Monday, December 08, 2008

the wonders of chocolate

We´ll, the old guy came through with the chocolate and I'm feeling sooo much better.

Here's our dear St. Nick courtesy of Boy12 and lots of scotch tape

This is part of a classic poem for St. Nicholas Day, or Nikolaustag as it's called in German. It's recited by Knecht Ruprecht who carries the sack of gifts for Nicholas.

Von draußen, vom Walde komm ich her;
ich muß euch sagen, es weihnachtet sehr!
Überall auf den Tannenspitzen
sah ich goldene Lichtlein blitzen,
und droben aus dem Himmelstor
sah mit großen Augen das Christkind hervor

(I come from out there, from the forest
And I have to tell you
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
I saw tiny golden lights
Twinkling on the tips of the fir branches,
And over at heaven's gate
the Christ Child peered out with huge eyes.)

The rest is here, if you'd like to read it.

We dutifully hung up our stockings, quite an eclectic mix of colours and patterns. We don't do matchy-matchy around here.

Mine is on the top left. My mother made it for me when I was about 13, I think. I whipped up Mr. M's during our first Christmas holiday in Canada pre kids. Boy15's on the lower right was also made by my mother when he was a baby and I created Boy12's when he was just a little guy with a thing for trucks.

The kids got lots of goodies and a present or two and Mr. M will be enjoying his favourites, chocolates filled with Eierlikör.

As far as we're concerned, he can have those all to himself! Scary stuff.

Check out my loot

Milk chocolate with raspberries and coconut, bittersweet with ginger and bittersweet with slivered almonds and sea salt. I'm actually a plain chocolate girl at heart, but I'll try anything once and I'm sure these won't last long.

The boys also picked out a Christmasy plant to brighten the place up

And what's Nikolaustag without cookies?

We left a few out for Nikolaus on Friday night in case he got hungry on his journey and the rest were devoured the next day.

This isn't my usual sugar cookie recipe, but I love how it tastes like eggnog when there is no eggnog to be had (don't want to risk making my own with the dodgy German eggs!). The combination of rum extract, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla is lovely and I suppose you could use any cookie recipe you wanted and substitute those flavourings.

Eggnog Sugar Cookies (Canadian Living Magazine, December 1999)

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp rum extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp each baking powder and ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. Beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and rum extract. Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt; with wooden spoon stir into butter mixture in 3 additions. Divide dough in half; flatten each half lightly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or until chilled (Make ahead: refrigerate for up to one day.)

2. On lightly floured surface, roll out each half of dough to 1/4 in. (5mm thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined or greased rimless baking sheets.

3. Bake in top and bottom thirds of 375°F (190°C) oven rotating and switching pans half way through, for about 10 minutes or until golden on bottom and edges. Let cool for one minute on sheet. Transfer to racks and let cool completely. Decorate with icing as desired. Makes about 30 cookies.

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At December 09, 2008 12:03 a.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

You had me at the title, Christina! And YOUR loot is right up my alley! :)

At December 09, 2008 2:21 a.m., Blogger Rositta said...

Ah Christina, the little poem brought tears to my eyes. My mom used to tell it to me as a child. Nice cookies, I'll try them...ciao

At December 09, 2008 4:18 a.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Oh yes - now you are making my heart melt!!! I love the cookies the most only because I know those are much harder to come by than my preoccupation for chocolate (I know where to get that) hehe..

What great photos. Now please send me some cookies!!! Maybe I can make them for Christmas.

At December 09, 2008 9:22 a.m., Blogger Blogging Mama said...

Lovely as always. I may just have to try out that recipe!

At December 09, 2008 8:12 p.m., Anonymous Anna said...

As always the pictures are outstanding. Going to try the Eggnog Sugar Cookies so that I can send them to my son in Iraq for Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

At December 09, 2008 8:53 p.m., Blogger Mar said...

Ahhh, such a festive post and great pictures!! Having a twen has changed our Xmas perspective ::sigh::

At December 10, 2008 12:59 a.m., Blogger Maribeth said...

Well just reading that post made me gain weight. There goes my hopes of hitting goal at WW this week!
Those cookies look positively beautiful!

At December 10, 2008 9:20 a.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Isn't great how chocolate is the ultimate cure for just about anything? Well, ok. Noe anything, but it sure make one feel better :) The cookies look delicious!

At December 10, 2008 4:32 p.m., Blogger hexe said...

I'll have to try your spin on sugar cookies, but I agree that chocolate is a girl's best friend.

At December 10, 2008 5:02 p.m., Blogger swenglishexpat said...

Looks like you are all set up then. I'm with you on the chocolate!

At December 11, 2008 5:51 a.m., Blogger Angie said...

Glad you're feeling better! I had a terrible cold last week, too. Three boxes of tissue and a bag of cough drops later, I'm on the road to recovery. Strangely enough, Christmas cookies helped me, too. ;) Your decorations are beautiful as always!

At December 12, 2008 10:11 a.m., Blogger Any middle-aged German Witch in Amerika, said...

I am soooooo jealous! You have Eierlikoerpralinen, with milk chocolate! I want them too!!

Unfortunately, I am living in Amerika now, and they have never heard of Eierlikoer, of course, let alone how to make good chocolate...

Their leading brand here (Hershey's) tastes like east german Schlager Suesstafel 1988... I am not making this up! I had one once, I tasted it, so I know!

Good they import Lindt and Milka here, even Rtter Sort was spotted. O course all came on a plane, and therefore one has to pay for the plane ticket, it seems (very expensive).

My american husband just bought eggnogg for himself. I am disgusted by that, I am afraid. I want Eierlikoer. Not eggnogg.

Well, it seems we are living in similar circumstances, you and I, just the other way around. And no, I don't want to trade. Living in Germany in the current economic situation? Not a good idea, I believe.

But then, you can see Juergen Drews! There it comes again: the envy!

At December 12, 2008 4:20 p.m., Blogger Diane Mandy said...

I'm not much of a baker, but that recipe looks so good. I might have to try!

At December 12, 2008 7:05 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

by the way... forecast is calling for snow! Arctic chills coming our way.

At December 18, 2008 12:01 p.m., Anonymous honeypiehorse said...

Those cookies sound yummy, I passed the recipe along to G in Berlin because she was looking for a moist sugar cookie. What beautiful pictures!

At December 23, 2008 10:57 a.m., Blogger Hillside Garden said...

Christina, dir und deiner Familie ein frohes Fest!
Bei mir gibts keine Schokolade - die Hüften, du weißt!



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