It is the last Sunday before Christmas, officially the 23rd of December. My husband is off looking for a Christmas tree and I am in the kitchen baking delicious desserts for our friends and ourselves for the holiday ahead.
Baking in Europe, especially in Germany, began as a rather tricky endeavor. However, as I have become more used to my oven and various ingredients, the task doesn’t seem so much like a task any more.
Some of the trickiest issues I’ve had is with translation, for example:
- Baking Soda = Natron
- Baking Powder = Backpulver
Another issue has been with conversion, as Americans tend to use Cups (C), Tablespoons (TBSP), Teaspoons (tsp), while Europeans tend to use weight, ounces (oz), milileters (mL), grams (g), etc.
Finally, the oven and well, general temperature is different. Americans are used to Fahrenheit (°F) and Europeans are used to Celcius (°C).
In 1993, my mother gave me a paperback version of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. This cookbook was originally published in 1896 under the name, The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. I’ve been given other excellent cookbooks over the years, especially from my mother. Yet there is something about this book – perhaps because it is so dense while being so compact at the same time. It has traveled to all the places I have traveled to, because it has proved itself to be so very handy.
Well, in my adventures in baking this Christmas I decided to make the following:
- Banana bread (as cupcakes)
- Banana bread with coconut (as cupcakes)
- Apple Crisp (as cupcakes and pie)
- Banana cookies with chocolate shards (can’t get chocolate chips here)
- Chocolate chip cookies (from the Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook)
- Peanut Butter Cookies (from the Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook)
- Flourless Chocolate Cake/Torte
It was a serious baking bonanza and a way for us to offer simple gifts to our guests that are coming over for dinner on Christmas day. The funny thing is that if you get down to business, baking this much doesn’t actually take that long. As soon as something is in its baking dish, the mixing bowl is washed and the next dessert is prepared and then ready for its turn in the oven.
Winter Sundays in Germany can be a bit dull, perhaps at least by general American standards. I have not left the house today, however these Sundays are perfect for baking, and blogging, and reading, etc.
I understand that I haven’t really attempted to conquer Deutsche Weinachten treats, which was my original plan this year. I do promise to attempt them in the future.
In the meantime I found this blog, Diary of a Mad Hausfrau, which looks pretty interesting. Here, she offers some recipes and culture, so much so that I might have to begin following her and be a little click happy on her blog! Maybe I’ll get to it all just in time for next Christmas!
Below are pictures of the reference section of my Fannie Farmer Cookbook that I use to reference while baking that might be handy if you too are an American cooking abroad: