Wednesday 22 December 2010

Christmas Biscuit Presses

Christmas baking always gets me thinking about baking tools. With our 1950's Kenwood Cake Mixer (passed down from a dear friend) in the repair shop, my DDs and I had to modify some of our baking plans.

I am glad to report that the Mixer is in good hands and was told by the repairman that they don't make them like this anymore. How true. I think it's the same with sewing machines as well. I do almost all my sewing on a 1950's Husquarna and Elna. For decorative stitching over applique I move to my DDs Brother which has some lovely embellishments... Actually, my first ever posting on this blog discussed my desire for a new sewing machine with all it's improvements... and my longing for quality and durability you can only get when machines were actually made to last a woman her lifetime. They just don't make them like that anymore!

Going through our drawers of baking tools I marvelled a little that we are still using the same nut grinder I purchased over 30 years ago. You can see by the colour that it's a genuine vintage!

Each year when we pull out the box of decorations and Chritsmassy things, I always find something I had forgot about and the memories of so many past Christmases come flooding back.

30 years ago I was living in Hamburg and I had an 8 week old baby when I went out and purchased this Biscuit Press.

How can I be so sure? I taped the receipt inside the box! It cost, I cant remember if that was expensive or not...what I do know is that I used the biscuit press over many many years.

Last year my youngest DD snapped the lever hinge, however if she hadn't I have no doubt that it would have been in service for another 30 years.

It seems naive and fanciful to expect anything to last that long nowadays.

The Biscuit Press we replaced it with last year, at
AU 49.95 (overpriced), appears to be fancier. It has it's own box and is sleek in black and silver. It works just fine but it doesn't have the charm the Gerda one had.

The real test however is in the 'insider' recipe. The Gerda recipe for the biscuit dough is excellent, whereas my new biscuit press' recipe tastes oily and is not pleasant at all. I struck it out immediately once I had made a batch. That is such a shame for I think a lot of women will be turned off this tool if they only ever try the recipe enclosed and recommended.

I have been asked a few times for the recipe I use in my biscuit press biscuits, so here it is:

Vanilla Biscuits 
180gm butter
100 gm sugar
Tablespoon Vanilla extract
2 eggs
250gm flour
80 gms finely ground walnuts or almonds
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and spices. Sift in the flour, fold in the nut meal.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. 
Press onto non greased trays. Bake for 10 minutes at a moderate oven of about 180c-200c

Something interesting about this press is that all the discs in the new model are exactly the discs available in the Gerda 30 years ago. They must all be made at the same place!

This year I have started making an effort to write down recipes that I watched my mother and other women bake so that I can pass it on to my DDs.

Cooking seems to be very fashionable at the moment, and it seems to me that lot of traditional recipes have been tweaked so much that it is hard to get the real thing when you go looking for it.

Also, there are recipes which I always had in my head and knew off by heart....which I have now forgotten ...and a few that I have misplaced.
One of these was Bear Paws.

Luckily for me, Radka made a batch over on her blog and I am so delighted that she has shared the recipe as I have been meaning to hunt it down and make some for a few years now. How kind and generous. Thank you Radka!

It's only a few days now until Christmas. I really feel for all the people stuck in queues, stuck in airports, away from home, and of course, for all the people literally left out in the cold.

It's warming up again here with a forecast of 28c for Christmas Day. I can't complain as it has been unseasonably cool this December and I don't like freezing temperatures either.

Something that I am taking back this Christmas is time. No wasted time in car parks, in shopping centres, in the post office, in the bank. No, we are having a simple Christmas. After all, I can shop and queue anytime of the year.
I am taking it easy, doing things around the home, stenciling a quilt for my DDs birthday which is straight after Christmas and tomorrow I plan on baking stollen and potica with my DDs. I know, I am leaving it a little late. But after all, what's the hurry?

1 comment:

  1. I love this story! Funny how it says "1 year guarantee" on the box - they surely provided that! Also the "unzerbrechlich" is not an exaggeration after 30 years of faithful service. My parents had (actually they still have it) a german-made (ex-DDR) mixer from the seventies that was used A LOT by my mother and it has never been in repair. I wish I could say that about my coffee machines - each new one lasts less than the previous did - and no, we are not getting more careless, or buying cheaper ones. Go figure!

    I wish I could try your buiscuits ... mmmm


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