April 14, 2013

15*52 Amerikaner (aka Black & White Cookies)

My grandma gave me two of her cookbooks recently.

One into which she wrote the recipes herself. Very cool and I'm so glad to have this. But it's really hard to read/decipher.
The second one is a baking book classic that probably every household in Germany owns: Backen macht Freude (Baking brings Joy) by Dr. Oetker. Unfortunately, there is no publishing year in the book but I assume that it is from the 50s or 60s.

Looking through the book, I decided to make 'Amerikaner' (Americans). 
It's a classic that I haven't had in a loooong time (I'm actually gonna have to check if bakeries still sell it. If they do, not as much as they used to, that's for sure). 
In the States, Amerikaner are known as Black & White Cookies. It's funny, isn't it? And while making the dough I was wondering if the German term for it is actually politically inspired :)

Amerikaner (Black & White Cookies)

Makes 10 bigger ones or up to 20 small ones

100 g butter, room temperature
100 g sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 eggs
pintch of salt
1 sachet pudding powder with almond flavor (or 40 g cornstarch and a few drops of bitter almond oil/extract)
3 tablespoons milk
250 g flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

100 g powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
  • Beat butter until creamy. One after the other, add sugar, vanilla (sugar), eggs, salt, and pudding powder (dissolved in the milk). Add flour and baking powder. The dough should be very firm.
  • Using 2 tablespoons, make heaps onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on size), brushing them with a bit of milk after the first 7-10 minutes. Let cool slightly. 
  • Prepare both glazes by equally dividing the powdered sugar between two bowls, adding the cocoa powder to one half, and stirring in 1-2 tablespoons of water into each bowl. The glaze shouldn't be too runny, so be careful with the water and add only little at a time. Glaze the bottoms of those Americans with one glaze after the other.

My modifications:

The taste:
Not like I remember an 'Amerikaner' but good. Nothing spectacular but nice as a little something to snack on. They are not really cookie-like nor really cake-like. Hard to explain - guess you'll have to try for yourselves...

Have your grandmas, moms, or anybody else passed cookbooks along to you? 
If so, do you use them a lot? Which is your favorite recipe?

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