As it was the 1st of Advent yesterday, I thought it was fitting to bring you this post today. I am going to stick “Monday Reviews” on it’s head and show you a Christmassy CD, as well as share one of our Christmas Cookie recipes.
Advent is a very special time for us. In Austria (and Germany) it is a key part of the Christmas celebrations – whether you are religious or not. Many families have their Advent Kranz – a Christmas Wreath for the table with four candles, that you light on each of the 4 preceding Sundays to Christmas Eve. On these Sundays, the family come together for some coziness. Read stories, listen to music and indulge in Christmas Cookies. Well, we do!!! I am sure traditions vary from family to family! (btw, there is a lovely Advent “Kranz” that Mum At The Madhouse showed us how to make on Christmas Get Crafty).
Review: Snowflake CD & The Night Before Christmas
I was sent this CD for review earlier last week. I only bring you reviews of what I actually like. Well… and we like this CD. It has all the classics (Jingle Bells, Let it Snow, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer) as well as some more American Christmas songs (Frosty the Snowman, Santa’s Little Helpers). It is jolly, it is happy and well Christmassy, can’t say fairer than that. You may say it is slightly jazzier version of the favourites, but I am not a music expert, so not sure if that is a fair description. The Englishman seems to like it and he is usually the one to reject things. We played this CD whilst making our Christmas cookies and we played it again yesterday, when we decorated the living room and had our first nibble at said cookies. And it worked. I think it’s lovely.
We then also read this lovely traditional Christmas book look at the Night Before Christmas, which I reviewed here.I should really have found a book about Advent, but the one we had was at Opapa’s house and we read it yesterday. I thought it no harm to start talking “Christmas” now!
Recipe – Vanille Kipferl
I have chosen Vanille Kipferl first, as a) they are VERY Austrian and b) if I only make ONE sort of biscuit, it has to be these – my family would be very disappointed if I didn’t! They are surprisingly simple.
- 300g plain flour
- 215g unsalted butter (+ pinch of salt) or slightly salted butter
- 100g ground almonds
- 75g icing sugar
- (vanilla essence)**
- 150g icing sugar, 2 packets of vanilla sugar**
*as these are our FAVOURITE cookies, I make double quantities – i.e. use half the amount and you will still have a nice portion of cookies
**Ok, vanilla sugar is something you don’t necessarily get in the UK, so to replace this fact, you could add a couple of drops of essence or some real vanilla into the dough. It isn’t “quite” right, but you can’t have Vanille Kipferl without vanilla!!
Preheat oven to 140-160C
- Crumble butter & flour & salt
- Add almonds & sugar
- Knead to a dough
- Form little crescents (make a sausage with thinner ends and bend)
- Place in hot oven (140-160C) – bake until they JUST start to turn golden (prob 10-15min)
- Roll Kipferl still hot in icing sugar
I find the icing sugar gets “sticky” from the heat towards the last batch, so what I tend to do is split the icing sugar into two bowls, so that it’s nice and light and fresh for all the cookies.
So… What are YOUR Christmas Traditions?