Sunday, December 2, 2007

German Cookie Bonanza

Two years ago, I started a new tradition in my life called Cookie Bonanza. On December 23, I spend the entire day in the kitchen, making about 6 to 8 varieties of cookies that I package and give as gifts for Christmas to my family. The third annual Cookie Bonanza will take place this year when I return, however, today I had some practice baking some holiday cookies with Philipp and Christina.

With American holiday music playing in the background (from a candy bar promotional cd called 'Merry Twix-mas'), little Ada playing on her own mini-kitchen, we went to work. Philipp immediately started making these jam sandwich cookies, and Christina suggested that the two of us bake American style chocolate chip cookies.

A note on German baking. They do not use measuring spoons. All ingredients are weighed on a scale. They do not really sell chocolate chips here (you can get them, but they are kind of expensive), so I chopped up chocolate into fine pieces. When I saw that the dough was a dark brown color, I told Christina that in the States, we had light brown sugar and dark brown sugar, and chocolate chip cookies had light brown sugar. She did not know of such variations. As I scooped the dough onto the cookie sheet, it was a hard claylike texture, nothing like the soft, gooey stuff you would normally get with this recipe.

I had to break it to them: These are not American chocolate chip cookies.

'But look here,' Christina protested, showing me the German cookbook, 'This recipe is from someone in America.'

It may be true, but perhaps they alter the recipe using ingredients readily available to Germans. Or this American woman has intentions to fool the German baking population.

Coming out the oven, they looked more like the original, and they tasted very good, so there was nothing to complain about really. I had like three of them. I just made a mental note that if Philipp and Christina ever visit me in the States, I would need to give them a taste of the real thing.

Philipp came up with the idea of sending Dan a care package but we decided that two weeks of holding on to cookies would be too long, so we came up with an alternative plan:

We were ambitious at first, hoping to make six different kinds of cookies. We only ended up with four, one made of dough and parmesian, was more of a savory than a sweet. Philipp suggested we go to a Christmas market--which is this big German traditional market where you can buy ornaments and holiday food and whatnot--but Christina and I were lazy and tired, our bellies filled with sugar, and so we did not go. We watched good ol Tartot instead. I contemplated decorating ideas for my new non-existent apartment instead of following the plot.

In Ada news, since my arrival, she continues to achieve. She has made about 6 small steps in a row. Her hair has grown. A new tooth has popped out overnight. And today she slipped and hit her mouth and blood squirted all over the place. Her first blood bath. And I was there.

This Ada sure likes opening drawers and taking things out of the drawers and throwing things that belong in drawers on the floor. Her means of communication--an arm outreached with an eh! eh! eh! sound--is quite effective in getting what she wants. I think she is still suspicious of me, and my English-speaking ways, but sometimes she will crawl to me, stand up, grasp on my leg and wobble to her heart's delight. I let her. Because she is nice. And her parents are okay, too. But they did not feed me dinner.

(They dared me to write that. I took that dare. Now everyone knows.)

Chocolate chip cookies? I don't think so! (But I will eat them anyway!)

Ada in her wooden crib.

One big happy cookie family.


Squeen said...

I like those cookies!

Yvonne said...

just a clarification: Christina says you can get chocolate chips in Germany but the chips are not of quality chocolate. Katrin, however, told me that they were expensive and not widely available, but I could be making it up. Don't believe everything you read.