German food

If you are thinking about giving your friends edible gifts for the holidays this year, you should include this granola. It is inspired by a lebkuchen chocolate that I tried recently. I had no idea that lebkuchen (the German version of gingerbread) and chocolate go together so well, especially if the chocolate is a rich, dark one. The warm spices and the aromatic chocolate complement each other so well! Seriously, we should put lebkuchen spices and chocolate into everything and have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Okay, well. Maybe let’s start with breakfast and snacks. Because this warming, crunchy, and fragrant granola that comes with a decent helping of chocolate and roasted nuts is quite addictive. You are probably going to snack on it all day long. And a word of warning if you are planning on giving this away as a present: Make a double batch or you might feel tempted to keep it all for yourself.

Lebkuchen Chocolate Granola

The recipe is very versatile. If you don’t have dark agave nectar, you can use maple or rice syrup. Instead of the brown sugar, you can use coconut sugar or whatever you like. Instead of hazelnuts use almonds or pecans. It really doesn’t matter as long as they are roasted. Gluten-free flakes should be fine, too. For the spices I used a store bought lebkuchen blend but a gingerbread blend works just as well. If you are looking for an authentic lebkuchen blend though and cannot find one, please check out my e-book. There is a recipe on page 6. (As well as a spekulatius blend. That works just as well and will probably make this even better!)

A little note on the salt: I went for a whole 1/2 teaspoon and I thought this really added to the flavour and made the granola even better. But feel free to reduce it to 1/4 teaspoon.


Lebkuchen Chocolate Granola

Lebkuchen Chocolate Granola

5 cups


250 g (2 1/2 cups) rolled oats
50 g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
64 g (1/4 cup) almond butter
2 teaspoons lebkuchen spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
60 ml (1/4 cup) rapeseed oil
60 ml (1/4 cup) dark agave nectar
60 g (1/3 cup) hazelnuts, chopped
100 g (3.5 oz) dark rice milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).

Combine all ingredients except for hazelnuts and chocolate and mix well.

Spread on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

Add hazelnuts, mix well adn bake for another 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in chocolate.

When the chocolate is melted (after 2-3 minutes) mix again and let cool completely.

Transfer to a glass jar.

Lebkuchen Chocolate Granola








Recently I have been getting a lot of traffic for an old post. An really old post. With terrible pictures and links that don’t work anymore. And while the pictures may be awful, the recipes are great and still two of my favourites. That is why I want to update them today. They are Christmas recipes and I am aware that I am pushing the season very early this year. But you never know what will happen in December. I know me and I’ll probably post the next cookie recipes two days after Christmas. Plus, we already went to see a Christmas movie at the cinema yesterday and my kid is singing “Oh Tannenbaum” 24/7.

The old post I want to brush up here had a recipe for cinnamon stars (cookies) and speculoos truffles based on my recipe for speculoos spread (cookie butter). For this entry, I updated both the recipes and the pictures. There are corners of this blog which are such a building site and a few items definitely need a bit of remodeling.

Speculoos truffles and gluten-free cinnamon stars {Zimtsterne}

These gluten-free cinnamon stars are a very traditional and well-known German Christmas season cookie. They are in a way the elegant version of macaroons, because recipes always call for lots of meringue. The first time I posted this to the blog I winged it somehow. I made flax eggs and added rice syrup. At that time I thought I had ended up with a decent enough result.

That was way before we all discovered the magic baking properties of canned chickpea water aka aquafaba. And of course, if you make these cookies with aquafaba, they turn out absolutely perfect! They aren’t too crispy and even will soften after a day. Which is how I remember the original version. The only trick here is to whip up the aquafaba really thick. It should have almost the same texture as marshmallow fluff. To do this, I always use a pinch of guar gum. In Germany, guar gum is often available at health food stores whereas xanthan gum is much harder to find. If you can only find xanthan, you can use that instead. If you cannot find both of these or don’t want to use them, use half a teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar instead. That should do the trick.

You have to whip up the aquafaba in two steps: First you mix the liquid with guar gum (xanthan etc.) and beat it for 5 minutes until it has stiff peaks. I always use a handheld mixer for this. Then you add about 25 g (1/4 cup) of powdered sugar and whip until the mass is very thick and looks similar to the marshmallow fluff on of the pictures here. It needs a solid texture, so it will hold all the ground nuts you have to mix in later.

The second recipe I am updating today is a chocolate candy made from speculoos spread (biscoff spread or cookie butter). Back in 2009 I was one of the first who made a homemade version for the at that time trending spread. It is easily made at home from the popular Lotus (Biscoff) caramel cookies (speculoos) but I often use traditional German spekulatius cookies.

Speculoos truffles and gluten-free cinnamon stars {Zimtsterne}

When I made this the first time I used traditional ingredients that were quite similar to those found on the package of a jar of speculoos spread. One of the ingredients was refined coconut oil. I still use this fat a lot but I know that some people cannot tolerate it very well. So I do now have an updated version made with nut butter. You should probably try both of today’s recipes, but the speculoos truffles are very addictive. I love to give them as a present, too. Also, if you’re going to watch the US election tomorrow, you might want some food helping you deal with all the stress.

Spekulatiuspralinen | Speculoos Truffles


Cinnamon Stars // Speculoos Truffles

46 cookies and 15 truffles


Cinnamon Stars
60 ml (1/4 cup) aquafaba
1/4 teaspoon guar gum (or xanthan)
225 g (3 cups) ground nuts (almonds or hazelnuts)
25 g (1/4 cup) plus 50 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground clementine peel or lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the frosting:
100 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
5-6 teaspoons lemon juice
Speculoos Truffles
150 g spekulatius cookies (or similar)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
100 g (1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup) cashew or almond butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
150 g melted chocolate for dipping


To make the cinnamon stars

Place aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas) and guar gum in a narrow bowl.

With a handheld mixer whip for 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Add 25 g powdered sugar and whip for another 2 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture resembles thick marshmallow fluff or very stiff whipped cream.

Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Add whipped aquafaba and use a spatula to fold it into the nut mixture. This will take one or two minutes. Your dough will be stiff and sticky.

Preheat the oven to 150°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the cinnamon star dough out 1/2 cm thick) between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Cut out as many cookies as possible.

Form the dough scraps into a ball, roll out again and cut out more cookies until no dough is left.

Place on a baking sheet. Bake one sheet at a time for 11 minutes or until the bottoms are only slightly browned.

Let cool on a cookie rack.

To make the frosting, place powdered sugar in a small bowl and add lemon juice by the teaspoon. You'll want a stiff frosting that can be spread but will not drip off your cookies.

Dip the cookies upside down into the frosting and let dry on a cookie sheet.

Store in an airtight container. The cookies will soften after a day.

To make the speculoos truffles

Use a food processor to grind your cookies into a very fine meal.

Place in a bowl and add remaining ingredients.

Stir until everything is combined well.

Place in the fridge for about an hour.

Melt your dipping chocolate and have a piece of parchment ready.

Remove your spread from the fridge and use a teaspoon to scoop out a portion of the spread.

You can form it into balls or shape it only roughly.

Dip into the melted chocolate and let dry on a piece of parchment paper.

Store in the fridge.




I have to admit that I don’t know much about Halloween. It has become very popular in Germany lately, mostly because companies and shops have been pushing it. When I grew up I only knew Halloween from US-American pop culture and I don’t think it would ever have occurred to us to celebrate it in any way. We didn’t celebrate All Hallows’ Evening, we kind of celebrated All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day, which, of course, is the day after Halloween. “Kind of celebrated” means that we might have had a day off from school so we’d get the chance to go to Catholic mass. And a day later, on Reformation Day, all my Protestant friends would get a day off from school. Kind of funny that we’d remember the saints one day before the Protestants celebrate that there are no saints. Or something like that.

Saxony is the area where the Protestant Reformation started and the 31. of October is a civic holiday here. And while many bakeries sell bright Halloween treats, you will also find a local bake right next to them. It’s a yeasted roll made from a very light stollen dough, which is decorated with jam and powdered sugar. It is called Reformationsbrötchen (Reformation Roll). It’s shape is supposed to look like a Luther Rose, although a very sloppy version. I have to admit that I do not know much about this baked good, I looked up both its history and a recipe online and adapted it. Instead of zitronat (German for candied citrus peel) I used dried and ground clementine peel. And instead of regular all-purpose flour I used gelbweizenmehl (yellow wheat flour). Yellow wheat flour is something I discovered recently. According to the mill’s website this flour is an old wheat variety which has a lot of carotenoids. They give the flour a light yellow tint. It makes for very beautiful plain rolls:

rolls made with yellow wheat flour (gelbweizen)

I couldn’t find much information about this kind of wheat online, but from my experience I can say that although this flour makes beautifully golden baked goods, you have to get used to working with it. A dough made with yellow wheat flour will need much less water than a dough made with regular all-purpose flour. That is especially the case for unenriched yeast doughs, it seems. For the following Reformationsbroetchen I didn’t have to make a change at all. Which means that you should just go ahead and make them with regular white flour.

To make dried ground clementine peel  – you can use lemons or oranges as well, but clementine peels dry much faster –  simply peel a couple of clementines and let the peels dry. This works faster if you place them on your central heating or dry them in the oven at a very low temperature. Then all you’ve got to do is pulverise the peel in a coffee grinder. (Or just use a teaspoon or two of freshly grated peel.)



Wow, I just realised that this post is all over the place! You probably wanna know how the rolls are, right? They are fabulous! Lots of juicy raisins, a couple of chopped almonds, and the clementine peel make them indeed taste like a very light stollen. Plus they have fig jam in the centre and lots of powdered sugar.



500 g yellow wheat flour (or regular all-purpose), divided
20 g fresh yeast, divided
150 ml water
150 ml soy milk
100 g raisins
50 g sugar
50 g chopped blanched almonds
50 g margarine, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried clementine peel (or fresh, or lemon zest)
water for brushing
6 teaspoons red jam of choice
powdered sugar for dusting


To make the dough, place half of the flour in a large bowl.

Crumble 5 grams of fresh yeast over the flour and add the water.

Let sit for 5 minutes.

Knead everything into a stiff dough and let rise at room temperature for 5 hours. (Or over night in the fridge. If you use the fridge, let the dough come back to room temp before proceeding.)

Once your dough is ready, combine soy milk and raisins in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat immediately.

Let cool to room temperature, then stir in remaining yeast and sugar.

Stir until yeast is dissolved.

Add the soy milk mixture, the remaining flour, chopped almonds, margarine, salt, and dried clementine peel to the prepared dough and knead until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth.

Place in a bowl, cover, and let rest for 45 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle, about 36 x 48 cm.

Cut the dough into 12 12x12 cm sized squares.

Brush the corners of each square with a bit of water, then fold each corner into the centre and press down gently. Transfer the squares to two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Cover with clean kitchen towels and let rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the centre of each roll.

Place 1 baking sheet in the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Repeat with the other sheet. Let the rolls cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar. Serve on the same day.




Every year during spring and summer I put myself on an apple fast. I don’t eat them anymore because all of a sudden I think they are the most boring fruit in the whole world. In spring there’s rhubarb that suddenly seems so much more interesting. And then summer starts and brings fantastic berries and amazing stone fruits. Also, apple aren’t in season during summer. There’s really no need to eat them.

This year summer was long and I was still sweating in September. I bought a new jacket and haven’t used it so far. The berries disappeared though and made room for lots and lots of apple boxes with about ten to twelve different varieties. There were pears, too. (I only mention this because this apple cake can be made with pears as well.) Right now my favourite apple is called Santana. It’s originally from the Netherlands and a cross between one of my favourites, Elstar, and some fairy tale apple called Priscilla, with which Santana probably shares its beautiful bright red colour. Santanas are juicy and firm and have a perfect balance between sweet and sour, leaning a tiny bit more to the sour side. Which makes the perfect baking apples.

Santana Apple Cake

This is a simple apple cake recipe which may not look like much. I whipped it up on Friday before heading to work. I didn’t even use a proper recipe. I left it on the kitchen table and when I went on my break about three and a half hours later the cake was gone. Those coworkers just left some crumbs for me. But instead of complaining I’ll take that as a compliment for this cake. I made another one on Saturday and this time I managed to write down the recipe. Which was a bit tricky. For many German apple cakes (especially the one called versunkener Apfelkuchen – sunken apple cake),the apples are cut in a certain way and I found this very hard to translate and describe. You have to quarter the apples. (They are usually peeled, but I didn’t bother for my second cake and it makes a difference. So peel them.) Then you have to cut little lines on the backs of the quarters. Those have to be deep, but not so deep your apple quarters will fall apart. Cutting the apples this way will make them fan out after baking. It looks really pretty. You can see it very well in the first picture.

The only really special thing about this cake is one of its ingredients. Whenever I make something with apples I love to add a bit of nutmeg and a few scrapes of tonka bean. If you are from the US you are probably not familiar with this spice. It’s banned. And even in Europe, where you can buy it perfectly legal, it’s not commonly used. If you can find tonka beans, use them. If not just leave the spice out. The cake will turn out deliciously with cinnamon and nutmeg as well.

I am quite happy I do finally have some leftovers from the second cake I made. We’re going to spend our autumn vacation packing. We’re moving soon and have to put everything in boxes starting today. Also, my daughter’s birthday is coming up. Five. She’s going to be five. And gave me exact descriptions of everything. I already impremented her birthday invitation card ideas and now all there’s left to do is a cake. Which will probably end up on the blog at some point.

Happy Monday and have a great week!

Santana Apple Cake


For the filling
2 apples, suitable for baking, cored, peeled, and quartered
For the cake
180 g (1 1/2 cups) flour
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
150 g (3/4 cup) white sugar
30 g (2 tablespoons, packed) brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground tonka bean
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
180 ml (3/4 cup) soy milk
90 ml (1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons) rapeseed or other vegetable oil
For the streusel topping
150 g (1 1/4 cups) flour
75 g (5 3/4 tablespoons) white sugar
55 g (1/4 cup) refined coconut oil, at room temperature
2 tablespoons rapeseed or other vegetable oil


To make the filling, make fan shaped incisions into the apple quarters: With a small sharp knife make thin, deep lines on the back of each quarter. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 26 cm springform pan.

For the cake combine flours, baking powder, sugars, and spices in a bowl and mix.

Add liquid ingredients and stir until no lumps are left in the batter.

Pour into the pan.

Prepare the streusel topping by combining all ingredients.

Knead with your hands until you can form large crumbs.

Place the apple quarters on the batter (incisions up) and place the streusel on top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.

Let rest for five minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

Santana Apple Cake