I’d wanted to try my hand at brewing for a while, but was put off it by the (accurate) fear than ninety percent of the work was washing bottles and cleaning pots. Then, last winter, as a newly-minted father of a baby with an age measured in weeks, life consisted mainly of sterilizing bottles and not sleeping. I made an offhand comment to the effect that if I was going to spend so much time boiling glass I might as well make beer. Ariane gave me a starter kit, and a year later I’m about seventy liters in and think I have a reasonable clue what I’m doing.
Stollen, on the other hand, was the main course of most breakfasts around Christmas. This was a bit odd in Memphis, doubly so because we didn’t have any particularly German ancestors; Mom just saw the recipe in a magazine sometime in the late 70s or early 80s and decided to make a tradition out of it. So I was thrilled when I moved to Switzerland and found out you could buy stollen in the grocery store at Christmastime. Almost as thrilled as I was disappointed when I found out that “real” Stollen is basically a marzipan delivery system.
My old blog had a tag called “Royale mit Käse”, on the little differences between Switzerland and America. One of the bigger little differences is the sweetness of dessert.
My mom once sent me a care package full of Mrs. Fields cookies (“trans-fats are proof that there is a God, he loves us, and he wants us to be insanely fat”) with the approximate energy density of a neutron star; these would induce a temporary diabetic coma in the average Swiss person.
On the other hand, for dessert one night this weekend, we had something more traditional, which as near as I can tell was basically grits with extra gluten and a pinch of sugar. Two scoops of ice cream on top of that and I could barely taste it, which made it just about tolerable.
After a couple of years here, my palate’s definitely leaning somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Start-with-a-quarter-pound-of-butter recipes just don’t work any more. So without further ado I present my adjusted-for-Switzerland portable cookie recipe. This basically started as the average of a few American sugar-cookies-from-scratch recipes I found on the web, with the sugar and butter scaled way back.