12/15/2019 02:56:00 PM

Hi everybody! Can you believe Christmas is only ten days away? Aaaaaah! The year's gone by so quickly. I'm super excited for Christmas this year, and Christmas activities are already in full swing here in my house!

Christmas Cookies
Christmas Cookies

I've been playing Christmas music on repeat (Gwen Stefani's Christmas album is my current fave), and our decorations are up. We've got the traditional Adventskranz, the Weihnachtspyramide, and good old Albert. (No plastic tree this year; over the past year Sandra's slowly taken over the living room corner with real life plants and there's no space for a Christmas tree anymore).

Adventskranz - Christmas Wreath
Adventskranz - Christmas Wreath 

Christmas gnome
Albert in the jungle


And we've been baking COOKIES! We had a couple of big weekends of baking, which was so much fun. I loved pulling out all of our German baking goodies - tins, cookie cutters, Vanillezucker, Backoblaten (wafer bases for biscuits), spice mixes and more. (We bought most of these things on our most recent trips to Germany). 

Christmas Cookie Collection

We started by baking Spekulatius, using a recipe that came with a wooden mould and packet of Spekulatius spice that we'd bought at a Christmas market last year in Germany. Unfortunately we couldn't get the mould to work, so we ended up just rolling them out and cutting shapes. It was still super fun! The Spekulatius, whilst smelling amazing, were more soft than crisp and were more like gingerbread rather than Spekulatius. Still tasty, but I'll probably try a new recipe next year!

Cut-out Cookies

Even better were thje Vanillekipferl and Nußmakronen - the almond shortbread crescents are my favourite Christmas cookie, and the hazelnut macaroons were super moist and fragrant. The recipe for the Vanillekipferl is here, and I'll share the Nußmakronen recipe shortly!

Christmas Cookies 2

The next weekend I also baked Elisen Lebkuchen - they're a super luxe version of Lebkuchen (German gingerbread), moist and rich, and full of ground almonds and hazelnuts, Lebkuchen spice and citrus peel. I had them for the first time last year in Germany at Christmas (bought at a Christmas market) and fell in love with them. They're actually surprisingly easy to make and I'll share the recipe soon too!

Elisen Lebkuchen
Elisen Lebkuchen

And I guess we're truly in the Christmas spirit, because even our regular meals are taking on a festive vibe. Check out this dinner that Sandra made - Frikadellen with potato gratin, peas, roast carrots and teeny-tiny cherry tomatoes.

Frikadellen, potato gratin, peas, carrots, gravy

We've also had a proper pre-Christmas meal with some girlfriends. I made a ham with crackling (CRACKLING!), which we served with red cabbage, and Serious Eats' incredible Hasselback potato gratin.

Coles ham with crackling (not sponsored, just bloody delicious)

I'd never seen ham with crackling here in Australia, but they've recently started selling one at Coles and I was super curious to try. (This is not sponsored in any way, I just wanted to try it and I bought it). For the love of God I wonder why no one here has done it before. They have Pragerschinken in Germany which is ham with crackling, but Germans don’t really get the concept of crackling like Anglo cultures do, and it tends to be an accident or an afterthought, not fetishised or prized. In my extensive experience eating pork in Germany, crackling is meh or a bit soft or chewy with SOME crackly bits. Lappisch (or soft) is how I’d often describe it.

Anyway, long story short, the crackling ham from Coles was incredible. I loved it! It crackled up nice and easy and the flavour was great. Would buy again.

Serious Eats Hasselback potato gratin

For dessert I decided to push the boat out and made a Mont Blanc. There are lots of different ways this classic dessert can be made, but I followed the concept of my beloved Angelina Mont Blanc - just crunchy meringue, vanilla whipped cream, and chestnut purée. (This incidentally meant it was also gluten free and suitable for my coeliac friend).

Mont Blanc

That's all we've done so far! On Christmas day we're doing a family dinner at my parents' house, and I still have to do a bit of gift shopping (eek). But we'll get there! I'm also super looking forward to having a little time off between Christmas and New Year, yay!

Over the next week I'll be sharing the recipes for Nußmakronen, Elisen Lebkuchen and the Mont Blanc.

What are you guys doing for Christmas? Any epic feasts plans? Time off with friends and family? Have you been baking cookies? I wanna knowwwww! 

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  1. Ooh I saw you make the mont blanc on your IG stories and I was wondering what it was for!



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.