Serves 8

Sweet yeast dough:
3-4 cups of flour
1 1/2 package of yeast
1cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shortening (butter)
2 eggs

Vanilla Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk or heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
Brandy or rum to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla

Extra Caramel Sauce to pour over Dampfnudel:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 CUP maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash vanilla

1. In food Processor combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt. Add soft butter and eggs and warm milk. Mix with a few on and off turns till you have a ball on the metal blade. Add more milk if it is too dry or more flour if too wet. Keep the dough at room temperature and let it rise for an hour or so, knead again roll out cut with a glass in rounds and let rise again.
2. Take a heavy pot, melt butter in it, add some sugar, brown it and add a little milk. Cover and cook for 10-15 min on very low. Do not pick lid up during the first 10 minutes or so in order to allow them to rise. Put a little caramel sauce on each of the Dampfnudel.
3. Vanilla Sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the flour, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles. Then gradually add 1 cup of the milk or cream, stirring until thick. Add the sugar, brandy or rum, and vanilla.
4. Caramel sauce: In a saucepan mix 2 cups of the sugar with 1/4 cup of the water. Very gradually add the remaining water. Boil until smooth. Add the butter, syrup, cream, and vanilla. Continue boiling until thick.


Germans often serve it in the afternoon, when they are having “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake).

Makes about 20 pieces

4 1/2 c. flour, divided
1 cube of fresh yeast or 1 package dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. lukewarm milk (110°F)1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
1 c. butter, divided
1 egg
2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Place 4 cups of flour in a mixing bowl and make a hollow in it with the back of a spoon. Crumble fresh yeast or sprinkle dry yeast in the hollow, fill with the lukewarm milk, add a pinch of sugar and mix a little to incorporate some of the flour. Let the sponge sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.
2. After the yeast is activated and showing strong growth, add the egg, 7 tablespoons of softened butter and 3/4 cup of sugar to the milk and mix the dough, incorporating the flour as you go. You may also use a stand mixer for this step. Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and forms a ball. Add a little more flour if necessary. Form dough into a ball, place in a greased bowl, turning once, and cover. Let rise 15 to 30 minutes.
3. Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thickness on a lightly floured board and transfer to a jellyroll pan (10 x 15 inches). Let it rest again for 15 minutes while preheating oven to 375°F.
4. Dimple the top of the dough all over, using your fingers or the back of a wooden spoon. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon together and sprinkle evenly over dough. Cut 9 tablespoons of butter into small flocks and spread it evenly over the dough.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cake is done and the sugar/cinnamon mixture has melted together and caramelized a little. If you feel the need, turn on the broiler for the last 3 minutes of baking, watching carefully so that the topping does not burn.
6. Optional: Mix 1/4 cup of sugar with enough water to dissolve the sugar (1/4-1/2 cup) and brush this sugar water on the hot cake right after you take it out of the oven.

Tip : This cake freezes well. After defrosting, crisp it up a few minutes in a 350°F oven.

(German Creampuffs)

Makes 3 large or 18 mini creampuffs

5 oz water
2 oz butter,unsalted
pinch of salt
3 oz plain flour
2 eggs
3 1/3 oz whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla
1. In a pot bring 5 oz water to a boil, add butter and melt. Season with a pinch of salt. Remove from heat and add the flour all at once. Stir briskly using a wooden spoon.
2. Mixture will come away from sides of pot and form a ball. First add only one egg to the choux pastry and stir. Add the second egg and stir until a sleek dough result. Pre-heat the oven to 430 F. Fill the dough in a pastry bag with a star shaped tube.
3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pipe 18 small balls or 3 large cream puffs on the tray 2 inches apart. To make the cream puffs rise and become fluffy sprinkle a little water on the tray and shut the oven door immediately.
4. Do not open the door during baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Put on a wire rack to cool and pierce each cream puff on the side with a knife so that the hot air can exhaust. Mix the cream with the vanilla and whisk until you have stiff peaks. Fill the cream in a separate pastry bag with a long thin tube.
5. After the cream puffs are cooled completely fill them using the hole you cut earlier with the knife. Cream puffs taste best when fresh from the oven.

Tip : Freeze mini cream puffs and serve them half-frozen with coffee. Delicious!

Kirsch Streuselkuchen
(Streusel Cake with Cherries) 

This homemade streusel cake with fruit filling is the closest German cooks get to a pie. While the concept is similar, slant-sided pies are an American tradition which came straight from the British. Here, the streusel crust is much richer than pie dough and is pressed into a springform pan, keeping to a true cake form. Use any fruit, especially stone fruit, thickened with cornstarch (Germans would use potato starch) or even tapioca, for the filling if you like.

Makes about 10 slices

1 1/2 c. washed and pitted cherries (or 2, 14 oz. cans)
1 1/2 c. cherry juice from cherries or cans
1 3 oz. package of vanilla pudding (US - style)
3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour (400 grams)
1 c. sugar
1 T. vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp. extract)
1/4 tsp. double acting baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 whole eggs (100 grams)
14 T. butter (250 grams)

1. Prepare Filling for Streusel Cake
2. Wash and pit fresh cherries to make about 1 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) and save any juice that comes off the fruit. If you are using canned cherries, drain, reserving juice, and set aside. You may use sweet or sour cherries (or combine them).
3. Measure juice from cherries and add water or juice to make 1 1/2 cups.
4. Prepare pudding according to the directions, but with juice NOT milk.
5. If you do not have pudding, mix 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 4 tablespoons of sugar and some vanilla extract and cook into a pudding (see instructions)
6. After pudding thickens, stir in cherries and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the streusel
7. You may also use canned pie filling to make this cake even easier. You will probably need 2, 14 ounce cans of filling.
8. Prepare the Streusel
9. Mix the flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Add cold butter chunks and the eggs. Mix by either rubbing the ingredients with your hands, or use a mixer on low speed. Mix until crumbs are formed.
10. Assemble the Streusel Cake
11. Press 2/3 of the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a buttered, 9-inch springform pan. Make the sides at least 1 inch tall. Make sure the dough is packed and no holes remain.
12. Use a 9-inch deep dish pie pan or maybe 2 8-inch pie pans if you do not have a springform pan.
13. Pour the fruit on top of the unbaked crust. Do not fill above your crust, even if you have filling left over.
14. Using the rest of the dough, crumble streusel over the top.
15. Bake at 350°F for 45 - 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving or the filling will be runny.
16. You may sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the top for a nice presentation. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Russischer Zupfkuchen 
(Cheesecake with Chocolate Streusel)

Called "Russischer Zupfkuchen", but it's not clear why, this traditional German cake has a chocolate crumb crust and a quark-cheesecake filling. The streusel topping is part of the crust recipe - "gezupft" or pulled (torn).

Makes about 16 pieces

For the dough :
1 quart unflavored yogurt (or 500 grams quark)
For the Crust and Streusel :
2/3 c. sugar (137 grams)
10 T. butter, softened (137 grams)
2 1/3 c. flour (275 grams)
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (40 grams)
1 1/2 tsp. double acting baking powder
1 large egg

For the Filling :
3 eggs, separated
1/2 c. plus 2 T. sugar, divided (120 grams)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 c. cornstarch (30 grams)
1/2 c. oil (120 ml)
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Place a clean cloth in a colander which is placed over a large bowl, spoon the yogurt into it, fold the cloth over the top, add a small plate and a heavy can or glass of water on top for a weight. Let the whey drip into the bowl for about an hour or more. Then use in the filling (see below). This is called yogurt cheese.
2. If you have access to quark, use it straight from the package.
3. Preheat oven to 380°F.
4. Crust: Mix the first four ingredients for the crust until fine crumbs form. Add egg and mix again until the dough comes together in larger crumbs, like streusel. If still too dry, you may add a teaspoon or two of water.
5. Press 2/3 of the crust into a 10 inch buttered springform pan or two pie pans. Reserve rest for streusel topping.
6. Filling: Beat the 3 egg whites until foamy. Drizzle in 1/2 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt and beat until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. You should NOT be able to cut the egg whites with a knife.
7. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it - omit the vanilla extract), add the yogurt cheese or quark and lemon zest and beat until smooth.
8. Sift the cornstarch over the quark mixture and mix well.
9. Fold in the egg whites.
10. Pour the quark (yogurt) mixture over the crust.
11. Top with the remaining streusel.
12. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for 15 minutes, or until set in the middle.
13. This cake tastes even better the second day and should be refrigerated.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

This authentic German cake is made up of a chocolate layer cake with cherries in the middle and whipped cream on top. It is a fairly simple cake to put together, despite it looking complicated.

Makes about 12 servings

1 chocolate cake 9 inch (see below), divided into 2 layers
1 can (15 oz.) whole sweet cherries in syrup
1/2 c. sugar, divided
1/4 c. cornstarch
6 T. Kirschwasser (cherry schnapps, optional)
2 1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 - 2/3 c. powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla sugar
Grated chocolate for decoration
12 maraschino cherries for decoration

Note: The recipe for chocolate sponge cake is used in Black Forest Cherry Cake . You should make this cake or other favorite chocolate layer cake (or mix) several hours before you finish it. A cake made in a springform pan should be cut in half (you can use string for this) and filled. Thin layer cakes can be used as is (1 cake mix should be used for 3 layers).

1. Split cake in 2 pieces as follows: Carefully cut around the circumference of the cake with a sharp knife, about 1/2 inch deep. Take a long piece of thread, line it up with the cut and pull it through the cake, dividing it in half horizontally. Place top half on a piece of waxed paper. Place the bottom half on a cake plate with 4-5 short pieces of waxed paper under it and sticking out. These are to be pulled out before serving so you have a clean cake plate.
2. Place 1/4 cup sugar in a pan with drained juice from the cherries plus water to equal 1 cup liquid. Bring to a boil. Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch with 4 tablespoons of the juice and pour into the hot liquid, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil for a few seconds, until sauce has thickened and is clear. Remove from heat, stir in cherries and Kirschwasser or schnapps and cool.
3. Boil the other 1/4 cup sugar with 1/3 cup water for several minutes. Remove from heat, stir in remaining schnapps and use this mixture to brush over base of cake until absorbed.
4. Whip whipping cream until stiff, adding powdered sugar and vanilla sugar about halfway through, to taste. You may add Whip It cream stiffener or gelatin to help it stay set, if you are not serving the cake right away.
5. Place the cooled cherries in the middle of the bottom cake layer, leaving about an inch of space on the edge. Spoon the whipped cream around the edge and over the cherries, slightly. Place the top cake layer on the cake. Using a spatula, cover the edges of the cake with a thin layer of whipped cream and smooth. Cover the top in the same way. Using a pastry bag and tip, use the rest of the whipped cream to form 12 puffs around the edges and place a maraschino cherry on top of each puff. Make a circle of whipped cream in the middle and sprinkle chocolate curls inside to finish.
6. Refrigerate until serving. Remove wax paper carefully, using a spatula to repair any holes. Wipe off knife between cuts.

Gingerbread Heart Lebkuchenherzen or Gingerbread Hearts are very popular in open air markets such as Christmas Markets, Oktoberfeste, Kirmes or Schützenfeste. They usually hang from ribbons and carry cute sayings in the center. You give them to friends or lovers or your family to express your feelings.

When you bake them at home and decorate them, you can say exactly what you like.

Makes 2 - 3 giant hearts or several smaller hearts

TIP : This dough should rest overnight before baking for best results.

TIP: After they are baked, the cookies will last for months at room temperature.

7 T. butter (100 grams)
3/4 c. honey (275 grams)
5/8 c. (10 tablespoons) sugar (100 grams)
2 1/2 T. cocoa powder
1 T. Lebkuchengewürz (6 grams spice mixture)
5 c. flour (600 grams)
1 1/2 tsp. single or double acting baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg

1. Bring the butter, honey, sugar, spices and cocoa powder to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Boil for several minutes until sugar dissolves, then remove from heat and cool slightly.
2. Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder into a bowl. Make a depression in the bowl and add the egg, then pour the honey mixture over the flour and mix on low speed until a ball of dough can be formed.
3. The ball of dough might still be shaggy, but will form a smooth dough as it cools down so do not add extra flour.
4. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and put in a safe place at room temperature for 4 to 48 hours.
5. When you are ready, heat the oven to 350°F. Roll out 1/2 of the dough to 1/2 inch thickness on a lightly floured board.
6. Use a large, heart-shaped cookie cutter or your own template to cut out large, heart shaped cookies.
7. The hearts in the picture were made using a template I cut from a piece of Letter sized paper (approximately 8 by 10 inches), folded in half and cut into a half heart shape. I trimmed it until I was happy with the shape. Then I placed it on the dough and cut around it with a table knife.
8. If you want to hang these hearts from a ribbon, create one or two holes about 3/4 of an inch below the rim of the cookie before you bake it.
9. Repeat with other half of cookie dough. This dough does not re-roll well, so take care to roll it into the right size the first time.
10. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until cookies are set in the middle and lightly browned on the bottom. Bake the trimmed scraps to use for practice decorating.
11. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet. They will harden as they cool. Although they are edible, this dough is most often used to make decorative cookies which are hung on the wall (or around the recipient's neck) and are seldom eaten.
12. Use tinted royal icing to decorate the cookies. You only need about half of the recipe, but you will want to practice decorating with your baked scraps and you may want to use several colors, so make the whole batch.
13. Tint some of the frosting in a separate bowl using normal food coloring. Sometimes, it is nice when the frosting is not completely tinted, creating swirls of lighter and darker colors as you pipe it.
14. Place the frosting in a decorator bag with a leaf tip attached to make the border. Use a writing tip for the words. More information on filling and using pastry bags here.
15. Decorate as you like. It is traditional to write cute sayings in the center and give the cookies to people you like.

Useful Phrases
"Ich liebe Dich" (I love you)
"Ich mag Dich" (I like you)
"Spatzl" (little sparrow)
"Weil i Di mog" (Because I like you - in Munich dialect)
"Für mein Mädl" (for my girl)
"Ich hab Dich (sooo) lieb" (I like you sooo much)
"Zum Muttertag (etc.)" (for mother's day)
"Drück mich" (hug me)
"Markus + Claudia" (or Mike + Jen, etc.)
"Meine Kuschelmaus" (my snuggle-mouse)
"No. 1 Lehrer" (Number One Teacher)
"#1 Mutti" (Number 1 mother, etc.)

Gebrannte Mandeln 
(Candied Almonds)

Burnt sugar almonds are called "gebrannte Mandeln" in German and are most often purchased at open air markets such as "Kirmes" "Schuetzenfeste" or "Weihnachtsmaerkte".

Burnt sugar almonds are caramelized sugar-coated nuts, usually cooked fresh in copper kettles at the festival. Sometimes you can buy them still warm, but they become harder, like brittle, when completely cool. Served in small paper cones in 100 gram portions, "gebrannte Mandeln are a treat you should not pass up if you see them at a stand.

TIP : Use a heavy pot 4-6 quart size. NOT a non-stick pan and a wooden spoon

12 oz. raw, whole almonds, about 1 3/4 cups
1/3 cup sugar plus 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. First, scrape the inside of the vanilla bean and add it to the 1/3 cup sugar. I put mine through a sieve with the sugar to break up the sticky seeds and mix it well. Set aside.
2. Instead of throwing it away, you can always put the rest of the vanilla bean in with your vanilla sugar to boost its aroma.
3. Add the 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the heavy saucepan and set it over medium heat. Stir to mix, then bring it to a boil before adding the almonds.
4. Add the almonds to the pan after the sugar water comes to a boil. Stir over high heat, to boil the water away.
5. The sugar will finally dry out and the almonds will take on a grey-brown tinge. Keep stirring, so that the almonds do not burn on the bottom of the pan.
6. Turn the heat under the pan to medium or medium-low, to keep the sugar from browning too fast and burning.
7. Turn burner to medium-low.
8. At this stage, the sugar heats up and starts to melt. It is already brown from the cinnamon, so it is hard to see the color change. Just keep stirring, so that the almonds become evenly browned and about half of the sugar is melted and gives the almonds a shiny coat.
9. A second coating of sugar is added at this point.
10. Pour the reserved 1/3 cup sugar over the almonds and stir. Keep stirring, watching the sugar melt and coat the almonds.
11. Fresh almonds will start crackling or popping about now. This is residual water in the water expanding or escaping. If the almonds are older, there will not be as much noise.
12. Keep stirring until the almonds are fairly shiny, but still a bit lumpy. They will stick together but you will separate them later. When they are shiny, but not burnt (this takes careful watching and decisiveness) remove from heat.
13. Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet. They are very hot, so only use a spoon. You may also use buttered foil or a buttered cookie sheet, but here I used a non-stick cookie sheet.
14. While they are cooling, keep breaking them apart. When they are cool enough, continue breaking them apart with your fingers until they are all separated.
15. The burnt sugar almonds can be eaten warm, but when they are fully cooled, the candy coating hardens to a nice crunch. Store them in a dry, closed container. They keep for several weeks, if you can refrain from eating them, but almonds will eventually go rancid, so do not keep them too long.
16. If you need a thicker coating, remove the almonds to a sieve, melt another cup of sugar in the pan and return the almonds to the caramelized sugar, stirring well. Add several spritzers of water to help the sugar coat evenly. Spread on a cookie sheet and cool as described.

TIP : The clean up is very easy. Fill the pan with water and let it soak a few minutes. The sugar dissolves in the excess water and is simple to remove.

(or Berliner or Krapfe)
(German doughnuts)

Call them Berliner, Pfannekuchen or Krapfen, donuts have their high season in January and February at the Carnival. You can fill them before or after frying them, or leave them plain, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Makes 2 dozen 2 1/2 inch filled donuts

4 1/2 - 5 c all-purpose flour
1 package fresh yeast or 2 1/2 tsp dried yeast
1 1/4 c lukewarm milk (110°F)
3 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 T softened butter
4 egg yolks
Oil for deep frying

1. Place 4 1/2 cups flour in a bowl. Create a well in the center of the flour. Mix the yeast with the sugar and milk until dissolved and pour into the well. Mix in a little flour from the sides, cover with a towel and let sit in a warm spot 15 minutes, or until a bubbly sponge has formed.
2. To the sponge add the salt, the butter in several pieces and the egg yolks. Mix with a spoon or your hand from the inside to the outside, gradually incorporating the flour, until a soft dough forms. Add a little more flour, if necessary. Knead for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
3. Make dough into a ball, cover with some plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out, and let rise in a warm spot until doubled.
4. For filled donuts (jelly, chocolate, marzipan, etc.): Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick (or a little less), cut rounds (2 1/2 - 3 1/2 inches) out with a biscuit cutter, reusing dough only twice (make the last couple into knots or pretzels).
5. Place about a teaspoon of filling onto a circle of dough, paint the edge with egg white and place a second circle on top. Press firmly to seal edges. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes. Filling can be chocolate, marzipan, vanilla or jelly.
6. For unfilled donuts or donuts that you will fill later: Roll out twice as thick (3/4 inches), cut circles out and let rise for 20 minutes.
7. Heat oil to 350°F (test with candy or deep fat thermometer). Fry only the amount that fits into your fryer without touching each other. Slide the donuts into the hot fat quickly, cover and fry for 3 minutes. Turn over and fry for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown.

(Marzipan potatoes)

Marzipankartoffeln are traditionally given to friends in little bags or placed on the "Adventsteller" (plate of goodies set out at Christmastime).

Makes 2-3 dozen marzipan potatoes (less than 1 inch diameter each)

1 1/3 c. ground almonds (125 grams)
1 1/8 c. powdered sugar (125 grams)
3 T. rosewater or orange petal water (traditional flavorings) OR cointreau, or similar liqueur
A few drops of bitter almond aroma OR 1 tsp. vanilla
4 T. cocoa powder
1 tsp. cinnamon

1. Mix all ingredients in the food processor or by hand until well blended and sticky. Add additional liquids a little at a time until the dough clumps together. Remove from food processor.
2. Using one tablespoon or less of the marzipan, form small potato-like balls. Some people form perfectly smooth, round balls instead of potato shapes.
3. Mix the cocoa powder and cinnamon together in a bowl. Roll the balls in the cocoa and cinnamon and set apart on parchment paper to dry.

Note: If you want the potatoes to be very traditional, use 1 egg white with the above recipe, and reduce the rosewater/liqueur.