferware, of course!)

  • 1 l milk (can be partly replaced by cream, according to taste)
  • 3 eggs (most recipes demand egg yolks, but I always use both yolks and whites — it works just as well, and I don’t have to throw away food)
  • 5-6 table spoons of sugar (or more, or less, according to taste)
  • 4 heaped table spoons of cornstarch/cornflour (more starch will result in a firmer pudding, but I like my pudding creamy, so there)
  • a few drops of vanilla essence (you can also use a vanilla pod, but I always have difficulties to get the black stuff out of the pod – inevitably I end up with vanilla and bits of vanilla pod; vanilla essence works just as well, especially if you replace some of the sugar with vanilla sugar)

Whisk eggs and sugar, add about 0,2 l of the milk, the cornstarch, and the vanilla essence, and whisk until smooth. Bring the rest of the milk to the boil, take the pot from the stove, pour the egg-mix into the milk and stir, stir, stir, stir.

And now we come to the tricky part, or rather, the part that takes a lot of patience: put the pot back onto the stove – on low heat! – and stir, stir, stir, stir, stir with a cooking spoon. (This is also a good time to check whether your pudding is sweet enough or not.) Stir, stir, stir, stir, until the mixture begins to thicken (which can take 15 minutes or more – cooking pudding is a good exercise in patience *g*).

It’s important that the mixture doesn’t boil because that will cause lumps to appear (and we don’t want lumps in our pudding!). If the worst happens, you can always pour the whole through a sieve into a clean bowl and quickly clean the pot before you put the pudding back into the pot and onto the stove.

If the pudding has thickened and gained a creamy texture (dip spoon into pudding, take spoon out, blow on the pudding-coated back – if a rose pattern appears, you’ve got the texture right), you can pour it into a clean bowl, cover with cling film (or skip this step if you like your pudding with skin on top) and let the pudding cool down. Eat warm or refridgerate and eat cold. Enjoy!