my Christmas bakery has opened and this year I didn’t only make the very traditional German Christmas biscuits such as Vanillekipferl and Lebkuchen but also, so to speak, a Scottish-German co-production: Insanely easy to make (also no special tools or cookie cutters required) and with its buttery, slightly spiced taste and melt-in-your-mouth texture it could really become a Christmas staple for us.
I proudly present: Speculoos Shortbread – crumbly, sweet and it just tastes like Christmas. Another bonus: you won’t need a cookie cutter to make them, just a large glass or tumbler, so they are just perfect for Christmas cookie newbies!
for about 40-50 pieces
- 600g flour
- 220g sugar
- 1 salt
- 2 tsp speculoos spice
- 350g soft butter
- 1 egg
- 30g brown sugar
In a big bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and speculoos spice. Add butter and egg and knead with hands until a smooth dough forms. Flatten the dough a bit, wrap it in cling foil and let it chill in the fridge for approx. 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200° C.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface approx. 1 cm thick. Dip a large glass of about 7 cm Ø in flour and cut out slices from the dough. Place these on a tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle thinly with brown sugar.
Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes, then take them out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. Now cut the biscuit circles into sixths – like when cutting a cake – and let cool completely.
Mmmmhh .. the scent! Here at the Zebra house, it is already Christmas time: From biscuits to the Christmas tree (including gifts below), everything is ready – now we some time to relax until Christmas and I hope you do too!
Stay sweet & HAPPY BAKING!
Did you put up your tree yet? Well, if you already decorated it you might want to make some space for these little cuties..
Christmas Ornaments made from Saltdough
I think it’s fair to say saltdough is somewhat outdated but it’s still a great resource for crafting and I like to use it for all occasions.. for example to make gorgeous ornaments for you christmas tree!
Youw will need:
- 90g flour
- 30g starch
- 110g salt
- 125ml water
- 1 tbsp oil
Mix all the ingredients and knead until a firm dough forms. Roll the dough out on a well floured surface and use cookie cutters to make the shapes (stars, circles, …). Don’t forget to make little holes to hang the ornaments after drying.
Heat up your oven to 165°F. Bake the saltdough for 1 hour. Increse the heat to 250°F and bake for another hour. Lastly set the oven to 300°F and bake for 1 hour.
Let your ornaments cool completely, then hang them on your tree!
You can make any shape you want and also paint the ornaments after baking but I really loved the natural look and they fit my christmas tree made of cherry branches perfectly!
By the way: I actually managed to only break two of my glass ornaments – this is a new record!
Enjoy the last days before christmas & HAPPY CRAFTING!
Let’s unwrap today’s surprise quickly… I have a feeling it’s in a hurry!
Christmas Card with Masking Tape
This way you make sure your Christmas Cards will arrive in time AND look beautiful! Those cards are super simple to make and it’ll be faster than saying “Masking-Tape-Christmas-Card”… Let’s go!
You will need:
- card board / blank card
- Masking Tape
How you make it:
I think the picture pretty much explains it all… You need to make to stripes that will get shorter towards the top and have roughly the same spacing. Then you connect the ends diagonally and use a little piece of tape on the bottom (as the tree trunk).
That’s all you need to do before you can start writing lovely messages to you friends and family. The only option faster than that is using storebought cards…
Have a relaxing 4th sunday of advent & HAPPY CRAFTING!
Still need a sweet gift for Christmas? This might solve you problems…
All kinds of sweets make a great gift for Christmas and usually I made a big batch of chocolates for my family – this year it’ll be something different but I can’t tell you yet because they might read this post. But it was always a favorite so why not start a new tradition in you family?
Today I’ll show you a very simple recipe – suitable even when you never made something like that before..
makes about 60
- 300g sugar
- 3 teaspoons of vanilla sugar
- 200ml cream
- 60ml orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange aroma
- 40g clarified butter / ghee
Mix all the ingredients in a big pot and start heating it up. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes on low heat and stir ocassionally. Then increase the heat to the highest level and boil for another 5-6 minutes to thicken the mix.
Let cool down for 10-15 minutes. Prepare a piping bag by sealing the tip with a clip. Then pour in the caramel mix and secure with another clip. It should look like that:
Now let it rest in the fridge for 15-20 minutes but check the consistency regularly – you want it to be pipeable not rockhard!
Then you can take out a sheet of baking paper and pipe little swirls of caramel. Let them dry completely, then pack them.
And now imagine dipping these in some dark chocolate…yummy! But they also taste great without chocolate and will definitely impress everyone!
Have a calm weekend & HAPPY COOKING!
Those days before christmas can be really stressful and crazy. So let’s take a break together and drink a cup of coffee – I even brought some cake with me:
In our home christmas time wouldn’t be the same without spice cake. This recipe is as yummy as the classic but with a modern twist. So bring on the chai, chocolate and honey & start baking!
- 250g butter
- 4 eggs
- 100g sugar
- 40g honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 250g flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 150g chilled semisweet chocolate
- 150ml + 2 tbsp strong chai tea
- 125g powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 360°F (fan-forced). Separate eggs, beat egg white until stiff. Whip up butter, egg yolks, sugar, honey and cinnamon. Mix and sift flour and baking powder. Grate chocolate. Add everything to the butter mix. Add tea and stirr well, then fold in the beaten egg whites.
Grease and flour a 30x40cm baking pan. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool completely. Mix powdered sugar and 2 tbsp of chai tea to make the icing. Drizzle onto the cooled cake. Let the icing dry, then cut the cake into little squares and serve!
Believe me, this cake will be gone in no time at all! What is your “Must-Bake” during the holiday season?
Take care & HAPPY BAKING!
There won’t be any pictures today but with I made a video instead… it was easier to explain in a video so I just tried it. I hope you guys will like it!
Mulled Wine Sunrise
The world needed a new christmas cocktail so I made one up. And it tastes great!
But first you have to prepare a Mulled Wine syrup:
Mulled Wine Syrup
makes 2 bottles (à 200ml)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 650ml storebought mulled wine
- 100ml grape juice
- 250g sugar
Halve the vanilla bean and put it together with all the other ingredients in a little pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until only half of the liquid is left (approx. 20 minutes). Remove the vanilla bean and pour the syrup into clean bottles.
When the syrup cooled down all you need to add is Orange juice, sparkling wine and ice cubes (I mixed my cocktail without because I forgot to freeze them but it’ll be easier to make with ice!).
And here’s how you mix it:
I guess I added a little bit too much of the syrup but basically it’s up to you how sweet you want to have your cocktail..
Did you like the video? Is that something I should keep doing in the future?
Lots of love & HAPPY COCKTAIL MIXING!
Happy 3rd Sunday of Advent!
Today there’s a super sweet and yumm surprise waiting for you… let have a look:
Hmmm… don’t they look gorgeous?
makes about 25
- 45g ground blanched almonds
- 80g powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons speculoos spice
- 1 egg white (à 36g)
- 10g sugar
- brown foodcoloring
- 50g melted milk chocolate
- 60g soft butter
- 50g powdered sugar
- 60ml cream
- 1-2 drops vanillaextract
- 1/2 teaspoon speculoos spice (or 1 tbsp of speculoos spread)
- 1 pinch of salt
Mix almonds and powdered sugar. Put the mix in a kitchen grinder and and grind until it’s very smooth. Add speculoos spice and set aside.
Beat the egg white for 10-20 seconds, then add the sugar and beat until it’s very stiff. Use the foodcoloring to dye the whipped egg white in a light brown shade. Now add one third of the almond mix and gently fold in. Repeat with the other 2 parts of the mix until you have a sticky, not too runny batter.
Prepare a sheet of baking paper. Fill batter into a disposeable piping bag, then cut off the tip and pipe little circles (about 2 cm ø) onto the paper. Let the macarons dry for 20 minutes, while you wait it’s time to preaheat the oven (320°F / 290° F when you use an fan-forced oven). Carefully pull the baking paper onto a baking tray and bake for 12-14 minutes. Pull the paper off the tray and onto a cold surfce and let the Macarons cool there.
To make the frosting you have to beat the butter for about a minute. Add the powdered sugar and the melted chocolate and beat for another 2 minutes. Then add the cream, vanilla extract, salt and speculoos spice and mix for one minute. Fill into a piping bag and pipe onto half of the macaron shells. Put on the top halves.
Something sweet for your tongue and your eye… this is such a perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday so close to Christmas.
Enjoy the day & HAPPY BAKING!
Another day, another cookie recipe – today I’m showing you more of a classic one:
Sour Cream Cookies
I know, I know.. it doesn’t sound like much but they definitely taste great! PLUS: They are easy to make with only a handful of ingredients!
Sour Cream Cookies
makes about 60 cookies
- 500g flour
- 300g sour cream
- 300g cold butter, cut in little cubes
- 2 egg yolks
- 200g coarse sugar
Put flour in a bowl and make a well. Add sour cream and butter and knead until you have a smooth ball of dough. Wrap with foil and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Prepare serveral baking trays with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Sprinkle your counter top with a little flour, then roll out the dough. Use a big round cookie (~ 6 cm) cutter to make circles and a smaller cookie cutter ( ~ 2 cm) to cut out little holes in the middle so you end up with rings. Mix the egg yolks with 2 tbsp of water. Brush the top of the cookies with the egg mix, dip them in the coarse sugar and put them on the baking tray. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely.
PS: I wasn’t a mistake that there’s no sugar in the dough itself. All the sweetness comes from the coarse sugar on top and that is enough.
Feel hugged & HAPPY BAKING!
Are you ready for some crafting? I hope so because that’s what we’re doing today:
Christmas Card with buttons
How about some christmas cards with gorgeous ornaments dangling from the top of the card? They look really nice yet are super easy to make. Do I have your attention now?
You will need:
- white cardboard / blank cards
- a mix of buttons
- hot glue gun
- fine, black marker
That’s how it’s done:
Either cut and fold the card board to make a card or just take the blank card.
Pick some buttons and arrange them on the card until you’re happy with it.
Glue the buttons to the card and let it dry for a minute or so.
Then all you need to do is draw fine lines from the top of the card to the buttons (don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect!) and add little bows above the buttons. If you want to you can also write a christmas greeting.
And that’s it – all done!
Bring you old buttons to new life and surprise your familiy with a homemade card this christmas!
Get creative & HAPPY CRAFTING!
I wish you a happy Monday!
To make the day (and the whole week) at least as sweet as you are I have a great recipe for you:
I loved them when I was growing up… I remember searching the whole box just to find the one letter that I needed to finish writing my name.
These are super crunchy and chocolatey and pretty easy to make.
Sounds awesome, right?
makes about 120
- 4 egg whites
- 1 pinch of salt
- 150g sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
- 150g flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Beat egg whites and salt until it starts to get stiff. Slowly add sugar and vanilla sugar and go on whipping until it’s really firm and the sugar dissolved (about 3 minutes). Mix flour, cocoa, cardamom and cinnamon, sift onto the egg white and fold in carefully.
Cover serveral baking trays with parchment paper. Spoon the batter into a plastic piping bag and cut off a little tip. Now pipe the letters and let it sit for 15 minutes.
While you wait it’s time to heat up the oven to 350°F.
Bake each tray at a time for about 10 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.
Now it’s your turn to make these and send lovely messages!
Stay sweet & HAPPY BAKING!