I don’t think I will ever get used to celebrating Christmas during summer. Coming from the Northern hemisphere I’m usually used to cold and dark winter days, where the sun sets at three thirty in the afternoon. You rush home, trying to keep warm with a thick winter coat, a woollen beanie, gloves and one or two scarfs that also partially cover your face. Yes, it does get cold but you come home and it’s all nice and cosy inside and you feel like you just want to cuddle up on the couch with a cup of tea and some home made biscuits.
My mother and grand-mother always bake mountains and mountains of different kinds of biscuits that all sit in their tins, sorted by variety, ready to be opened on the 23rd of December when we put up the tree and decorate it. We will have Gluehwein (mulled wine) and biscuits while we argue over how the tree should end up looking. There will always be a big plate of all these different kinds of biscuits and everybody’s got their favourite.
The Terrace Biscuits are a classic, they’ve been a part of our Christmas assortment for as long as I can think. They’re fairly easy to make, best though on a cooler day as the dough will get too soft otherwise – or you put the aircon on!
My Mother’s German Terrace Biscuits (Terrassenplätzchen)
(click here to print recipe)
300g plain flour
1 level tbsp vanilla sugar
Berry conserve for sticking the biscuits together
Icing sugar for dusting the biscuits
Mix together flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, butter and egg in a mixer using the paddle attachment (or dough hooks if you’re using a handheld mixer). Once the dough comes together and is mixed well, roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat oven to 175°C fan-forced. Cut dough into two halves, leave one half in the fridge, while you roll out the other half to about 3mm thick on a well floured surface. Use two different sizes of the same shape cookie cutter, ie stars, hearts, flowers, etc. to cut out your cookies. I always try to roughly count how many of each size I have so I have equal amounts of both and don’t end up with lots of extra small ones. And if you do, just eat them! (Or marry them with another small one).
Transfer to a parchment paper lined oven tray and bake at 175°C for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Repeat with other half of the dough until you’ve used up all your dough. If the dough gets too soft just pop it in the fridge for a bit!
To assemble the biscuits, brush the still warm, bigger sized biscuits with conserve (I used blackberry conserve), then stack the little biscuit on top and dust with icing sugar. They keep for a few weeks in a metal cookie tin. When stacking them in the tin, put some aluminium foil between the layers of cookies to avoid all the icing sugar rubbing off!
Your house will smell heavenly and if you put the aircon on its coldest setting, you could even pop on a coat, beanie, scarf and gloves and pretend you’re in the Northern hemisphere. Or you just relax on the beach while you enjoy these little cookies!