How to Bake Streifenkekse or Black-and-White Christmas Cookies: A Slideshow

Slices of Streifenkekse await their fate on the baking tray

When hubby was a laaitie (i.e. a young boy), one of his favourite types of Christmas cookies were something he called Streifenkekse (loosely translated from the German, this means something like ‘striped cookies’). They are also known as Schwarz-Weiß Gebäck (or ‘black-and-white cookies’). So when mom-in-law came to visit us over Christmas this year, hubby’s beloved Streifenkekse were immediately placed on our Must Bake With Lissi List.

And naturally, I was on hand to document the process with my trusty camera for my loyal readers. (It also meant I couldn’t do any of the hard work of actually kneading the dough, because I had to keep my hands clean for the camera ;-).)

Are you curious to see some pictures? Shall I give you the recipe too?

Add flour, butter, sugar and eggs to a large mixing bowl

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter (softened – if you live in South Africa, you can just leave it on the window sill for a half-hour)
  • 200g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 500g flour
  • 40g of cocoa

Recipe:

First, the easy part:

  1. Sieve the flour into a large bowl.
  2. Chop/slice up the butter into small pieces, and toss ontop of the flour.
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Crack open 2 eggs and add to the bowl.
  5. Add a few drops of vanilla essence if you have any; Germans like to add a packet of Vanille-zucker, which is a fine sugar impregnated with a delightful vanilla flavour.

Knead it all together until it's a firm ball of dough

Then, the messy part:

  1. Use your hands to mix together all the ingredients. It’s hard work, and you will feel your muscles in your hands and arms! You will need to knead-and-knead-and-knead until you have a nice, firm ball of dough. You may need a bit more flour if your dough is too sticky (the consistency of the dough seems to depend on the moisture content of the butter, and the size of the eggs, etc….).
  2. Separate the dough in half.
  3. Add the cocoa to one half of the dough, kneading it in thoroughly, until the colour of the dough has changed from pale yellow to a pleasing dark chocolate brown. If this mixture is a little too dry, you can add a teaspoon of milk.
  4. Optional: This depends on whether you have a keen Cookie Dough Taster in the kitchen – and whether you are in a giving mood: Remove at least one large tablespoon from each portion of dough, for Quality Control Purposes. If you receive The Nod of Approval – or even The Groan of Delight, or The Sigh of Contentment – you will know that your dough is indeed ready.
  5. You can, if you like, leave the dough in the fridge for half an hour to become cooler and firmer, but a few more tablespoons of dough may disappear while you aren’t watching. Do not tarry too long!

Roll out the dough into large rectangles

Now, the tricky part: 

  1. Tear off two large rectangles of wax paper, and dust a rolling pin lightly with some flour.
  2. Separate the lighter-coloured dough in half, and roll it out on one of the sheets of wax paper, until it’s a rectangular shape, roughly to the edges of the wax paper.
  3. Separate the darker-coloured dough in half, and roll this out on the second sheet of wax paper.
  4. You will need to flip the rectangle of dark dough over onto the rectangle of light dough (if possible, get another pair of hands to help you with this tricky manoeuvre!). Most likely, the edges of these two rectangles will not align perfectly, but don’t worry about poor aesthetics – it’s the taste that counts!
  5. Now, from the longer side of the rectangle, start to roll the dough into a long, thick ‘sausage’. Use the sheet of wax paper below to help you create this ‘sausage’.
  6. If you are a perfectionist (and if you have a rather insistent Cookie Dough Taster and Quality Controller hovering over your shoulder), you can slice off and hand over the two ends of the sausage, as these probably won’t look perfectly aesthetically pleasing.
  7. Slice up the rest of the sausage, placing the pieces on baking trays. (A Handy Tip: The more regular your rows are, the less likely it is that slices will mysteriously disappear while your back is turned.)
  8. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.

Carefully roll the dough into a thick sausage, trying not to dent it too much with your fingers

And the final part:

  1. The cookies will need a baking time of about 10-15 minutes at about 160-180 degrees Centigrade (less time and less heat if you use an oven with a convection fan that circulates the hot air).
  2. When they have turned a pleasing golden colour and have a crispy texture, they are perfect!

It looks like a lot - but they won't last very long!

Variations:

  • The nice thing with this recipe is that you can also vary the ingredients by adding cinnamon, or ginger, or grated lemon-rind, or some all-spice.
  • And if you want to make cut-out cookies, just roll out the dough a little thicker, and use whatever cookie-dough cutters you have available – whether it’s gingerbread men, or hearts and stars and moons, or various animal shapes.
  • If you want to decorate the cookies before they go into the oven, you can whip an egg (or just the yolk), and lightly brush this onto each cookie with a pastry brush. Sprinkle on some hundreds-and-thousands, or some of the little silver pearls, or some chocolate vermicelli, or whatever you like to use.
  • Once the cookies come out of the oven, you could also melt some dark chocolate and use a pastry brush to ‘paint’ the molten chocolate onto the cookies.
  • Or you can make some zesty icing by mixing together icing-sugar with a bit of lemon juice, and brushing that onto the baked cookies.
  • You can even use a straw to make a hole in the middle of your cookies before you bake them, so that you can thread a piece of ribbon through – then you can use them as rather delicious edible decorations!

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23 thoughts on “How to Bake Streifenkekse or Black-and-White Christmas Cookies: A Slideshow

  1. Loved this. The black and white cookies look incredible. At first I thought they were cinnamon buns. HA! I really enjoyed the slideshow showing minute by minute how they are made. Great job–once again.

    Are these cookies sweet or more like a shortbread, which I would describe as buttery.

    • Thank you, Al! I suspect they might not make it across the ocean in one piece, but then I haven’t tried to send biscuits in the mail for a looooooong time. Perhaps I should try again to see what happens? 😉

      • I have her recipe and it is very similar to yours. As you mention, the basic dough can be flavoured with various spices, or coffee or peanut butter or lemon rind or coconut or chopped nuts (although I think I like the pinwheels best). In our house these are known as freezer biscuits. My mom makes a big batch of dough, divides it up and flavours it in various ways, and rolls it into sausages. She then freezes the sausages of dough (separately on a baking tray to start and then, once frozen, all together in a bag). Whenever biscuits are required she defrosts a sausage, slices it up, pops them into the oven… and voilà, freshly baked biscuits!
        I’m so tempted to make a batch now but there is small matter of a new years resolution to cut down the consumption of baked goods 😦

      • Flavouring the dough with coffee, or coconut, or lemon rind – now those are appealing options! I’m allergic to peanuts, so I think I’ll skip the nutty alternative ;-).

        You know, I’ve never tried freezing the dough sausages? I’ve heard that this is possible, but does the dough really taste fresh when you defrost it a week or a month later?

        And yes, as to that New Year’s Resolution, it is also one of ours… 😦 sums up exactly how we feel about that too.

        Still on the baking front, I have been getting better at the bread-baking thing, so learning that recipe has definitely been a good thing!

  2. Oh lovely, I almost forgot about this type of cookies, haven´t seen them for years. We made them when I was a child, I don´t know what they were called, but I remember the taste of the paste thanks to your photos :-).Thank you for the recipe, I´ll make them again one day!

  3. These are beautiful cookies and I’m sure delicious. I love to bake, but these are what I refer to as “big production cookies”. I just don’t have the energy or time to make a big production cookie. Love the idea that your quality control officer uses a “groan of delight” or “sigh of contentment” to indicate cookie quality.

    • Yes, there’s a whole scale of sounds and notes to indicate the levels of quality…

      And yes, they can indeed be described as ‘big production cookies’, though the effort and time expended is totally worthwhile.

      Happy Baking!

  4. This brought back so many fond memories of my mother (also German) baking batches and batches of Christmas cookies. When I was a child, we were usually in some far-flung, remote corner of Southern Africa over Christmas, but always travelled with Christmas candles and decorations and of course big tins of cookies. How lucky you had your mother-in-law around to do the baking for you! I still want to get all my mother’s cookie recipes out of her. As well as her Kranskuchen recipe (made with strips of almond icing inside).

    • Wow… you travelled WITH all your Christmas candles, decorations and cookies? I am quite speechless.

      I am so glad that my Gran gave me copies of her Christmas recipes too; I still bake according to them, and I think it’s a lovely tradition. Don’t wait too long to ask your mom – perhaps you can even do some practice runs with her? 🙂 Just to make sure you get the technique right, you know… My Gran baked very intuitively – adding things for flavour when she felt like it, so much of that experiential knowledge isn’t written down.

  5. My mother is very into Christmas traditions. I have to point out that we were mostly camping, so you can imagine! We also travelled with our Advent calendars and all the nuts and chocolates for each person’s “bunten teller”. Although the nicely patterned plate usually had to be discarded after the first day for a tin or tupperware container – because of ants!

    • Lol! You also had “Bunte Teller”??! Oh wow, so did we! And Adventskalender?! Ohhh! I know, ants get in everyhere! This is so funny… I love such Christmas traditions, and it’s wonderful to hear when others have similar ones.

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