A long, long time ago, a recipe came from Germany with a group of people looking for religious freedom. They traveled across the ocean and, according to a diary that I found many years ago in my parent's attic, they suffered from a lot of sea sickness. But they had faith in their Creator, and they arrived on the shores of America. The time frame was the 1850's. So what did the women bring with them? I can only guess, but recipes were an important factor..keeping them in touch with their homeland.
One such recipe I baked today. A Christmas cookie that I have always known as "Wiesbader Brot.". This translates to "the bread of Wiesbaden, Germany." As a child, I loved to watch my grandmother bake these great smelling cookies. If this cookie has ever seen itself in Wiesbaden, Germany, is a mystery. Perhaps, it was only remorse of leaving the homeland that named this cookie. Nevertheless, with a little imagination, it does look like a slice of bread topped with butter.
It has been a few years since I have baked Wiesbader Brot, but I do think today, they tasted better than they ever have. I have to give credit to the cinnamon that I added. For quite a few years, I have been buying my cinnamon from Penzey's in Wisconsin. This Vietnamese cinnamon is absolutely the best tasting. I hope you will discover Penzey's and try their cinnamon and other spices. They rank top quality on my list. I also buy all my peppercorns for grinding from them including a lot of other spices.
The cookie is supposed to look like a slice of bread topped with butter. When you read the recipe, you can see how this happens. The recipe is printed in "Seasons of Plenty", a cookbook from the Amana Colonies in Iowa, that I gave away earlier this year on my blog anniversary. The tool that should be used to cut the cookies is a ruffled roller cutter that I do not own. My grandmother's disappeared in the family home auction years ago, but I do remember it and use my pizza cutter instead. The ruffled edge on the cookies does make it extra special.
Wiesbader Brot (The Bread of Wiesbaden)
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/3 cups sugar
4 eggs, reserve yolks from 2
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Reserving 2 egg yolks, beat 2 whole eggs and 2 white until very frothy and combine with creamed sugar and butter. Gradually add flour, cinnamon, and baking powder. Mix well. Cover and chill dough overnight.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a large lightly floured board, roll out small portions of the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a fluted pastry wheel, or pizza cutter and cut into diamond shapes. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with beaten egg yolks. Bake about 15 minutes until light brown. Makes 4-5 dozen cookies.