Today I had a very special invitation. Some very nice ladies from Waterton had invited me to their Christmas cookie baking. Christmas like, it snowed that morning, and when I arrived at Barb’s house, there was a fox with a beautiful thick fur standing on the driveway and looking at me. It is not unusual to see foxes in the town site of Waterton and after I had pulled out my stuff from the car, he was gone. Barb’s husband also escaped at the sight of so many women in his house talking and laughing loudly.
Almost like Carnival
Darleen brought Christmas hair accessories for all of us, which she had found in some old boxes at her mother’s house. Every baker decorated herself with Christmas trees, snow mans or moose antlers. This of course did not happen without loud laughing. I have to say, the Canadian ladies, although they are already mature, are quiet cool and having a lot of fun – at least the ones here on the edge of the Prairie.
A few years ago they decided not only to meet to trade Christmas cookies like usual but also to bake together. We all met at 9:30 am and everybody brought two recipes and the respective ingredients. Some of the cookies we bake are similar to the ones we make in Germany. For example the sugar cookies look like our butter cookies. Barb had got various kinds of decoration like pearls, sprinkles, colored icing. We had a lot of fun decoration each one her portion of sugar cookies. As well Peggy’s date balls rolled in coconut flakes were not uncommon for me, also the short bread cookies Joyce made.
But I was really amazed about the masses of marshmallows and rice krispies they use for Christmas cookies. Darleen dipped marshmallows in melted toffee and rolled them in rice krispies, then you only let them dry, it is not necessary to bake them. What I didn’t know at all is that you can melt marshmallows. Wow that’s something. Into the melted marshmallows Barb and Di put vanilla aroma and Christmas colored rice krispies. That “dough” gets cold in a baking dish and is soon ready to be cut in pieces with a knife. A bit more extravagant is the cornflakes version. Here Barb put the Cornflakes into the melted marshmallows and added some green color which makes a nice Christmas tree color. Then we decorated them with red cinnamon hearts and silver balls.
My contribution had been “Hildabrötchen” or “Hilda cookies”. They are butter cookies made from a kind of short bread dough. They are cut out and after baking you put two together, the upper one must have a hole in the middle and in between the two layers is strawberry jam and on top icing sugar. The second recipe is called “Quarkstrudel Konfekt”. It is a strudel dough with quark, I choose yogurt because I couldn’t get quark. And you make cookies in strudel form. I hope my Canadian friends will like them.
In foreign kitchens
I felt a bit like coming from a different planet, as I had to ask, how to use the KitchenAid. I never used one before. It is quiet odd, if you suddenly can’t use ordinary devices out of the cuff only because they look different then the ones you are used to. The same I experienced with the oven. Ovens are much larger here in Canada than in Europe. Probably they must be big enough to put in two turkeys. The oven in our apartment was delivered without a baking tray, it only came with a grid. So I always thought, where can I get a baking tray? But now I realized they don’t have baking trays here, which are as big as the oven grid and are used instead of the grid. No, they use cookie sheets, which are placed on the oven grid; two of them can fit on the grid. But a pizza doesn’t fit on such a cookie sheet. For that you need a round pizza tray. Different counties, different customs.
In the afternoon we were done and everybody went home with 12 different kinds of Christmas cookies. Really convenient such a cookie baking meeting.