Can’t teach an old dog a new trick? Don’t think so! Let’s try something new today! After three cookbooks and close to eight years of blogging, I’m constantly amazed at how much I still enjoy working in our cozy little space here on the web. Although time is ever so limited and I don’t get the opportunity to post as much as I’d like to, logging into the back-end of this blog always feels like spending time with a good old friend.
The blog has been a total enabler, the exchange with food lovers all over the globe and the numerous friendships that have developed over the years proves how easy people connect over the subject of food. I can not (and certainly don’t want to) even imagine life without the countless food blogs I read and the vast cooking knowledge that is readily available on the web. It’s been an invaluable and huge contributor to my cooking and baking repertoire, which has evolved tremendously over the last decade. Would you like to know how to bake macarons? Check! There are some very helpful videos for that. How to braid challah with six strands? Well, believe it or not, there is a video for that, too!
To cut to the chase, from now on delicious:days will present video clips for selected recipes featuring more complicated steps – that said, please bear with us, we are just beginning to get into video editing … What’s up for starters? We’ll kick off with a regional sweet delicacy called Schneeballen (translates to “snowballs”), which is pretty common in various parts of Bavaria, especially during winter season. These ball-shaped dough strands are fried in clarified butter (or even lard!) before they get dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and slowly peel off layer by layer… mmmmhhhhh!
Prepare the dough: Sieve the flour onto your work surface (or into a large bowl) and mix with vanilla sugar, salt and optionally a little lemon zest. Cut the cold butter in cubes, toss them into the flour and quickly work it into the flour mixture by rubbing butter and flour together with your fingers until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
Form a well in the center, add the eggs, creme fraiche and some rum – if you like – before mixing the wet ingredients with a fork. Slowly start to mix in more and more of the flour before using your hands to knead everything together until it becomes a smooth and shiny dough.
Form into a log, cut off slices about as thick as your index finger and roll them out thinly on a well flour board. Use something round with the size of a dessert plate to cut out thin dough discs and give them their typical pattern with a pastry wheel.
Heat a generous amount of frying fat (esp. good: clarified butter or lard) in a deep pot to 175°C (~345° Fahrenheit) and fry one Schneeballen after another. Traditionally this special tool is used to ensure they keep their shape, but since I don’t have one, I used two smaller metal sieves. Fry until they turn light golden, they are not supposed to gain much color. Remove and drain on paper towels.
They keep well in an airtight container for several days. Generously dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Recipe source: adapted from Bayerisches Kochbuch, Maria Hofmann & Helmut Lydtin, p. 596
Prep time: 45-60 min.
Ingredients (10-12 pieces):
375 g all-purpose flour (plus more for working the dough)
50 g vanilla sugar
1 pinch of fine sea salt
zest of one organic, untreated lemon (optional)
50 g cold butter
3 medium eggs
2 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp rum (optional)
clarified butter for frying
confectioners' sugar for dusting