Fever what? You all may ask… guetzli… guetzli is a typical swiss-german word, one of the very few which I learned very quickly – guetzli means simply a cookie. Now it’s the time of year when my hands are getting itchy for baking and in Switzerland it was the time when everyone was baking Wiienachtsguetzli, so Christmas cookies. That’s the typical germanic tradition, which I truely adore. My ex-mother-in-law used to bake fantastic cookies, which I always envied her green, all tiny, all perfect and I wanted to bake like her. It is obvious that since I left Switzerland because of the break of my marriage I didn’t have heart to bake guetzli, but this year… somehow my hands started to itch to do it again. Don’t know why… maybe because my divorce is almost official (still waiting for final court decision) or maybe because last time I was in Switzerland I brought with me mostly happy memories.
Since I’m in Poland I decided that I need to combine the two traditions and decided to bake some gingerbreads for starters. I found that recipe long time ago in the my mom’s old cook book. The book is called “Dobra Kuchnia” (“Good Kitchen”) and was published in 1975, so quite a few years before I was even planned 😉 It’s worn out, has many tears, but is still a great source of simple and classical dishes from traditional Polish cusine. The recipe for gingerbreads is straight forward, plus it’s fatless what I only consider a plus. The cookies come soft with just a little bit of crunch.
One can’t start baking gingerbreads without a proper spice mix. I know that you can buy those everywhere. Depending where you live it will differ – there will be more cinnamon or less, more ginger or more anis. But here’s the secret of good Polish gingerbreads – a spice mix done at home:
Gingerbread Spice Mix
(for at least two cakes or loads of cookies)
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 tb spoon ginger
1tb spoon cloves
1tb spoon pepper
1tb spoon groundmeg
1 tb spoon mustard seeds
1tea spoon juniper
1 tea spoon pimento
blitz everything in the coffee mill – until nice and smooth. Store in the spice jar 🙂
(for at least 4 dozens)
2 tea spoonfulls gingerbread spice mix
10g baking soda
In a pot melt down the honey, sugar and spices, let cook for a while until brownish. Set aside to cool down, because believe me you don’t want to work with a hot caramel like dough with your barehands – it does hurt! When the liquid had cooled, mix it quickly with flour, baking soda and eggs. Kned well the dough. You may need to flour the board quite a lot, but don’t worry. When dough is nice and shiny, wrap it in plastic foil and put to the fridge for about 10 min. After that roll out the dough (divide it into 3 equal parts), and cut the cookies of your fancy. Collect the rest, kned together and cut some more cookies. Place the gingerbreads on baking trays lined with baking paper and bake in 200C for about 10 minutes.
The second kind of cookies just came to me as I was melting the honey for the gingerbreads. I started to think about chocolate and coffee and decided that’s what one really need on a snowy and cold day.
(for about 5 dozens)
100g soft butter
4 tb spoonfulls sugar
4 tea spoons hot chocolate powder
2 tea spoons grounded coffee
1 small cup coffee
2 tea spoons baking soda
200g dark chocolate chopped
Beat together eggs, butter and sugar, add chocolate powder and coffee beat in, add flour and baking soda beat in, then add espresso and mix everything well. Add chopped chocolate and stir everything once again. With a tea spoon place the portion of a dough on the tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-15 mins on 200C
Now the third kind. We call them “Kokosanki” and those are “Coconut Cookies”. Aren’t they everyone’s favourite? Light and tasty, bring back the cozy memories of summer. Mine are a little bit crunchy from the outside and soft in the inside. Plus they look like tiny snow balls 🙂
(for about 2 dozens)
2 egg whites
1 tea spoon baking soda
1 tea spoon almond sugar (any almond oil would do as well, but then just few drops)
200g coconut shredded
Beat the egg whites until they are firm and don’t want to drop out from the dish. Add slowly sugar and keep on beating. Add flour, baking soda and almond sugar and beat in well. Add the coconut and mix well. With a spoon form small portions and place on the baking trays (lined with baking paper). Bake on about 160-170C for about 10-12 mins.
Now you are ready to store your cookies. Mine were dived into few groups – some were packed for Santa’s Day Pressies (my coworkers are getting them), some were packed for Historian, and the rest was packed in cans. Not sure if they keep till Christmas though, as Dad keeps on checking how are the cookies… meaning, so there will be none left 🙂
Here we are! Nice stocked for advent’s days 🙂 Aren’t the cookie cans cute? We collect them and have a nice amount already. My favourite can was left in Switzerland though, pity as it was vintage Harrods Cookie Can… le sigh… anyway…. and here:
this one is ready to travel. It will end up in a Christmas parcel I’m getting ready for my best friend and fellow foodie. I bet you know who you are, so as promissed… you will get your cookies Big Guy 😉
So… are you guys ready to bake? I feel like I want to bake the December away….