Monday, March 3, 2014

Carnival Pastries - Mutzemandeln (Fried Almond Cookies)


Today, on “Rose Monday” (Rosenmontag), I am posting the recipe for my personal favorite sweet Carnival treat, namely “Fried Almond Cookies” (Mutzemandeln).
Heute, am Rosenmontag gibt es ein Rezept für mein persönliches Karnevals-Lieblinggebäck, Mutzemandeln.




Mutzemandeln are almond-shaped pastries or cookies made from a medium stiff dough with baking powder as a leavening agent. The dough is prepared with or without ground almonds, then some cinnamon, pure vanilla sugar, and some dark rum (or whole milk). Having tried both versions many times, I much prefer the version containing almonds to the ones with no ground almonds added to the dough and we do love the taste of ground nuts, particularly almonds, in all kinds of baked goods.

During Canival season you can buy these cookies at many bakeries in Cologne and in the lower Rhine region, but they are also easy to make at home and they do taste so much better when you bake them yourself.
Mutzemandeln sind mandelförmige Kekse, die aus einem relativ festen Teig mit Backpulver als Triebmittel hergestellt werden. Der Teig kann, je nach Geschmack, mit oder ohne gemahlene Mandeln gemacht, dann wird noch etwas Zimt, Vanillezucker und etwas dunkler Rum (oder Vollmilch) dazu gegeben. Nachdem wir beide Versionen oft und gerne ausprobiert haben, bevorzugen wir definitiv die Version mit Mandeln, da wir generell den Geschmack von Nüssen, besonders Mandeln, in Backwaren sehr schätzen.

Man kann diese traditionellen Kekse in vielen Bäckereien in Köln und im Rheinland während des Karnevals kaufen, aber wenn man sie selbst macht, schmecken sie doch um einiges besser und sind meist viel frischer – einfach unschlagbar.




Once you have prepared the cookie dough, it has to be rolled out and, here comes the fun part, you cut out the cookies using a special cookie cutter that cuts twenty almond shaped cookies at the same time. The cookies get fried in vegetable shortening, or oil, drained on paper towels and dusted with powdered sugar while still lukewarm.
Der Teig muss ausgerollt werden und mit einem speziellen Mutzemandelausstecher ausgestochen werden. So kann man zwanzig Mutzemandeln gleichzeitig ausstechen, was natürlich auch Zeit spart. Die Kekse werden in Fett ausgebacken, auf Küchenpapier abgetropft und nach dem Ausbacken mit Puderzucker bestäubt, am besten wenn sie noch lauwarm sind.




While the special cookie cutter might not be available everywhere (www.staedter.de), the cookies can also be cut out by using a tear drop cookie cutter set, such as the one from Ateco (Ateco Tear Drop Metal Cookie Cutter Set available for example at www.amazon.com).
Man kann den speziellen Ausstecher bestellen (www.staedter.de), oder man kann die Kekse auch mit einem tropfenförmigen Ausstecher machen, oder sogar einzeln per Hand formen.





Fried Almond Cookies

Ingredients for the Cookies
  • 3 eggs (L), organic or free range 
  • 3 tbs dark rum (or whole milk)
  • 175 grams (6 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 75 grams (2,6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 200 gram (7 ounces) almond meal
  • 400 grams (14 ounces) wheat (AP) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla sugar (homemade or store bought)

In addition
  • some flour for the work surface
  • a special cookie cutter
  • some powdered sugar for dusting the fried cookies
  • fat/vegetable shortening for frying
Mutzemandeln

Zutaten für die Kekse
  • 3 Eier (L), Bio oder Freiland 
  • 3 EL Rum (oder Vollmilch)
  • 175 Gramm Puderzucker, gesiebt
  • 75 Gramm Butter, Zimmertemperatur
  • 200 Gramm Mandeln, gemahlen 
  • 400 Gramm  Weizenmehl
  • 2 TL Backpulver
  • eine Prise feines Meersalz
  • 1/2 TL Ceylon-Zimt
  • 2 TL Bourbon Vanillezucker (oder selbstgemacht)

Außerdem
  • etwas Mehl für die Arbeitsfläche
  • ein Mutzemandelausstecher
  • etwas Puderzucker zum Bestäuben
  • Pflanzenfett/Öl zum Ausbacken



Preparation of the Cookies
  1. With an electric hand mixer or a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs together with the rum (if using) or the milk, until frothy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and continue whisking for a few minutes.
  3. Cut the softened butter into small pieces and gradually add to the dough mixture.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together almond meal, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and vanilla sugar.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and slowly beat until the whole dough comes together (it will be sticky).
  6. Half the dough and wrap the pieces well. Place in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  7. In a deep fryer heat your oil or vegetable shortening until it reaches 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Take one half of the dough out of the fridge.
  8. Divide the dough into four parts. While rolling out 1/4 of the dough to a 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) thickness, you can keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator.
  9. Cut out the cookies preferably using an almond or tear shaped cookie cutter.
  10. Deep-fry the cookies (20 at a time) for about three to five minutes or until they have a deep golden color.
  11. Transfer to a paper-lined cookie sheet to get rid of some of the fat used for frying.
  12. While still lukewarm, liberally dust with powdered sugar and serve.

NOTE: Should you not be able to get the specialty cookie cutter, you can always make these cookies using the following technique: form the dough into 1.5 cm thick rolls. Cut the rolls into 2 cm long pieces and shape each piece into a teardrop-shaped cookie.
Zubereitung der Mutzemandeln
  1. Mit einem elektrischen Handmixer oder Standmixer die Eier zusammen mit dem Rum oder der Milch, schaumig rühren.
  2. Den Puderzucker hinzufügen und für einige Minuten weiter rühren.
  3. Die weiche Butter in kleine Stücke schneiden und nach und nach zu der Eiermasse hinzufügen.
  4. In einer Schüssel Mandeln, Mehl, Backpulver, Salz, Zimt und Vanillezucker miteinander mischen. 
  5. Die Buttermischung zur Mehlmischung hinzufügen und langsam verrühren bis ein homogener Teig entsteht (der Teig ist recht klebrig).
  6. Den Teig halbieren und die Teighälften in Klarsichtfolie einwickeln. Für eine gute Stunde in den Kühlschrank legen.
  7. Das Fett auf 180 Grad in der Fritteuse oder in einem hohen Topf erhitzen. Die eine Hälfte des Teig aus dem Kühlschrank nehmen.
  8. Die Teighälfte in vier gleiche Teile aufteilen. Jedes Teigstück auf der bemehlten Arbeitsfläche zu einer Dicke von 1 Zentimeter ausrollen. Man sollte den Rest des Teigs in der Zwischenzeit im Kühlschrank lassen.
  9. Die Mutzemandeln ausstechen – entweder mit einem speziellen Ausstecher oder einem anderen tropfenförmigen Ausstecher.
  10. Die Mutzemandel ausbacken (20 auf einmal) – das dauert zirka drei bis fünf Minuten oder solange, bis die Kekse goldgelb sind.
  11. Auf einem mit Küchenkrepp ausgelegten Backblech die fertigen Kekse gut abtropfen lassen.
  12. Während die Kekse noch lauwarm sind, reichlich mit Puderzucker bestäuben und möglichst frisch genießen.

TIPP: Sollte man keinen Mutzemandelausstecher besitzen, kann man die Mutzemandeln auch mit den Fingern formen. Dafür aus dem Teig 1,5 cm dicke Rollen formen. Die Rollen in 2 cm lange Stücke schneiden und daraus kleine tropfenförmige Mandeln formen.




While the cookies taste best the day they are made, they do keep well for up to a week if properly stored. If we have any left-over cookies, I like to use a large glass or porcelain container to keep them as fresh as possible.
Obwohl die Mutzemandeln direkt nach dem Backen und noch lauwarm natürlich am besten schmecken, kann man sie jedoch gut bis zu einer Woche lang aufbewahren. Dabei sollte man allerdings darauf achten, dass man die Kekse am besten in einer Porzellandose oder einem Glasgefäß gelagert werden.




32 comments:

  1. Diese Kekse schauen einfach köstlich aus.
    Wunderbar zur Karnevalszeit, aber ich glaube ich könnte sie das ganze Jahr lang essen :)

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    1. Daniela, die Mutzemandeln sind tatsächlich sehr lecker, egal wann man sie genießt - sind meine persönlich liebsten traditionellen Karnevalskekse, die ich auch mal gerne so zubereite, ohne dass es Karneval sein muss.
      Herzlichen Dank für den netten Kommentar!

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  2. These look fantastic Andrea! As much as I hate frying, I love eating fried things :) I would definitely be open to frying these, they look so good!

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    1. Dear Nazneen, fried treats seldomly make an appearance at our house but when they do, I certainly make sure that I make the best treats possible. And these cookies are certainly worth making. They taste best while still warm and we always look forward to enjoying them.Thank you for the nice comment!

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  3. What an interesting cookie cutter!!

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    1. Emily, it sure is and it makes the life of a cookie baker so much easier!

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  4. Die Muzenmandeln sehen sooooo lecker aus, aber auf diese Kalorien muss ich leider verzichten.... das Anschauen dieser Fotos macht mir grosse Freude :-) Danke!

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    1. Liebe Wally, also falls du doch mal Mutzemandeln machen möchtest, kann ich dir diese Rezept sehr ans Herz legen, ich habe unzählige Versionen probiert und keine schmecken so gut wie diese Mutzemandeln mit Mandeln, Zimt und echter Vanille - wirklich unschlagbar wurde mir aus verläßlicher Quelle gesagt.
      Liebe Dank für den Kommentar!

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  5. A fried cookie sounds amazing, also in love with the cookie cutters.

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    1. Cheri, thank you so much - that cookies cutter is fun to use and so handy - it makes an easy task of making a ton of these cookies.

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  6. These look so good! Much better than the king cakes out here, yuck.

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    1. Ashley, thank you - I know about the King Cake (having heard and seen a lot about it) but I have never baked one myself - we go for these fried sweet treats during Carnival season.

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  7. Love these cookies, It should definitely be tasty with ground almonds and I am ready to have these wonderful cookies anytime...

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    1. These cookies are wonderful, they have a distinct taste of almonds, vanilla and cinnamon - a real treat if you like those flavors!

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  8. Fried almond cookies! Oh my, but these sound wonderful!

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    1. Adri, thank you for the comment and the link-ups on FB. Love that title "Certified Frybabe" and yes, I will definitely bake some of the "Berliners" soon - the kids will love you for your suggestions as they really like those jam-filled German-style donuts with that funny name that you can find in bakeries all year round, not only during Carnival season.

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  9. Thanks for your comment on Facebook - good to know these can be made in a skillet! They look so good, and I love the cookie cutter - ganz toll! All your beautiful accoutrements are just amazing - the papers, ribbons - and the nut grinder, too! Thanks for another beautiful post! ~ David

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    1. David, these cookies can certainly be made in a cast-iron skillet - when I fry smaller batches, that´s what I like to use. The vintage "almond mill" (Mandelmühle) is one of my favorite collectibles, you attach it to the kitchen counter, fill it with almonds and press down with the wooden cover while trying to turn the handle - is was the way to grind those nuts before those electric nut/spice grinders were available - quite frankly, they look wonderful and I love them as props but they are a true pain to use, trust me!

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  10. I never had fried almond cookies...but from the sound and look of it , they must taste delicious...crunchy and loaded with almond. Beautiful pictures Andrea.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week :D

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    1. Juliana, fried cookies are a special treat .- along with all those other lovely and delicious treats that we indulge in for a few days during Carnival season. Thank you very much for the kind comment, Juliana!

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  11. " Liberally dust with powdered sugar" are the key words here. What's not to love about a fried almond cookies covered in powdered sugar.

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    1. Mary, they sure taste great with all that powdered sugar, particularly since the cookies itself are not all that sweet.

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  12. I can just imagine how good your cookies are while they are still warm. Love all your wonderful photos, you can almost feel the excitement of carnival. Are the old necklaces or badges something that are tossed out at the parades…they are very interesting.

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    1. Karen, actually the participants of the parades toss candies, flowers, chocolates, and small toys to the awaiting crowds...the so-called "Carnival medals" are handed out by the Carnival Princess and Prince to the members and special guests of the different Carnival groups. The more "vintage" they are, the more sought after collectors items they become.

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  13. Wow! These cookies look great. I don't know what's more appealing - the almond flavour or the cute shapes.

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    1. Beth, thanks so much - these cookies do have a fun shape and they taste just wonderful - lots af almond flavor, some cinnamon, some vanilla, exactly what we want our cookies to taste like.

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  14. These almond cookies look so beautiful...I would love to try this recipe, provided that I get the cookie mould. Very interesting!

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    1. Purabi, if you would like to make these, you can shape the cookies by hand - I described the technique in the recipe - no need to order the special cookie cutter. Thank you for the kind comment!

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  15. Oh Andrea, these sound wonderful! I love that cookie cutter too. It's such a great idea. I think someone needs to invent other shaped multiple cutters, it sure would save a lot of time. I know your kids gobbled these up!

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    1. Chris, these cookie cutters are the best - imagine making twenty ccokies at a time - I love all kinds of cookie cutters, new ones, vintage ones...but this big one is definitely one of my favorites.

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  16. Drooling.
    Can I come to your house to devour some of these little sins? XXx

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    1. Kim, absolutely - you are quite welcome to come to our house and enjoy some of these lovely pastries!!!

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