Friday, 7 December 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

and Christmas around here means Spritzgeback! German christmas biscuits. Last year Bertie's parents were with about now, and my MIL taught me how to make them. So last weekend at our place it was all hands on deck.

I wont reproduce the recipe here, because, as you will see, there is some specialist equipment involved, and I'd never heard of this particular use before so Im not how widespread it is. (of course I can add it if you roolly want).

Spritzgeback are basically a shortbready biscuit - butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, eggs, touch of milk. The dough is made the day before it's baked, and stands overnight somewhere cool (yes, clearly a northern hemisphere recipe).

Then you give it a good mix and start cranking out the biscuits.

Pirate Jim was very keen to help this year. Note the concentration manifesting in the poked out tongue.

As you can see, the traditional method is to use a hand-turned mincer, with a special form on the front, to squish the dough out into the right shape. We've tried rolling out the leftovers and using a biscuit cutter, but sadly it doesnt work.
You can see it a bit better here:

That long flat bit to the side is a series of different shaped holes that that give you different shaped biscuits as the dough gets forced through.

You get a long snake of formed dough, that is then cut into short lengths before baking.

After about 15 minutes in a moderate oven, they come out all nice and lightly browned.

And becasue there are very few things in thie world that arent improved by the addition of chocolate, you can then paint one end. Very traditional, Im assured.

And then, the pay-off: enjoying them with a cup of tea!

Unfortunately, despite making two batches already, I'm going to have to go back in and make another couple. It seems Santa has been sampling the goodies at our place already.

p.s. if you're up for some more European Christmas baking, Kuka's been making some yummy treats over her way too.


Bells said...

oh what fun! and how lovely to end it all with a tea party!

How does PJ feel about being a blog superstar?

they look really, really good. Any you can't get rid of are most welcome at afternoon tea!

Michelle said...

My (Dutch) Oma used to make something like these - I remember them being almost fizzy on the tongue and very light.

You always need a nice cup of tea to go with continental baked goods. Smart PJ.

Alwen said...

Those look yummy! Strangely, now I can smell chocolate -- where is that smell coming from?

Em said...

Those look delicious! It's great that Pirate Jim got to help, and I love the striped pirate shirt he's got on in the last picture.

Around these parts we make rogaliki (i think that's how it's spelled), which we refer to as Polish butter horns. They are the Christmas cookie most likely to be sampled by Santa when nobody is looking.

MadMad said...

Would a regular cookie press thingy work? Cuz I got one of those. Of course, those look good enough that I'd go invest in a meat grinder...

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

Hi Georgie

I got up off my sick bed to keep myself from being too bored, turn on the computer, decide on one blog to read and what do I find.

I grew up with a British father and a mother who grew up with a British mother. Every Christmas we made Spritz cookies using a cookie press. The process of making them sounds very much the same. DH bought me a cookie press and I continue the tradition with my kids.

Oh dear, I'm already done for...back to bed for me!

Kuka said...

Aaaah what a cutie!!!!!
And those biscuits look delish =)

Donna Lee said...

I love baking Christmas cookies but won't start until next week. If I bake them now, they will all get eated before Christmas. We have a few that "it wouldn't be christmas without" and each year we try a new one. It's great to indulge.

TinkingBell said...

I've got a recipe for spice cookies which makes zillions is freezable, makes the house smell like santas cavern (in a good way) and kids love - You want?
And did I send you the magic 'Cookies' email with all the recipes when you click on the names? I have now no memory of who I sent it too - because someone stole my November - again!

Rose Red said...

Love PJ's t-shirt in the last photo!! Most excellent!

My mother has one of those mincers - I have many happy memories of mincing the cold leftover lamb roast for shepherd's pie - but have never heard of using it for biscuits!! They look fab!

Ruby Girl said...

Yummy, they look great. I haven't even thought about christmas cooking yet.