Tag Archives: Baking

Cookies & Memories

None of us could fathom why my Oma would spend the countless hours that she did making those cookies: The ones that had to be rolled out to paper thin-ness, the ones that were more nuts and butter than flour, the ones that no matter what you did the dough crumbled at the most feathery of touches. Always wondering why on earth you made a double batch of these things, but glad in the end that you did.

“You’re as bad as your grandmother!”

I’ve now had the mantle of Spitzbuben-perfection passed on to me. I roll the dough, paper thin, patching the cracks with a gentle push, stabbing dough over and over again with my Oma’s cookie cutters.  Cookie cutters that are probably older than my mother, but show the quality of their craftsmanship in that very age.

And I think to myself, all the while, that I don’t even remember ever making these cookies even once with her. They were the cookies that were made during the Silent Night. Which is it that stands? The memory of a perfect sandwich of butter, nuts, and raspberry jam or the memory of my Oma actually making them? And does it really even matter?

Whether it’s the cookie or the experience, it’s still my Oma. It’s still her hands that made each and everyone of the thousands upon thousands that she made during her life. It’s still her hands that molded the dough and held the cookie cutters. It’s still her hands that have molded us into who WE are.

My Oma was not one to tell you how much she loved you. She was German. She was born in 1931, at the beginning of Hitler and WWII; there was no room for emotion, but there was room for love. To her, growing up with so little, most likely hungry, to her, love was food. It was the food she made that showed her love: The more difficult, the more time consuming, the more fragile, the more love.

And you know what, that “You’re as bad as your grandmother”…. I take that as a compliment.

Cookies and Memories My Oma's Spitzbuben Cookie Recipe @JessicaMWhite.com

 

*And yes, you may need to add a touch more butter to the dough to get it just right.

The Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Here is the Best Irish Soda Bread recipe, from the Irish Heritage cookbook. I kind of consider myself an expert on soda bread. I’ve tried numerous different recipes, but this has been my favorite.

The Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe from @JessicaMWhite.com

The Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe

4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use coconut oil, you can also use butter…which is a lot better than vegetable oil)

1 cup golden raisins

1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)

Combine dry ingredients (including raisins and caraway seeds). Add in eggs, buttermilk, and oil: Stir until thoroughly mixed. Bake at 350* for 35-/+ minutes.

There are few ways to bake this bread:

1) You can either do it as a free form bread (meaning just pile it up on the center of a greased cookie sheet) and make one large (or two smaller), slightly flatter, loaves

2) Use a greased 9″ spring form pan….this will take longer to bake, closer to 50-60 minutes, but will give you a large, round, slightly higher loaf

3) Split the dough between 2-8″ layer cake pans and bake 30-40 minutes, this will give you 2 smaller but round loaves.

Enjoy!