Monday, December 12, 2011

German Sugar Twists

Sugar cookies are so wonderful, but there are tons of kinds of sugar cookies. This week, I will have a recipe for a different sugar cookie each day. They will be each very different from each other, but the highlight of the recipe will all be sugar. And butter.

These cookies are a German recipe from my grandma. She made them for my dad when he was little. I'm sure there are many variations of this recipe, but this was hers.

There is yeast in this recipe. A cookie recipe. Weird.

Weird, but wonderful.

This also happens to be a recipe that I've made twice before. Each time I make it, I swear that I'll never make it again. The dough gets sticky and starts splitting because you are rolling vanilla sugar between each layer. It comes apart and you get frustrated and throw your hands up.

Forget about trying to cut it and twist it while it gets all sticky and you're peeling it from the counter.

So, each time I think I can do it. This year, I did it. I did it smart.

You start with yeast and warm water and sugar. Just like bread. Let it sit and foam up a few minutes.

Then you cut 2 sticks of margerine into your flour. I used a pastry cutter. You could use knives. Cut together to pea sized pieces.
See the small butter chunks?

Beat two eggs plus milk and add it and your yeast to the flour.
Mix with a spoon. It will be sticky and you will see some nice striations in the flour which will make it nice and flaky.

This needs to refridgerate for a couple of hours. I did overnight.

Then, the next day mix your sugar and vanilla together.
It will smell like heaven in your kitchen.
Here's where it gets tricky. I used 2 large jellyroll pans. I froze them for 10 minutes, then used flour on the backside so I could roll the dough out. The pan was sliding around so I had the fireman hold the sheet.

You only use half the dough at a time, so this is one half. You roll it out some. Ten you sprinkle it heavily with about 1/4 of the sugar.

Gently press the sugar into the dough and roll it out to 8x16.

Then, use a metal turner and gently flip over a third of it. You are folding like a letter.

By the way, this is how you fold butter into crescents. You fold it in and roll it and fold it and roll it. To work it between each layer. But we're making layers with sugar.

Oh, baby.

Then pop this back in the fridge for 10 minutes and do the other half. Make sure to flour between the batches. Keep your work space nice and cold and floured. Flour your rolling pin if it gets sticky, move your 'envelope' and reflour under it incase it got sticky.

Ok, so you do this to each half 3 times total. You turn the 'envelope' the other direction, roll out some, add sugar, press it in and roll it to 8x16, then fold it and refridgerate again. The last time the dough was harder to roll out. I had to press it down and not let it slide around. The sugar layers threaten to slide.

Then roll out again, to 8x16. I used a pizza cutter instead of a knife. No sliding! And no melting, cause it was nice and cold. Cut to 1x4 slices.
Make 2 twists in each cookie. Place on a greased cookie sheet.


The recipe made these plus one other sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes. They do spread out in the oven, the sugar caramelizes and hardens.

The cookies are still somewhat soft, with crunchy sugar edges.

You will want to take them off the pan within the first 10 minutes or the sugar hardens and you have to chip them off. Soak your pans with a little warm water and the sugar will melt right off. Be patient! Let the water do the work.

They are chewy and bready but a little crunchy and cookie like. Very strong with the sugar and vanilla.

Smells amazing. If you try these, please let me know. Also, be patient. Take your time, refridgerate between layers and don't rush it. They're worth the wait.

I actually may not wait another 3 years to make them again...

The Recipe:
1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp) with 1/4 cup warm water and 1 Tablespoon sugar
3 1/2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup margarine (2 sticks) cut together pea sized
Beat 2 eggs, add to flour with 1/2 cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all together and chill 2 hours or overnight.
Combine 1 1/2 cup sugar with 2 teaspoons vanilla in separate bowl.
Roll out half the chilled dough on floured, cold surface or back of a floured cookie sheet.
Roll it out to 8x16 inches, sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar mixture, press down, fold in 3 layers like an envelope. Refridgerate for 10 min or more, re-spread your flour out and repeat 2 more times, rolling to 8x16 and 1/4 cup sugar each time. Do the same with the other half of the dough, or work on one half, then the other if you have 2 sheets and the fridge space. After the 3 rollings and flourings, roll back out to 8x16 and cut in 1x4 inch strips with pizza cutter. Twist each strip 2 times and place on greased baking sheet. Bake 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from tray almost immediately onto waxed paper.

Also, for a quick update on our bathroom renovation:

We finally got to use the shower!

The fireman put in a curved shower rod. He had to use a carbide bit to cut into the tile without cracking it. He went through two bits.
 This is my new tub. Shoulda got pics before I put all of my shampoo's and stuff in it! But I was just so excited to use it!
Ah! This tub will be in use tonight! I cannot wait!

There is still some trim work to be done and some painting, but the shower and tub are usable.

I need to reorganize the hall closet and cabinet in the bathroom since we are using it once again. I need to make sure the boys' shower downstairs has enough towels and shampoo's and soaps that they need and that we have enough stuff up here as well.


Jana said...

Girl, you are FAR more patient than I. LOL Those look delish but I think I'll give this one a pass until I've worked my patience level up a few notches. ;-)

Kudos on the fully operational (and beautiful) shower! I'm so jealous of the curved shower rod. I think that's going to have to be my next house project. Never mind all painting and furniture redoing I've got on my list. Curved shower rod just got bumped to the top.

Shoot. I shoulda asked Santa for one. :-/

JenMarie said...

Ha, thanks! My patience is fleeting, I took my time on this and only did it when I wanted to.

I really love the curved shower rod, it makes it feel so much larger in the shower! You should definitely look into it.