An introduction to german christmas baking

It´s that time of the year again. Christmas is coming. And if you are now wondering: Huh? Christmas? We still got 4 weeks until Christmas Eve…Well, welcome to Germany. Where the Christmas season starts at the first Sunday of December. I love it! This post is a little bit about some of the typical ways to celebrate Christmas in Germany and about my grandmas cookies. You see…one of the things we do in December is bake cookies. There are tons of different Christmas cookies to make and it is just a big part of the season. It´s great for kids but not just for them. Of course they love it but there has not been one year since I moved out that I haven´t met with friends and made a huge let´s-bake-cookies-and-drink-hot-chocolate-session. And my grandma makes the best cookies! Every year we get a package filled with different types of cookies and everyone tries to get the most of their favourite type. So without further ado, let me tell you all about the wonderful thing we call Adventszeit.

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Coconut soup

Brace yourself – winter is coming. And that means it´s gonna get really cold. At least if you – like me – live in the northern part of Europe. Anybody else who is not affected by the typical cold, grey, windy and a lot of times rainy instead of snowy thing we call winter…well good for you.

Aaanyway, the best thing to fight winter depression for me is either hot chocolate or my favourite soup. Which would be coconut soup. This recipe is just so yummie, easy and healthy and overall just so good for you! Trust me on this one. It will cure any cold in no time. Even if you just feel like you might come down with something…eat this soup and you will feel better. The reasons for this are the not-so-secret ingredients: garlic, chili and ginger. I will spare you the detail of why they are so good for you and your immune system. Just trust me. Or go google it, that´s fine too.

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Homemade Oreo cookies

It is still a little early to start with the traditional christmas baking we have here in Germany. But until then, I found other recipes that will help me pass the time until December 1st. These cookies for example, I stumbled upon a couple of days ago here. They looked so yummy, I decided to give it a go. I am a huge fan of making things that you usually buy at the store, such as custard or chocolate bars. I got to know oreo cookies a couple of years ago in the States and since then they made their way over to Germany. Nowadays everybody here knows about them. I like them, my brother is crazy about them and you can use them perfectly for cupcakes or cake pops. It was my first try at making the cookie itself and it came pretty close to the original.

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Homemade chocolate bars

Hello my fellow chocoholics, welcome to paradise. This post is for you. It might be a little longer than usual, but bear with me. This post is about something every person needs – chocolate bars. Of course you can buy them at the supermarket. But you can also make them yourself. I know, I was shocked too when I found out. And then I was thrilled. Does that mean that I get to create my own personal favourite chocolate? Heck yes. It also means that I never have to worry about Christmas or birthdays anymore. What is a better present than a homemade chocolate bar?

I have to say…it takes a while. One needs patience, a thermometer and a chocolate bar form. But if you have all of that and want to try out something new – well there you go.

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Spinach quiche with tomatoes and goat cheese

It´s official. The semester started again. Which means that after 4 months of vacation I need to get used to getting up early, going to class, listening to the professor for 1 1/2 hours, reading a horrible amount of textbooks and studying. It also means that my time left for baking and spending time in the kitchen has been reduced. And that I have to focus on recipes that are easy to adapt to my tiny kitchen. One of those recipes is quiche. I like quiche especially because you easily change the recipe to those ingredients that you personally prefer. Once you found a good recipe for the dough it is up to you to create a filling. Basically any type of vegetable and cheese can be used for quiche, that way it never gets boring. It is not one of those recipes that you can easily prepare on short notice because the dough needs to chill for a while and the quiche itself needs about 40 minutes in the oven. But your patience will be rewarded.

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Carrot cake with cream cheese topping

My love affair with carrot cake is fairly young. That´s because I never thought cake and vegetables could be combined together. Little did I know that carrot cake doesn´t taste like carrots at all. Instead it tastes like cinnamon and almonds and Christmas and rainbows. Well, I finally tried a piece 2 years ago and since then I love it. Especially when combined with a cream cheese topping that makes everything even more delicious. Long story short, I think carrot cake is great. And for anyone who might still be skeptical: try it, you´ll love it!

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How to make a perfect risotto

Risotto is one of my go-to recipes. It´s simple, very tasty and perfect to make when you´re cooking alone. And you can always mix it up, according to season. Just exchange the vegetables for whatever might be in season right now, risotto can be made with pretty much everything. Pumpkin, Mushrooms, saffron…

This recipe is for my sister who once told me that she needs 40 minutes to make a risotto. For her and for anybody else who might struggle with risotto or maybe never tried it before: Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a perfect risotto. Everybody who is more experienced in risotto making is also very welcome to try out this recipe. I am sure, more recipes will follow, but for the start I am going to show you how to make a simple vegetable risotto.

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Plum Tarte

It´s still plum season. I love it. And I still got a couple of recipes in my mind. So this time, let´s make a tarte! I´ve seen this recipe before on various food blogs. It was always made with peaches or nectarines but since summer is officially over I had to find something else. Thank god for plums! I like this tarte for its non-perfection. It looks handmade and every tarte you make will be unique. And you can make it all year round, just exchange the fruits according to season. Peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines, apples…you can make it with pretty much anything.

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Applesauce or what to do when you´re left with too many apples

I don´t know if applesauce is known outside of Germany. I don´t even know if that is the correct translation. I found it once in a Spanish supermarket but everywhere else I´ve been the concept of turning apples into a sauce was unknown. Here in Germany we have various recipes that include applesauce. Pfannkuchen mit Apfelmus (german pancakes with applesauce), Himmel und äd (mashed potatos, applesauce and blood sausage) or Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus (potato pancakes with applesauce) are just a few of them. So for any non-germans that might follow this blog, here is a typical german recipe. You should try it!

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Vanilla custard with raspberries

Whenever I get to choose between vanilla and chocolate I usually end up with vanilla. It´s not that I don´t like chocolate. Chocolate muffins or ice cream are the best. But when it´s between vanilla or chocolate custard I always stick with vanilla. Most of you are probably thinking right now – well yeah, vanilla or chocolate, but can´t you just buy custard at the store? Yes you can. But if you take the time to make it from scratch you probably won´t be able to enjoy the other one anymore. It is just too delicious if you do it yourself. Trust me. And it is not that complicated, nor does it take forever to make. So let´s do it! It´ll be worth it!

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Zwetschgendatschi – German plum cake


This weekend I wanted to pick some plums. I love plum cake, or as the Germans call it, Zwetschgendatschi. And of course it was raining the whole day. But I promised you plums, so you are gonna get plums. Therefore (oh my English teacher would be so proud of me using that word) I took my boots, raincoat and bucket and went outside. I have to thank my past self for doing that because right now the whole house smells like cake. And climbing up the trees burns so many calories, I am sure I can eat the whole thing later. Well, those rainy days aren´t that bad. Fall is coming and we are definitely used to a lot of rain. And sometimes you just gotta love those days.


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Sweet Cake Pops

So, apparently Cake Pops are the new thing now. I´ve never tried them before but they look so cute and colorful and sweet, so I decided to give it a try. And I have to say, they are actually really good. And not that difficult to make. At least the first steps. It´s not that easy to decorate them in such a way that they look kind of professional in the end. The chocolate starts dropping right away and doesn´t care that you want to decorate it with sprinkles so it might take a while to find a way to decorate the cake pops without making too big of a mess. But I think they don´t look too bad for the first try.

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Homemade Ravioli

Recently I became the proud owner of a pasta maker. His name is Leonardo and so far he has done good work. Homemade pasta isn´t that hard to make but it takes a while and one definetely needs patience. Sometimes it might take longer because your dough consists of a mass of crumbs. Sometimes the ravioli you carefully made yourself decide to open up while cooking and everything floads around in the pan. Or everything sticks together like crazy. But life is not always easy and every desaster helps to prevent future ones. So don´t give up! You will get there! Trust me! I´ve done everything mentioned above and more.

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Panna Cotta with plums in red wine

Panna Cotta is my families favourite dessert. I made it a couple of years ago for christmas dinner and since then, all my family wants for dessert is Panna Cotta. I don´t even get a chance to try out something new, whenever there is a special occasion that calls for a good dessert, it´s Panna Cotta. I shouldn´t be complaining though, this recipe is to die for. And compared to a lot of the other fancy desserts, it´s not even that complicated. All you need is some cream, vanilla beans and sugar, and you´re good to go!

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Lemon apple tarte

When I was a kid we had this huge backyard with apple-, cherry-, plum- and peartrees. And all kind of berries you can imagine. Growing up, this was the best thing. I would spend entire days in the yard, fighting off monsters and solving crime and when I got hungry, all I had to do was to pick the next best fruit. Now imagine what you could do with all these fruits during summertime. Unfortunately we moved and now all I have when I visit my parents at home are two appletress, one peartree and something that looks like cherrys. Well, when life gives you lemons…uh apples I mean…the only thing to do is an apple-lemon tarte. I actually am not the biggest fan of apple pies, but I found a recipe that taught me otherwise.

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Chocolate Brioche

When it rains I always have this urge to start baking. Lazy Sundays, with nothing to do and on top of it bad weather…you will definitely find me in the kitchen, whipping up some pancakes or in this case chocolate brioche. It´s french, it sounds classy, it involves chocolate – sounds good enough to me! It´s not that I only get inspired with the typical german weather (it is supposed to be summer but it´s 16 degrees, raining and I haven´t seen the sun all day). On sunny days I invent all kind of different combinations for salads, stormy wheather is perfect for baking muffins, cupcakes, waffles and don´t even get me started on christmas season – hot chocolate, Plätzchen, Bratäpfel…I will always find a good reason to make on particular type of food. This time in Ineke´s kitchen: Chocolate Brioche!

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Costa Rica 2009

Summer 2009, I just graduated and had no clue whatsoever what to do with my life. While most of my friends went off to university, I knew that before going into the grown-up world, I needed to see more of the world itself. And I wanted to improve (or better said – learn) my spanish which limited possible destinations. So I looked for volunteer work I could do, booked a flight and went to Costa Rica for 6 months.

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