In Germany it is custom to celebrate Advent, which starts four Sundays before Christmas. This year the first of Advent was last Sunday. On the Sundays of Advent you have a special Kaffeklatsch with a wreath and, most important, Christmas cookies. The wreath has four candles and on every Sunday of Advent you light one more candle. Traditionally the Christmas Tree is set up very close to Christmas Eve and taken down after January 6th, which is the day of the Three Magi.
Many German women are very proud of their cookies. I remember every year there would be a fierce competition between my mother, her sisters and my Grandma who could bake the most different kinds of cookies. Often a family has its own favourites and “secret” recipes.
I am very lucky that most of my recipes come from my husband’s Grandma who was born in 1908 and a chef in Vienna, Austria. Who knows how old some of these recipes might be?
My new favourite this year is a coffee cookie. My Grandma used to make them when I was a kid, but I never got her recipe. I managed to find one in a magazine and with the help of Starbucks instant coffee they turned out really well.
a dash of salt
1/2 tsp Dr. Oetker Vanilla Sugar or 1/4 tsp Vanilla
2 pck or 1 Tbsp Starbuck’s Instant Coffee ( Italian Roast)
1 Tbsp Cocoa powder
75g ground semi-sweet chocolate
50g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
Beat butter and sugar, add vanilla, salt, coffee, cocoa powder and egg. Mix until well incorporated. In a different bowl mix flour, chocolate, almonds and baking powder. Add these to the butter mix. Let the dough rest in the fridge for about 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C
Shape the dough into small balls or use a small (2 tsp) ice-cream scoop and drop onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Let cool.
Decorate with melted chocolate and top with a whole almond, coffee bean or a coffee-flavoured chocolate bean.