Many of the traditional Christmas foods in Germany are sweets. Spritz Cookies are one of those many. They are mildly sweet and perfect for eating a bunch.
We are going to be learning how Christmas is celebrated in the countries of our (the three of us) origin. I’m also going to visit Christmas celebrations in Israel and Egypt. Lucy and my ancestors are from Germany, Sweden, and England. Jamie’s ancestors are from Germany, Russia, Czech and England. Because I am limited on how many posts I have before Christmas, I am going to be posting about Germany, Sweden, Czech, and England along with Israel and Egypt.
Lets start with Germany. My great grandmother immigrated from Germany. As I began to research how Christmas was celebrated in these countries, I discovered some of our traditions came from these countries. One of the traditions we took from Germany was opening presents from each other on Christmas Eve. We would open presents from Santa on Christmas morning.
In Germany, advent is a big part of the celebration. Several types of advent calendars are used. We always had one that little doors and behind the doors were chocolate. I loved those calendars. Jamie makes advent calendars for her family to use. Homemade calendars can be very inexpensive. Another type of advent calendar is one that is a little more expensive but can be used year after year. I love this one with the drawers.
December 6th is Saint Nikolaus Day. It is celebrated by children putting boots out the night before and St. Nikolaus fills them with sweets and gifts. While St. Nikolaus is there, he checks to see if the kids have been good. If the kids were not good, they would have a twig in their boot.
Another big part of celebrating Christmas in Germany is the Christmas tree. The tree was usually brought into the house on Christmas eve and was secretly decorated by the mother of the family. Christmas Eve is the main day of celebration for Germans. As I said above, presents are exchanged on Christmas Eve. A small meal is shared on Christmas eve allowing for more time for presents. On Christmas Day, a large meal is prepared and eaten with the family.
Traditional Christmas food in Germany is sweets. My grandmother observed this tradition. She always made enough sweets, pies, candy, cakes and such, to cover her large dining room table. The kids grazed on the sweets all day for several days. One of those sweets was Spritz cookies or Spritzgebäck. My mom has continued that tradition. They are made using a cookie press. I think both Lucy and I have cookie presses. Mine is from the late 70’s that we found at a yard sale. But here is a more modern one. I highly recommend getting an electric one. The others tend to be a pain and your arm hurts after a dozen or so cookies.
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 cups flour
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Add egg, vanilla, almond extract and milk. Mix well.
- Add baking powder. Mix well.
- Add flour, one cup at a time and slowly.
- Do not chill dough
- Fill cookie shooter/press. Press cookies on baking sheet.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes.
- Cool on cooling rack.
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