Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Advent Calendar: Christmas Baking

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past four years (2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012), but this year, there are some new prompts, and the sequence has changed for some old prompts used in previous years.  For the latter, in some cases I'll simply re-post, while in others, I will link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's at least somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 18 – Christmas Baking.  

In addition to Christmas cookies, many families prepared special, once a year treats to share with others. Popcorn balls? Fudge? Carmel corn? What do you remember about these dishes and the activity of making them? Share recipes if you have them or just share your memories of making Christmastime foods.  Tell us about your special Christmas foods and your memories of Christmases past.

In my post about holiday foods from the past four years, I talked about the German coffee cake (a Streuselkuchen) I make, from a recipe that was taught to me by my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Massmann Pape, back in the 70s. She learned it from her mother or grandmother, I can't remember which.  I'm not going to share the recipe (it's a family secret), but I do have some pictures of the process.

Streuselkuchen is best made with fresh cakes of yeast (not the dry "activated" stuff, although it's getting harder to find cake yeast) and the dough rises three times. The streusel is a mixture of brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, and real butter, with either some grated orange and lemon rind or some cinnamon. It takes all day but generally makes 6-8 coffee cakes depending on the weather (sunny dry days produce more coffee cake). My dad gets at least a couple for part of his Christmas present, and most of the rest go to other family members in Austin. 

Above are the second and third risings of the dough, which occur in a barely-warmed oven (for the second rising) and covered with tea towels on a table near a sunny window (for the third rising) respectively.  (The first rising is the creation of the sponge, which also occurs in an oven).  At left is a photo of the finished products from last year (made Christmas Eve), right out of the oven after baking.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at  

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