Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bavarian Sugar Cookies

bavarian sugar cookies
I know, I know, it seems a little cheesy to be making heart-shaped cookies around Valentine's Day. But I can assure you that I made these without even the slightest thought about Valentine's Day. The only thing that inspired these was the fact that they were featured in the movie Stranger Than Fiction, and ever since watching that movie a while back I've been fixated on recreating those cookies for myself. Those of you who have watched the movie will know that I'm referring to this scene: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moL_fMkjSJk). I found that scene, and the movie in general, to be extremely cute and surprisingly charming, which is rare for most romantic comedies these days. And ever since, I've wanted to try a Bavarian Sugar Cookie. The same way I was obsessed with pink lemonade thanks to The Sound of Music.
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A quick Google search led to a fair amount of confusion and reading about a lot of people asking if these biscuits even existed. I can assure you that they do, but it wasn't too easy finding a recipe that looked right. Eventually I decided to test out the recipe that was posted on this forum, I mean, it was in German after all. A little tweaking and improvisation was necessary since the recipe was a little vague, but the result was the one of the most delicious biscuits I've ever made. I was calling them Crack Cookies because I would go to eat one and end up eating five.
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The large amount of butter in the recipe creates a melt-in-your-mouth cookie dough that needs very little baking in a very hot oven after you roll it out to as thin as you can, and then the crisp, paper-thin layer of meringue over the tops creates a lovely contrast in textures. I love it. I also mixed a little pink dye into the icing for half the biscuits, but completely forgot how incredibly strong my powdered food colouring was, so I ended up with this crazy pink...but I kind of like it.
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I'm pretty hopeful that these biscuits are very close to the ones that you see in the movie (even though I have no idea what they're meant to taste like in real life except for descriptions on the forum). Trust me, I spent a fair while squinting at the screen to make sure I got a good idea of how those cookies looked. And though I may not have had Valentine's Day in mind while I was making them, in hindsight they are kind of perfect to make for your loved one. I'm a hopeless romantic at heart, mostly due to the excessive amount of Disney movies & musicals that I watched as a child. I used to love Valentine's day, well the idea of Valentine's day, but like most people slowly grew out of it. This was probably assisted by my boyfriend's complete apathy towards the event. My brother always says that it's more special if you give your loved one flowers on any other day besides Valentine's day. Of course this only applies if you actually do get flowers at some point during the year.
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Bavarian Sugar Cookies
(adapted from this recipe)
300g plain flour
250g cold unsalted butter, cubed
80g caster sugar
1 large egg yolk
pinch of salt

1 large egg white
100g pure icing sugar
Optional: food colouring
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Mmm butter
Preheat oven to 225 degrees C. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl. Combine the butter into the flour either by using a butter knife or your finger tips into rub the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal.
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Stir in the caster sugar and then add the egg yolk and salt and mix to combine. Knead mixture lightly with your hands to form a soft dough and shape into a ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 30 mins.
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When dough is firm, remove from fridge and carefully roll out on large sheet of floured baking paper. I had to flour the top and the bottom of the dough as I rolled it to stop it sticking to the paper, it's a very delicate and light dough. Roll to about 3-4mm thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes and place on a lined baking tray.
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Beat egg white with an electric mixer on low speed in a medium mixing bowl and gradually add the icing sugar. Beat until the mixture is smooth, shiny and white. Add food colouring if you wish.
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Using a small spoon, spread a little of the icing over the tops of each of the cookies, taking care to not let it spill over the edge of the cookies or it will burn in the hot oven. (That's right, you ice the biscuits before you bake them, not after.) The thinner you spread the icing over the cookies, the crisper it will be and the more likely it will be to crack slightly.
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Bake for about 5-6 minutes, or until they are just turning golden on the edges. Keep a close eye on the biscuits while they are in the oven, the window of time between undercooked biscuits and burnt biscuits is tiny.
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Carefully move to a wire rack and cool completely. Can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
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I'm only realising now how incredibly emo this above picture is, so please excuse the emo-ness, it was just meant to demonstrate how lovely and crunchy the texture of the meringue is after you bake it! I hope that you all have a lovely Valentine's day, and to those who aren't a fan of the day, I hope you have a nice old regular Saturday and maybe you can enjoy some of these cookies, just because everyone likes cookies :)
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  1. I'm kinda glad that Valentine's Day falls on the same day as Chinese New Year as I'll be too busy stuffing my face with delicious food to notice a distinct lack of flowers (awwww, woe is me). I don't think anyone would need too much excuse to make these cookies though, they look lovely and your description of them is super tempting!

  2. These are too adorable, you big ol' romantic you :P LOL to emo cookie!

  3. Your blog is really a whole collection of cute, adorable and everything nice! Especially these cookies - too bad your boy is apathetic towards V day - maybe these cookies can change his mind!

  4. STEPHHHhHhHhh these are super cute!!! For a second when i read the title bavarian i instantly thought of "beer cookies" lmao.. your boy is gonnnaaa luve these! and its totally not emo... its cheaper than buying a present which is always a bonus ^_^.

  5. It's so unusual to bake the icing, but it looks crackily delicious! Love the lonely heart in the last pic.

  6. HAHAHA emo cookie oh steph you crack me up!

  7. The emo cookie is just too cute and pink to be truly emo, but totally giggle worthy. Such cute cookies!

  8. mmm I like the sound of crack cookies! the photos are too cute, especially the last one :)

  9. Hehe nothing wrong with doing heart shaped things for Valentines Day at all! These look great. All those German and Austrian cookies are so good! :)

  10. oh they are so cute!! I absolutely love the last photo!! Now, how do I get my boyfriend to bake these FOR ME, rather than the other way around??

  11. I love the colour, and the emo!

  12. I quite enjoyed that movie myself and is the only movie that I can watch with Wil Ferrell in it! I love the part where he gives her 'a box of flours' - awww...

  13. Hi Steph,

    We've been following your food blog for a while now and have been inspired to start one of our own!
    Here is the link to our blog http://nomnomnibblies.blogspot.com/
    Please pop by when you have time!

    Love, L & J xx
    P.S Your Bavarian Sugar Cookies are soooo cute ! Perfect for Valentines Day ! hehe

  14. I loved that movie. But funny thing, I always forget the title. Mr Mélanger will turn to me randomly, and say, "remember that movie about that author narrating a story, what was that called again". And I will pause, and shake my head, and shrug my shoulders in response. LOL. I forgot about this scene in the movie. From where I'm sitting, looks like you've nailed the cookies! So cute.

  15. mmm! these look so good! --i love the movie, too (especially the part where he brings her "flours"). thanks for posting this recipe.

    p.s. love your photos! the lone red cookie is ultra cute.

  16. I adored that movie and these cookies look super tasty. :-)

  17. these cookies are adorable.
    so simple, but sosososo cute!

  18. Great pictures. I've never seen the movie so I've not heard of these cookies but reading yourpost has inspired me to try some. Makes a change from all the cupcakes that are floating around at the moment too ;0)

  19. hi, this is my first time reading your blog and i love this post! i was really excited to try these--i make cookies fairly often, but never a rolled-out kind before.
    i do have a question, though. did your cookies spread at all? it doesn't seem like it from the pictures.. but i was trying to make these tonight and the dough looked great but after baking, the cookies had lost their shape and the icing had run off, too! any tips? thanks!!

  20. Hi Catherine - No the cookies didn't spread out at all but I did had issues with the icing running off. You have to make sure you don't spread too much icing on top and make sure it's not too close to the edge. If your cookies are spreading a lot then you might need to knead your dough a little more after dusting it with flour so that it is a little tougher. Also make sure your butter is well combined within the flour since clumps of butter will melt in the oven and make it lose its shape. Hope that helps!

  21. Conor - haha same! Yet somehow I still noticed :( Thanks!

    Karen - Hahaha :) I'm just a big softie

    Trissa - Yay! That's my aim :D Haha no but he did gobble them up!

    Leona - Hehehe thank you! AHAHA beer cookies...now theres an idea...

    Belle - I know, it's the first time I've tried this method but I loved it! Was similar in texture to a macaron on top.

    chocolatesuze - Hahaha beware the emo cookie! It might try to cut itself

    Sara - Haha thanks very much!

    Jacq - They really were! So addictive. :) Thanks!

    Lorraine - Yep I can't resist! I know, I love all of them!

    Maria- Aw thank you! Haha yeah good luck, I don't think I'll be able to get my boyfriend to do that ever!

    Fiona - Hahaha thanks!!

    mademoiselle délicieuse - Haha same for me, though I'm kind of a sucker for anchorman...The flours! It was the best bit

    L and J - Hiya! Thanks for the comment, will definitely check out your blog soon.

    Julia - Yay :) Hahaha I had the same problem until I forced myself to commit it to memory! Success! Thanks :)

    S - Thank you! It's a super cute movie :)

    Hana - Yay good to know there's lots of people who liked it too! :) Thanks!

    Kristy Sayer - Aw thanks! :)

    Chele - Thank you! It was a rainy, horrible day, not the best for taking photos!

  22. Hi! There's a lot of butter in this recipe, and I'm wondering if the cookies hold a very strong butter flavour because I am not a fan of it. Hope to hear from you soon!

  23. crashxburn - That's a real pity that you are not a fan of it. I used a good quality butter so it gave it quite a rich, shortbread-like butter flavour, but I suppose if you used a crap el cheapo butter it won't taste of much anyway

  24. Hahaha thank you so much sweetie! (: Going to try it out this Thurs!

  25. hey, i'm using your image for my blog, and i guess i will take the advantage of your recipe too..
    been watching that movie a million times and i still love it..

  26. beautiful photos! thanks for the step by step guidelines it was really helpful, thank god for bavarian sugar cookies!

  27. crashxburn - hope it worked out well for you!

    shinta - It's a cute movie :)

    Anonymous - Thank you! Glad it was helpful :) Hehe yes thank god!

  28. this recipe didnt work out for me :( will try again soon, i found that it was to delicate and the dough easily melted when i take it out of the fridge :( must've done something wrong

  29. K - that sounds about right, the dough is very very delicate and will melt very easily. It's best to keep it as cold as possible and keep all surfaces, hands and rolling pin well floured. It will prob be too hard to handle in a very humid environment

  30. Wow, I can't thank you enough! A friend and I love the movie so much and searched high and low for a recipe, never really finding one. I'm so excited to try this out out! Thanks for doing so much work and sharing the final product!

  31. Michael - Isn't it a great little movie? Good luck with the recipe!!

  32. So happy to find your recipe, so bummed to see it wasn't in Imperial measurements. :(

    You wouldn't happen to know the Imperial equivalent?

  33. Saintly_too - You should be able to find conversion calculators on the internet, I always have to convert all the imperial measurements I find on the internet to metric and I haven't had any trouble. Here is a guide that looks pretty good, but I can't guarantee it will be accurate for this recipe http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/tools.measures/Measures.cfm

    Otherwise you could invest in some kitchen scales? Trust me, it's worth it!

  34. This is my boyfriend's favorite movie, and I was really surprised when he showed it to me. I am going to try to make them for him for our Christmas this year. I really hope I can pull it off, just to be safe I am gonna do a test run the day before :)

  35. I tried this recipe yesterday and it worked a treat - my family and I can't stop eating them! The salt gives it a lovely edge. Thanks so much for this yummy recipe :)

  36. Steph, I literally just finished watching Stranger than Fiction and googled for a recipe as I love baking and am a total romantic and was a little taken by those cookies and found your blog and reference to the movie lol! Thanks I look forward to giving them a try :) Alison

  37. Is there a way to translate it into cups or teaspoons? I don't know how to convert from grams.


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