Grandma teaches her grandchildren about the German Christmas tradition of making sweet biscuits.
Have you ever wondered about Christmas traditions in other countries?
Anna’s Grandma is from Germany. Every December Grandma invites Anna and her cousins to a ‘Biscuit Bake’.
“Why do we bake these little gingerbread biscuits, Grandma?”
Anna always enjoyed the ‘Biscuit Bake’.
“It’s an old tradition in Germany. We bake these rather special biscuits in December, and I love these old traditions. These biscuits tastes are the tastes, and delicious smells, of Christmas – vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nuts, oranges, honey and chocolate. It reminds me of my childhood Anna, and, it’s a good reason to get all my grandchildren together for a baking afternoon.”
Anna smiled around at her two other cousins, rolling out their cookie dough. They were listening, too.
Chris looked up. “I love the cinnamon stars. Especially the thick white frosting on the top.”
“I like gingerbread men best.” Daisy joined in. “You can have fun decorating them.”
Grandma smiled as she brought out her box of biscuit cutter shapes – stars, Christmas trees, bells, snowflakes, angels, gingerbread men and even stocking shapes.
“Yes, Christmas was very different when I was a little girl. Before we had the fancy Christmas tree decorations that we have today. The families in Germany often decorated their Christmas trees with the gingerbread stars, apples, nuts and little red candles. It was such a pretty sight – and over the Christmas days the children could take off the gingerbread stars and nibble them.”
“Apples, on a Christmas tree?” Chris laughed.
But Grandma explained. “After Christmas, we took the apples and nuts off the tree, too – and baked the apples in the hot kitchen oven, stuffed with the chopped nuts, honey and marzipan. That was something special. I loved those baked apples.”
The three children were wide-eyed. Grandma laughed and promised. “Yes, we’ll have baked apples with thick vanilla custard tomorrow…”
AND, they all decided to make extra biscuits. “I am going to put a little Christmas tree in my room and decorate it the old-fashioned German way. Gingerbread stars, apples and nuts. But, no candles, far too dangerous these days. We’ll find some old fairy lights, and I’ll help you. We used to paint the nuts with gold paint….” Grandma was enjoying herself, and the Christmas smells of baking biscuits was so delicious
Would you like to bake a Gingerbread star? Or even a gingerbread man? Ask a grown up to help you….Ingredients
150 grams of butter,
100 grams of brown sugar,
150 grams of golden syrup,
1 egg yolk,
2 and a half cups of flour,
1 teaspoon of mixed spice.
1 teaspoon of ground ginger,
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
And a tiny pinch of salt!
White icing sugar or white melted chocolate. You can also colour the white with natural food colouring!
Get your parents to heat the oven to 180°.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Use a mixer (with help) to mix the butter and sugar.
Then add the golden syrup and egg yolk, stir in the flour and the spices.
Now it should be mixed and ready to roll out and cut out the shapes…
The cookies need 8 to 10 minutes in the oven.
Cool them off – so that you can decorate the shapes when they are cool enough!
LET’S CHAT ABOUT THE STORY ~ IDEAS FOR TALKING WITH KIDS
1. How do you think baking Christmas biscuits could be considered a family tradition at Christmas time?
2. How do you celebrate Christmas? What traditions do you have in your family at Christmas time?