Plätzchen Baken! Freshly-Baked Cookies To celebrate Christmas

This was something that I’ve learnt to bake in Dresden, Germany – a course that was held for $6 per student for those studying German at the Goethe-Institut. Another purpose of this course was to have students bake enough cookies for the upcoming Christmas party (though we were not paid for getting ourselves involved in the mass production).

My course mates and I had fun cutting the cookies into many different forms that were not already available from the cookie-cutters, and most of us were challenged to come up with unique designs while trying to decorate the cookies with the many decorative condiments available.

Ingredients: (Gingerbread)

  • Honey: 250g
  • Sugar: 100g
  • Butter: 125g, sliced
  • White flour: 500g, sifted
  • Baking powder: 1 tbsp
  • Gingerbread spice: 1 small packet (available in bakery stores)
  • Cocoa: 1 tbsp
  • Egg: 1

Method:

  1. Place honey, sugar & butter in a saucepan and heat till mixture boils.
  2. Pass the mixture through a filter. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, spice and cocoa into the cooled mixture. Mix.
  4. Add egg to mixture and whip till a smooth dough forms.
  5. Wrap dough in cling wrap and let stand in fridge for 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven at 180 degrees. Lay baking tray with baking paper.
  7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface till 5mm thick.
  8. Cut the dough with cookie-cutters of all shapes & sizes.
  9. Bake cookies for 12-15 min till bright yellow.

Below is a simpler, buttery version of the Plätzchen, without the ginger spice, though my preference lays with the above, what with the spices creating an extraordinary nice fragrant when the gingerbread cookies are done.

Ingredients: (Shortbread Cookies)

  • Butter: 200g, sliced
  • Powdered sugar: 100g, sifted
  • Salt: 1 pinch
  • Egg: 1
  • Flour: 300g, sifted

Method:

  1. Place in a mixing bowl with sugar, salt, egg and flour.
  2. Knead the mixture until a smooth dough forms.
  3. Wrap dough in cling wrap and let stand in fridge for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven at 180 degrees. Lay baking tray with baking paper.
  5. Roll out the dough till 5mm thick on a floured surface.
  6. Cut the dough using cookie-cutters of all shapes & sizes.
  7. Bake cookies for 10-12 min till bright yellow.

Tricks:

  • Decorate the cookies!
  • The trick to this is NOT to bake too many cookies, because one runs out of ideas easily after, say, 10 cookies.
  • Use the following to decorate the cookies (the list is not exhaustive):
    • Melted chocolate/vanilla chocolate
    • Chocolate/coloured sprinkles
    • Edible glitters (which come in tubes of different colours)

Rolling out the dough

Plätzchen

Finally, the fruits of labour of the 5 cookie monsters, as below. My personal favourite: the ‘hearty-bear’ right at the left of the top first photo. It looks like a bear, but it’s supposed to be Santa-Claus. Hmm… Well, that was my first creation actually, and it remained my one and only best creation.

The mass production

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