Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Baking: Spitzbüben - My favorite cookies!

These are my favorite cookies. And a complete pain in the rear to make. I have only made them myself on rare occasion due to their aforementioned pain-in-the-rearness but my grandma makes them every year for the holidays. They taste like Christmas.

Spitzbüben are a traditional cookie that came from my family's German heritage, one of about 10 such recipes. I'm not exactly sure where in Germany the cookies come from, but I have seen them in the Bavaria region. See photo below of a Spitzbüben I bought at Galleria Kaufhof (a German department store) in München last summer. Yes I took a photo of this cookie a year ago. I routinely take photos of my food and me eating. It's a small personality quirk.

This is what my final product looked like:

1lb butter (yes pound!)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour

1-2 egg yokes
bread crumbs
powdered sugar
jam (strawberry, grape, apricot, or other)

Combine butter, sugar, vanilla and flour to make dough. Mix with an electric mixer and if necessary kneed together with your hands. It will make a very sticky dough.

Roll out and cut into cookie shapes. Use ample flour on the rolling surface and rolling pin because the dough will stick to everything! The traditional shape for these cookies is a diamond but it's very difficult to find a diamond cookie cutter. Whatever shape you choose, try to avoid lots of points (ie Christmas tree cookie cutters are a bad idea), circles are probably the easiest. A metal cookie cutter, rather than plastic, because they make a cleaner cut and this dough is very difficult to work with.

Arrange the cookies on a greased cookie sheet, brush lightly with egg yoke and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Grandma uses real bread crumbs - mine came from a can. Bake the cookies for 10 min at 375 degrees.

The cookies are very fragile when warm so let them cool well before moving them off the cookie sheet. Spread cooled cookies with your desired flavor of jam. I like strawberry, my sister gets mad because I always eat all the strawberry ones. Coat lightly with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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