Of particular interest to me, is the way in which immigrant foods, like Christmas cookies have changed to adapt to American tastes/American kitchens.
Having spent considerable time baking heirloom family cookie recipes in the kitchen at Christmas with my family. I thought it would be interesting to compare my family recipes with how they now exist in modern Germany.
My great aunt Alice was often considered the “master of these recipes” and helped translate some of them from German at sometime. My hope is that I can accurately provide the recipes as Alice brought them to us, but also compare them to their German counterparts.
The first one I want to document is our family recipe for Zimtsterne or Cinnamon Stars, which are unlike any others I have had, and try to see where our recipe is different from those found in modern German cookbooks
|German Recipe (courtesy of Dr. Oetker)
|4 egg whites
1 1/2 C (300g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 C (180g) ground unblanched almonds
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 C (100g) powdered sugar
|3 egg whites
250 g powder sugar
400 g ground almonds with shell
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 packet Vanilla Sugar
3 drops Rum Extract
|In a small bowl let egg whites warm to room temp. With mixer at medium speed, beat/whisk until soft peaks. add granulated sugar 2 Tablespoons at a time, beating after each. Continue to beat until mixture is thick and glossy about 10min.
Combine almonds with cinnamon. Stir gently egg whites and almonds to combine. Refridgerate over night. Lightly sprinkle board w/ sugar & flour.
Roll out dough 1/2 in thick. Cut out Stars and place 1″ apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Let stand 2 hours @ room temp. uncovered.
In small bowl mix 2T Water with powdered sugar.
Bake 20 min. at 300 F.
Brush tops with sugar glaze and bake 5 min longer.
|Preheat the oven to 285 F
or 250 for convection.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Sift the powder sugar and gradually mix.
Save two well heaped tablespoons of egg whites for brushing the stars later on.
Carefully stir the vanilla sugar, rum extract, cinnamon and half of the almonds at the lowest setting. Fold into the egg whites.
Knead in enough of the remaining almonds so that the dough hardly sticks.
Sprinkle powder sugar on the work surface and roll out the dough about 1 cm thick. Cut out stars.
Place the stars on the baking sheet and brush with the egg white mix set aside. Bake for about 25 minutes.
The pastry must feel a little soft on the underside when removed.
Pull the cinnamon stars with the baking paper off the baking sheet and let them cool on a wire rack.
I think that what I find most interesting when comparing the two recipes is the how much more sugar is used in the American version, and the way in which the egg white icing is reduced to a sugar glaze in our family recipe. As well the rum aroma is completely missing!