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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012
This recipe is a combination of several, including one from Sally Jo Hahn’s cousin Jutta Rahn and another from Buzz Moran’s grandmother Annie. It’s as close as Hahn has gotten so far to what her Oma once made.
1 cup Karo syrup (light or dark) or honey
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch ground star anise
4 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. potassium carbonate (pottasche)
Pinch ammonium carbonate (hirschhornsalz)
In a small saucepan, mix together the Karo syrup or honey, sugar and butter and bring to a boil. Let the caramel-like mixture cool. While that is cooling, whisk together the spices and flour in a large bowl. Reserve.
In a small bowl, heat 2 tbsp. water until warm but not hot. Dissolve the potassium carbonate and ammonium carbonate in the water and then add all to the cooled syrup/butter mixture.
Slowly add the syrup mixture to the flour mixture in small batches, incorporating the ingredients with a wooden spoon as you go so that the syrup doesn’t end up in a blob in the bottom of the bowl. Once the dough is starting to come together, you can use a stand-up mixer with a dough hook attachment to help bring it together, or you can continue to use a spoon and your hands.
When the dough can be pressed together into a ball, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. After the dough has cooled, place a chunk of the dough on a floured surface and roll into a long rope about as thick as your thumb. Place on a baking sheet and continue making ropes with the dough. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove ropes from fridge and cut into ½-inch pieces. Place pieces with a little space between them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until slightly puffed up and only slightly browned. Cool on a cookie rack. (You can toss them in powdered sugar when they are still warm, but this isn’t the Hahn family way.)
When completely cool, store in a sealed tin or glass jar. The cookies will continue to harden as they cool, but dipping them in coffee or milk will soften them.
— Recipe from Jutta Rahn, Ontario, Canada
Janice Friesen’s Oma’s recipe, which she says she makes in large batches to give cookies away to neighbors, family and friends this time of year, calls for shortening, baking powder and an egg, a totally different set of leavening agents, but one that makes for a similar, if less tooth-cracking cookie.
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup dark Karo syrup
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground star anise
5 cups flour, plus more for dusting
In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening with an electric mixer. In a small bowl, combine egg and Karo syrup, and in another large bowl, whisk together the salt, baking powder, spices and flour. Mix the wet ingredients together and then slowly add the flour.
On a floured surface, roll the dough into long ropes and then chill for at least an hour.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough ropes from fridge and cut into ½-inch pieces. Place pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes and let cool. Store in an airtight container.
— Recipe by Ann Friesen
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Readers’ recipes are often rich with stories, and we aim to highlight some of them in this occasional series called In Your Kitchen. Do you have a recipe you want to share with readers? Do you have a recipe you’re looking for that other readers might have? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 912-2504.