Monday, June 18, 2012

German Amerikaners

 A while ago, for school, my son had to select a country he was interested in, and bring in a food from that country.  He chose Germany, so it was a great excuse to break out my German Baking Book and look through it with him!  I bought the book in January 2011 in Germany; it seems kind of hard to get in the States.  We looked at every single recipe and it was quite hard to decide which one to make- so many looked delicious!  We narrowed it down to 10, then to 5, and then we finally decided on these Amerikaners, both for ease and kid-friendliness. 
He helped me mix up the dough, but because of time constraints, I frosted them right before bringing them into his class in the morning.  You never know how children will act with food- I thought these would be quite popular but the classroom kids all approached them with trepidation.  :)  I guess they look scary?  I should have added sprinkles! 

These are pretty much a very cakey cookie, flipped over, with the bottom frosted.  They were fun to make, and pretty easy.  I loved how the recipe for the chocolate coating calls for just chocolate and a tiny bit of oil; I always thought you weren't supposed to add oil to chocolate, but it helped melt the chocolate super-smooth and shiny; I'm doing this from now on! 
German Amerikaners
from German Baking Today

For the Amerikaners:

75g/3oz soft butter
100g/3 1/2 oz/ 1/2 cup sugar
2-3 drops vanilla extract in 1 Tablespoon sugar
5 drops vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 medium eggs
250g/ 9 oz/ 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
100 ml/ 3 1/2 oz/ 1/2 cup milk
3-4 teaspoons milk, for brushing

White Icing:
200g/ 7 oz/ 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice or water

Chocolate Icing:
150g/ 5 oz plain chocolate (we used a mix of milk and semi-sweet)
2 teaspoons oil (like canola, sunflower)

For decoration, optional:
chopped almonds
chopped pistachios
sugar crystals
dried coconut

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).  Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

2.  To make the cake mixture, stir the softened butter with a hand mixer or whisk until it becomes smooth.  Gradually add the sugar, vanilla sugar, vanilla extract and salt and stir until mixture thickens.  Add 1 egg at a time, whisking each one for about 1/2 minute at the highest setting.

3.  Mix together the flour and baking powder, sift and add to the butter mixture in 2 stages, alternating with the milk, stirring briefly with the mixer at the medium setting.  Spoon the mixture onto the lined baking sheet in small heaps (about 1-2 tablespoon), not too close to each other.  Then shape using a moistened knife (to flatten a bit). 

4.  Bake for about 8-10 minutes, then brush the tops with milk.  Bake 2-5 more minutes, until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Cool completely on wire racks.

5.  For the icing, mix the powdered sugar with the lemon juice or water to make a thick mixture.  (This is the white icing).  For the chocolate icing, coarsely chop the chocolate and melt together with the oil in a double boiler over low heat.  (Homemade double boiler- oven-proof Pyrex bowl set over a pan of simmering water on the stove). 

5.  Turn the Amerikaners around to expose their bottoms.  Coat their undersides with icing- either all white, all chocolate, or half and half of both.  If desired, sprinkle with the optional decorations. 

(Note:  I had some leftover chocolate coating, so I dipped these Peanut Butter Pretzel sandwiches into it.... these little chocolate-covered pb pretzels were SO good!  Pictured below.)

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Linda said...

Those look really good. If I was a kid I would not have felt any trepidation - LOL!

What a Dish! said...

Lol, thanks! It was surprising.