Posted by: Erica Retrochef | November 28, 2008

Gebäckenes

I have a confession: I’m in love. With my mixer. Of course, it doesn’t do the dishes or mow the lawn, so I have to explore my polyandry options.

I know, I know. Man-woman-mixer relationships are ruining the foundation of our society. I just can’t help myself. I have never been so happy that I was unable to repair something as I was when I couldn’t get my old mixer apart to clean out the Election Cake batter, and was forced to buy an upgrade.

When it came home from the store with us, I started looking around for something to make. At RecipeCurio.com, I found Beatrice Cooke’s Gebackenes. Sugar cookies that had to be rolled and cut out (thus entertaining Daughter), with a strange and ridiculous name… win-win!

Beatrice Cooke's Gebackenes Recipe

I thought Gebackenes would be some traditional German-ish cookie. However, a Google search for “gebackenes” turns up this recipe, and lots of recipes for Gebackenes Euter — Fried Cow’s Udder… rather disturbing, although Euter was clearly the Udder part of the name and so Gebackenes must mean something like fried. Or fried cow.

According to my good friend from Berlin, Gebäck means pastry, and Gebäckenes is nothing. At best, the name of Beatrice Cooke’s recipe is “Bakes”, or not actually a German word but from a different language. Considering Beatrice is as fictional a home economist as Betty Crocker, it’s not surprising she was rather bad at naming things.

GEBACKENES
1 cup Meadow Gold Butter
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 Meadow Gold Eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Meadow Gold Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Meadow Gold Egg Yolks, beaten
Colored sugar or chopped nuts

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs, cream and vanilla. Add sifted dry ingredients gradually, mixing well after each addition. Chill dough for several hours. Roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with various shaped cooky cutters. Place on ungreased cooky sheet; brush with egg yolks; sprinkle with colored sugar or chopped nuts. Bake at 400° or 8-10 minutes. Makes 12 dozen cookies.

My beloved new mixer made quick work of the dough. Mmmm, sticky!

My mixer makes batter!

They aren’t kidding about needing to “chill dough for several hours”. At room temperature, it simply sticks to the rolling pin and everything else in sight. When rolled to an eighth of an inch, it creates flimsy little shapes that will fall apart unless they’ve been on a heavily floured surface.

Little Rolling Pin

Daughter got to use her miniature rolling pin for the first time, then she got to pick which cookie cutters we used. (These were both also purchased from Linens ‘n’ Things closing sale. I am apparently a sucker for stupid little baking gadgets if they are 30% off.)

Cookie Cutters!

After a yolk wash and a sugar sprinkling, they baked. And, being incredibly thin, they got a little burned in places, but that’s to be expected.

Putting cookies into oven

Burnt Cookies! Ack!

As strangely-named holiday cookies go, Gebäckenes aren’t half bad. But I really prefer cookies that you can simply drop onto a sheet and bake. The chilling, rolling, cutting out, and decorating is loads of fun for kids, and can have pretty results. But flavorwise, they’re never terribly exciting. The flour/sugar/butter ratio needed to get a good rolling dough detracts from the taste. It’s not even much fun eating the leftover scraps afterwards.

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Responses

  1. 1/8″ thickness doesn’t seem right does it?

    I don’t bake much, but when I do… I use a turquoise mixer from the 60’s. It’s heavy and so much more powerful than the modern disposable hand mixers.

    Lovin’ that purple rolling pin.

  2. I’m glad you’re enjoying the new machine. I think the mistake in this recipe here is the decorating before the baking. There is no way that egg wash and sugar are as tasty as good icing or a nice buttercream schmear, as is customary on Christmas sugar cookies.

    If you used the recipe as just a basic sugar cookie recipe, it would be OK (although improved by the use of sour cream instead of heavy cream!)

  3. I questioned the 1/8″ as well, but when we got them truly uniformly of that thickness, they came out fine. Even so, as a basic Christmas cookie recipe, this didn’t compare to my grandmother’s, which I’ve been making all my life.

  4. Oh my gosh! These are one of my favorite cookies that my mother used to make. I have almost the same recipe but a teas. of vanilla and teas. of brandy are added to the cream sugar/butter mix. You have to watch them pretty carefully but I’m usually successful with the thinness. Definately, egg wash (add 1-2 tbs. water), green or red colored sugar with a walnut piece on each one!

  5. I imagine they would definitely be more interesting with a bit of vanilla and brandy 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to comment, the walnut is a neat addition as well.

  6. My family have had these every Christmas since my mom found the recipe in a newspaper, circa late 1940s. Heavy Cream and brandy are definitely the way to go. Really sets them apart from any other “sugar” cookie – not even in the same class!

    I roll mine about 3/8″ instead of the 1/8″ called for and only bake until the edges are browned. And ALWAYS with the egg yolk wash and decorations (sugars, sprinkles, nuts, cinnamon buttons, silver shot, anything goes!) put on before you bake. We had a blast decorating them and some of them ended up being more decoration than cookie! What fun we had.

    My sister and I both have our handwritten copies from mom, but I recently found her original newspaper recipe in one of her cookbooks! I am delighted! It is butter stained with bits of dough or sugar crusted on it – probably both. What fond memories finding that recipe brought to me.

    I have passed the tradition on to my daughter, and Christmas isn’t Christmas without Gebecknes (as we call them)!


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