Desserts

Aachen Printen Cookies

Aachen is beautiful this time of the year. The city is surrounded in a magic festive glow and it is not difficult at all to quickly catch the Christmas spirit. People smile while meeting in the street, families spend time together buying gifts and friends gather together cosily snugged in trendy cafes. Children gaze at the Christmas decorations full with wonder while choir singers sing Christmas carols in the cathedral market place.

Christmas is all around, but most so in the famous Printen coffee bar.

I have always dreamed of making at home the Aachen Printen Christmas cookies, and this Christmas the moment just feels right to give this magic recipe a go.

The flavours are divine, cinnamon, rum, orange peel, aniseed, coriander… Transformed in a perfect crispy cookie bite with a melting softness in the middle.

The recipe is indeed easy to follow. But as in every magic fairy tail even here there is a hidden spell to make this delicious enchantment work. A key ingredient, without which these beautiful cookies will turn out rock hard dry – the potash*. It is potassium carbonate, a chemical leavening which helps baked goods stay moist. It tastes really bad by itself, but when it’s baked into cookies the taste goes away. It is easily obtained in little packets in any German store, but should it be unavailable it could be substituted by baking soda.

 

Ingredients

  • 500 grams dark corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 10 grams potash (could be replaced with soda bicarbonate)
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 150 grams rock candy
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 60 grams candied orange peel
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons aniseed, ground
  • 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
  • 1 pinch cloves, ground
  • 600 grams flour
  • Some dark syrup and water

 

Method

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together syrup and water until hot. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

2. Dissolve the potash in the rum.

3. Break the rock candy into very small pieces.

4. Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and knead until dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and let dough rest for 5 days in a cool place. (When lacking patience, let the dough rest for one hour in the fridge).

5. Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease baking sheets. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut out Christmas stars or snowflake with cookie cutters. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes.

6. Allow to cool for one minute on baking sheet and then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Glaze the cookies with a mixture of one part syrup to one part water or decorate with icing sugar. When dry, store in tins at room temperature.

 

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