I announced earlier that in honor of March Madness, I decided to create a dessert bracket with 16 styles of desserts. I’ve invited 16 great chefs to each take a category and make a recipe to enter into battle. I ranked the 16 based on my view of which was the favorite and like any bracket, the favorites are matched against the lower seeds. I won’t give you my seeding because I do not want to artificially impact your choices.
I will post a pairing each week on Wednesday and Thursday and open the polls for voting. The polls will be open from Thursday until the following Wednesday (before the next pair posts). The winner of each matchup with the most votes will move on to the next round and the chef will produce another recipe for their new matchup. The overall winner will receive any prizes I can acquire. To date the winner will receive:
- Dodo Book for Cooks
- A beautiful Bamboo Cutting Board with a Butterfly Motif, graciously donated by competitor Lindy (The Kozy Nook)
This week’s pairing is:
Cake (Non-Chocolate Varieties) vs. Cookies (Non-Chocolate)
Today we have Luis from The Chef Cat with a great German cookie…
Vanillekifpferl are traditional German Christmas Cookies. All Germans enjoy them and are in a tremendous rush making them along with other typical Christmas specialties such as
• Spekulatius (spice cookies)
• Lebkuchen (German style gingerbread)
• Zimtsterne (cinnamon cookies)
• Christstollen (German Christmas cake with raisins and almonds) • Nussplaetzchen (nut cookies)
I could be listing all other typical thing baked during Christmas in Germany and I guess I could easily fill a few pages.
Though Vanillekipferl are typical for Christmas their origin is not Christian at all. The first Vanillekipferl were created by the pagan population of the antique regions of Germania. They were created honouring of female pagan goddesses such as Freia or Frika. While the first Vanillekipferl would not feature vanilla , one of its main ingredients the early form were made in the same shape of a crescent.
While Christianity was expanding throughout Europe , catholic priest took advantage of the rituals among Vanillekipferl in order to convert the pagan population to Christianity.
While the pagan priest would leave a dish of the early Vanillekipferl on a holy oak tree for their goddesses (the so called “Wotaneiche”), Christian priest would nail a Christian cross or an image of the holy mother Mary to that tree convincing that the Vanillekipferl were a tribute to Christianity. Pagan people would perceive that as a wonder and convert easily to Christianity.
Throughout the time the recipe was passed among the Christians. It was in the year 1520 after the discovery of America when Hernan Cortes introduced vanilla in Europe . Vanilla before was only known to the Aztecs, who used vanilla a spice for their chocolate-drinks. With the introduction of vanilla into Europe, the traditional Vanillekipferl recipe was updated and included vanilla.
Nevertheless, Vanilla was a seldom and expensive aroma. A few hundrer years had to pass until Karl Ludwig Reimer, a German chemist, found a way to synthesise artificially vanilla-extract. With the upcoming mass- production of vanilla , the aroma of vanilla expanded into all types of baking and pastries and the definite Vanillekipferl recipe was consolidated.
Just for you to know the first Vanillekipferl recipe as we know it today , was featured 1911 in a cooking-book for housewives. Notwithstanding, every baker in Germany has his own special recipe.
Here I will feature mine.
Vanillekipferlluis (German Christmas Cookies)
• 250 g flour
• 200 g butter (it must be cold) • 2 egg yolks
• 75 g brown sugar
• 100g almonds
• 2 spoon vanilla extract
AND FOR LATER ON • Icing sugar