Sunday, December 19, 2021

Advent (again) - Anja Dunk

The last Sunday of advent, and another two types of biscuit made after a day at work, I can't help myself but write about this book again. It'll make another appearance when I get round to doing a top ten list for the year, but you've probably already got a sense of how much I'm enjoying it. 

I've planned to try the German biscuit thing for a few years now without getting round to it, but whatever happens, it's firmly a part of my tradition now. I could probably squeeze in a few more bakes before the weekend, but having made the schnapps (brilliant) in quantity, 2 batches of Springerle, 2 types of lebkuchen, endless roasted cinnamon almonds, almond marzipan crescents, and hazelnut crescents I might have to stop now, however much I want to carry on.

I've learned a lot of things. The big one is that all this baking is easier to fit into a working day than I had imagined (definitely easier than mince pies, which I also love and haven't had enough of this year). Most of these need a resting time so it's a quick enough job to throw the ingredients together before bed to deal with in the morning, or even a few days later in the case of the Lebkuchen, or before work ready for when I get home - and then it's just a matter of rolling out or shaping the dough and baking it for around 10-12 minutes in most cases. 

Getting other people together to cut out the Springerle would be fun if I had more molds, and every biscuit I've made would be great to do with children, especially as the rewards come quickly from the oven. There are plenty of things that can be made vegan or gluten-free which are good options to have, and recipes like the almond marzipan crescents are perfect for using up Christmas cake leftovers.

Everybody who has tried them has loved the roasted almonds - they're a winning recipe if ever I found one, with the Schnapps coming in a close second. With time I'm sure I'll find other things in here which are as universally loved.

The most interesting thing for me though has been the Lebkuchen recipes and the Springerle. The ammonia for the Springerle didn't smell anything like as bad as I expected and they're not like anything else I've ever tasted - simple, but much more than the sum of their parts.

I hadn't really appreciated how many types of Lebkuchen there are either - and the half-dozen types here are not an exhaustive list. The two I made are distinctly different, and also different from the recipe I've used before. I made the effort to get hold of baker's potassium for these (not much of an effort, I ordered it via amazon marketplace and it arrived promptly a couple of days later) which was definitely worthwhile. The texture is lovely and I'm really happy with both types I made, which are distinctly different from each other both in ingredients and end results, even if they're obviously related.

Anyway, it's a book full of joy, and I'm going to miss baking from it for the next 11 months.

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