Cinnamon Stars [Zimtsterne]

Cinnamon is a common theme among these Christmas cookies. And just as well as its probably our favourite spice. Hell, is there anyone who doesn’t like cinnamon? But these next cookies don’t just have cinnamon, they are all about the cinnamon.

Zimtsterne are a German cookie and very popular around Christmas time. Traditionally served by German Jews at the meal after Yom Kippur, the star shape of the cookies represent the nightfall that signifies the end of the fast. It can vary in ingredients but these are cinnamon stars at their most basic. 4 ingredients, minimal prep and did I mention you don’t even have to decorate them? Yeah, that icing goes on before the biscuits even bake.

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12 Days of Christmas :: 1 Christmas Cookie Tree

Do you know when the 12 days of Christmas are? I didn't, so I visited my best friend – Wikipedia. They begin on the 25th of December. Of course. Christmas is about Jesus' birth, after all, so naturally the 12 days for follow it. I'd always thought they were the 12 days leading up to Christmas. I felt a bit silly.

Being non-religious, Christmas to me and my family has always been about taking time to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate the wonderful people and experiences in your life, a time to say thank you. Christian celebrations have not entered into it, so I figured this lack of exposure to it was probably responsible for my derp moment. So I asked my Christian boyfriend, for whom his faith plays an important role in both his daily life and his family's Christmas celebrations, when he thought the 12 days were. His assumption was the same as mine. In fact, everyone who I asked, regardless of faith, assumed the same thing. So we all learnt a little something new.

I'd be planning a 12 days of Christmas blog series, assuming the 12 days where somewhere in December. Sharing recipes after Christmas felt a little moot. Besides, I won't be around much after Christmas, let alone for the 12 days proceeding. So we're going to do this the untraditional way. Every second day from now til the 23rd I'll bring you one of12 Christmas recipes.

This first recipe is something that's becoming a bit of a yearly tradition. Each year, I look for a way to reinvent it. Here's this year's take on it.

1 Christmas Tree…

Skyward Sword: Scrapper Cake

If you've played The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, not only is your life complete, but you'll also know who this is:

This is the other Zelda fan art of was working on when I made the Sage Medallion cupcakes. It's something I'd intended to do for a while, so while I had some downtime I decided to embark on the project.

"Master Shortpants! Watch carefully while I demonstrate what a real hero looks like, bzzzzat!"

Christmas Bakerage Part 4: Cookie Tree

Here’s for the final instalment of my Christmas bakerage 2010: the cookie tree.

This tree marks a pretty important milestone for me. See, this time last year I was failing with fondant. I couldn’t even get holy leaves to work for the cookie tree. So it had red berries and that was it. While this tree involves minimal fondant work, it reminds me of how much I have learned in a year. It also reminds me that I have so much more to learn, and so much more time in which to learn it. I’m forever getting frustrated at my ‘failures’, never happy unless it’s perfect (which it invariably never is). This reminds me that I haven’t been at this long; so here’s to a chin up and hopefully many more successes (or should it be less failures?) for 2011.

But enough of that and more of the tree, hey?

Spotlight Grand Opening Neapolitan Cake…

The reason for my prolonged absence from the kitchen, as previously mentioned, is my new job. After 3 weeks of non stop work to get the new store up and running, the end of set up approached and we got a day off before the grand opening. I seized the opportunity to bake a celebratory cake for the occasion:

This was a cake for firsts for me.

First layer cake.
First neapolitan cake.
First time making marshmallow fondant.
First time piping words.
First time not refrigerating a cake (I know I know, but I have some weird compulsion to refrigerate them, so I was wrought with panic over not doing so. You don’t need to tell me how irrational I am)

I could go on. But the main point is, I was a bit of a nervous wreck brining it in. Presentation wise, to be honest, I didn’t like it. I’m not even sure why. But it wasn’t like the picture of perfection I had in my head.

You be the judge.

It’s what’s inside that counts, right?