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EASY CHRISTMAS COOKIES – LADY LOCKS / SCHAUMROLLEN

Before you go see the wookie, be sure you bake the cookie! – KC

Print This PostAdmit it. You’ve been eying those cookies down at the grocery store wondering if they could pass for homemade because let’s face it: Super Barbie Housewife you are not. She might rise at 4 am, tie that pink lace apron around her cute little waist and hop through the kitchen in those furry bedroom shoes grinding flour here, churning butter there, all in the name of extra special down-home lovin, but you’ve had better, more noble things to do. Like sleep in. Like show your support for the mistreated and abandoned puppies by frequenting the Animal Shelter Glühwein stand down at the local Christmas Market. And then you had to check out the new Krampus film  because it reminded you of Uncle Scrooge. Not to mention the amount of time you seriously contemplated organizing a grass roots movement complete with online petition against that Elf on the Shelf because the upcoming generation of bright-eyed bushy-tailed gift-hungry children must not be trained to be numb to the evils of a surveillance state. Someone has to do something. You thought about it at least. Thus the lack of sweet ginger-bread laced scents floating from your oven. Got it?

But let’s face it. All the folks coming to Aunt Em’s for Christmas don’t want explanations; they want cookies. And if you want to keep Ken’s focus on your apron and not that Barbie girl’s, it’s high time to dig out the beaters and heat up that oven. After all you’ll expect Ken to man up and take wrench in hand and fix the tire in the blizzard raging on I-95 on the way to Aunt Em’s, right? But you’re miserable at baking and never managed to keep straight baking soda from baking powder.

No worries. You’ve come to the right blog. Because I’m going to instruct you on how to make it look like you slaved hours in the kitchen baking up a plate of cookies so sweet and so good that they could take the sour out of Trump.  These Schaumrollen – or as we call them in Pittsburgh – lady locks are guaranteed to turn Uncle Scrooge’s ho hums into ho ho hos long before he hits the eggnog table.

Finished Schaumrollen

Finished Schaumrollen

But you will have to purchase some materials before you start. Just think of it as a long-term investment and your once-a-year ticket to get “Bake Christmas cookies” off the To-Do list in order to free you up for those other philanthropic pursuits (see above) so in need of your attention.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Fillo Dough is called Blätterteig in German - this one is "Bio" Organic.

Fillo Dough is called Blätterteig in German – this one is “Bio” Organic.

Fillo Dough (in Austria Blätterteig or even Bio-Blätterteig) – found in the refrigerator section of your local grocery store – such as Billa, Merkur or Spar in Austria or places like Lowes or Giant Eagle in the US.

Cookie horns or molds for lady locks, Schaumrollen, cream horns or cannoli – in Vienna I got mine at the Leiner on Mariahilferstr but you can also order them from Amazon in Austria and the US.

Dessert Decorator Press: Again, in Vienna, I got mine at Leiner but you can probably pick one up at Target, Walmart or Amazon.

Baking Paper
Corn Oil
Sugar

Powdered Sugar
Eggs (best if from happy chickens because happy chooks = better cooks)

  • 3 packages of fillo dough/Blätterteig – more for more cookies though you will probably not need to increase the filling since you will probably have plenty
  • 5 egg whites
  • ½ C sugar
  • 1/3 C powdered sugar
  • 1/3 C water
  • 1 egg to glaze the Fillo dough wrapped around the forms before baking
  • small bowl of oil to grease the horn/lady lock/Schaumrollen/cannoli forms
  1. Spread out dough.
  2. Preheat oven to 200° C (395° F).

    Egg whites with sugar beaten until stiff

    Egg whites with sugar beaten until stiff

  3. Mix water and sugar together and boil for 2 – 3 minutes while constantly stirring.
  4. Beat egg whites in bowl until stiff (easiest with mixer). Gradually mix in powdered sugar.
  5. Slowly add hot sugar mixture to stiffened egg white mixture using first the middle speed and then increasing to the highest speed until the consistency is rather stiff.
  6. Cut dough strips lengthwise in 1 inch wide strips. .
  7. With your finger, oil each of the lady lock/cannoli/Schaumrollen forms (horns). Next wrap a dough stripe around the forms
    Rolling the dough onto the cookie horn form

    Rolling the dough onto the cookie horn form

    making sure you overlap each layer along the edge (see photo). Brush the egg mixture on the dough horns. Place glazed horns on wax paper on baking sheet.

  8. Place horns/ladylocks/Schaumrollen in preheated oven and bake 8 – 15 minutes until golden.
  9. While still hot, carefully remove the horns/lady locks/ Schaumrollen from the forms and place on wax papered pan to cool slightly.
  10. Put the meringue (stiffened sugar mix) into the decorator press and then use to fill each of the horns/lady locks/
    Beaten egg for glaze

    Beaten egg for glaze

    Schaumrollen.

  11. Place decoratively on plate with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
  12. Toss off the apron, reward yourself with some genuinely earned Glühwein and get ready to see Uncle Scrooge (and your guy) smile. If anyone enters the kitchen and catches you Glühweining, glance wearily at the plate of Schaumrollen, offer one up (two only if deserved), and dramatically indicate that you’ve just spent hours slaving over the most difficult cookies in the world

Once you’ve proven you can manage the basics, you can get creative. You can attempt fillings with other things like yoghurt, strawberries, puddings, whipped cream, or sprinkle some chocolate shavings over the top of the finished Schaumrollen.

Tip: Schaumrollen are better made fresh. If you want to bake ahead, simply bake the dough forms and store in a box in a dry cool area for a couple days (or even freeze in plastic container) and make the filling the day you want to serve the Schaumrollen or store the filling separate in a bowl in the fridge for up to three days and then fill the rolls on the day of serving. Print This Post

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TOP TEN THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN VIENNA IN DECEMBER

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Vienna gets lots of visitors in December and that’s not too surprising because the city is beautiful this time of year. Here’s the top 10 things you’ll want to do and see while here in December to get the most of your visit.

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    1. Visit a Christmas Market. With over 20 markets to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a list of Vienna Christmas markets from my 2014 post with links. Note that the special events have probably changed but otherwise the markets and descriptions usually stay pretty consistent year for year.
    2. Indulge in some Glühwein while at that market. For your own Glühwein recipe – check out my “How to make Glühwein” post.

      Gluehwein at Schönnbrunn Castle Christmas Market - photo courtesy of M. Gardzina

      Gluehwein at Schönnbrunn Castle Christmas Market – photo courtesy of M. Gardzina

    3. Have lunch at Cafe Central – they have what’s called a “Menü” option on the weekdays and it is usually a soup and a main meal consisting of a meat or non-meat dish and rather reasonably priced. Be sure to make reservations or you might have to wait for a table or not get one at all. You can write to them for reservations at the email address on the Cafe Central website but reservations are only valid if you receive a confirmation email (usually pretty quick response time).
    4. See the mosaic of the Last Supper. Do this after your visit to Cafe Central, since the Minoritenkirche with the mosaic is a two minute walk up the road from the Cafe.  More about this amazing piece of art work in my post: “Napoleon, Jesus and the Free Masons: the Last Supper in Vienna.”
    5. Have an authentic Austrian dinner in one of Vienna’s oldest restaurants – the Griechenbeisl. Again, reservations are a necessity. Check out my post about the Greichenbeisl restaurant entitled, “If the Walls Could Speak – A Schnitzel with Turkish Invaders, Beethoven, Twain and Johnny Cash.”

      Fancy Schmancy Aida Krapfen

      Fancy Schmancy Aida Krapfen

    6. Try a Krapfen. Don’t know what that is? Kind of like a apricot jam filled doughnut – more on the subject here: “Krapfen – Getting Fat in Honor of Fat Tuesday.”
    7. Definitely, definitely, visit a Coffeehouse to catch your breath, read a newspaper, discuss the world, and maybe even have some coffee. These two posts should help you with that: This one has a list of choice coffeehouses: “Vienna and her Coffeehouses – Sit Back and Smell the Coffee,” and this one describes a bit of the coffeehouse culture: “Place to Visit in Vienna – Coffeehouses.”
    8.  Digest some art and see some museums. Check out my post “Things to See in Vienna – Art Museums and Street Art.”

      Entrance to the Griechenbeisl

      Entrance to the Griechenbeisl

    9. Visit the Austrian National Treasury and check out some amazing artifacts like the legendary holy lance/ Spear of Destiny. More about that on my post:”The Holy Lance (“Spear of Destiny”) & the Power to Rule the World.”
    10. Take a stroll through the park of the Schönbrunn Castle and be sure to hike the hill behind the castle up to the gorgeous Gloriette where you can have a hot cocoa and if you’re timing is right, listen to some live piano music.
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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving is definitely one time of year when pangs of homesickness plague me a bit. I love Thanksgiving and how crazy everyone is but above all, everyone’s together. Good food, good friends and family — a wonderful tradition. Hope you enjoy the day. I celebrated this past weekend and attempted to be creative with the veggie plate which explains the photo. Have a slice of pumpkin pie for me.

And if you missed my Thanksgiving 101 from last year – be sure to check it out:
Thanksgiving 101 for Non-Americans – Top Ten Less Known Facts:
http://www.kcblau.com/thanksgiving101-nonamericans/

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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IF THE WALLS COULD SPEAK – A SCHNITZEL WITH TURKISH INVADERS, BEETHOVEN, TWAIN AND JOHNNY CASH

Eating and sleeping are the only activities that should be allowed to interrupt a man’s enjoyment of his cigar. – Mark Twain

Print This Post Nestled amongst the cobblestones of the Vienna’s 1st district, beside the beautifully orange- and gold-tiled Greek Orthodox Church, is Vienna’s oldest tavern. 1350 (a whopping 665 years ago!) is the first documented date that the building is mentioned in Vienna city records when the place belonged to a knight commoner (yep – even knight status apparently has its hierarchies) by the name of Lienhart Poll. As early as 1447, the building was first used as a tavern which was named “Zum Gelben Adler” (To the Yellow Eagle).

Now let’s just stop here for a moment to appreciate the age of this place. The good old US of A is a

A look into the Griechenbeisl from outside

A look into the Griechenbeisl from outside

mere bubbling 239 years old. This place is almost 3 times older than that. Imagine! I know I’m a sucker for nostalgic tales but how can anyone resist wondering about the musings, confessions, sweet nothings, inspirations, gripes and debates these walls have witnessed while sheltering those who have passed through its doors from the harsh elements of fires, plagues, wars, and weather. Isn’t it cool to imagine?

Translated, the name “Griechenbeisl” means “Greek Tavern” but the Zwiebelrostbraten, Wiener Schnitzel and Tafelspitz you’ll find on the menu are all true Viennese specialties and have nothing to do with Greek food. The Greek in the tavern name refers to the Greek traders and merchants who liked to dine here in the 1800s.

The house came under attack twice when Turkish invaders attempted to seize Vienna (1529 and 1683). A remnant is still visible inside the tavern  — a cannonball from 1529 which was unearthed during renovation work in 1960 and remains stuck in the wall near the stairway at the entrance.

Former Guests of Griechenbeisl

Former guests of Griechenbeisl – Mozart’s signature is above the red label

Over the centuries, the tavern has expanded and along with it, the amount of rooms. Today there are eight dining rooms, each preserved in a different era and style. My personal favorite is the Twain room which you can request when making reservations (always make reservations before coming) but can be difficult to score since it is often reserved for private parties. The room is considered a historical monument and the ceiling is filled with the signatures of all the famous folks who have dined and drank within the walls. If you don’t land a lucky table in this amazing room, kindly ask your waiter if it is possible to have a look in. The waiters have long sticks that they can use to point out some of the better known guests. Historic guests include Beethoven, Mark Twain, Schubert, Wagner, Strauss, Count Zeppelin, Mozart, and Brahms to name a few. Then you have the more recent “promis” and these include, amongst others, Johnny Cash, Pavarotti, Barry Manilow, and Phil Colins.

Griechenbeisl Signatures in Mark Twain room

Griechenbeisl signatures in Mark Twain room

The guy who seems to be sleeping off his hangover in a cage in the floor at the entrance isn’t some sorry sap who failed to pay his beer tab. Well, then again, maybe he is.  But if you pause and listen, you might hear him whistling the song written in his honor and since sung by beer-mug-swinging admirers for decades– “Oh du lieber Augustin.” Supposedly he (Marx Augustin) sang and drank here in 1679. But he became famous because he was so intoxicated that when he fell into the pit dug out for the city’s plague victims, he simply made himself cozy and slept off his hangover (and you thought you woke up in some shocking places the morning after). We all know the amazing clensing powers inherent in an Austrian apricot Schnapps, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that good old Marx climbed out of the grave the next day and was fit for another round (and I’m not talking about the row-row-row-your-boat musical kind).

A dining room in the Griechenbeisl

A dining room in the Griechenbeisl

A meal in the Griechenbeisl will set you back — just for the main course — anywhere between 17 and 28 € depending on what you order. Granted, not cheap but this is no fast food joint and they do take plastic. Waiters decked out in suits and bow ties who can switch languages in a blink of an eye and actually correctly serve your Zweigelt in a decanter are bound to send your date’s heart aflutter. The menu is in German and English and you might even get some live music accompaniment from a zither for your meal (if you really want to show what a good guy you are, discreetly tip the zither player as you leave). The wine cellar is currently being renovated and sometime later this year, the restaurant plans to host wine tasting events. This isn’t Applebees or The Cheesecake Factory so leave your shorts and tennis shoes at home. Dressy casual is fine here but don’t expect to eat and run. Have an appetizer, have a Grüner Veltliner or Zweigelt, a Melange, a Schnapps and some very good Viennese food and then sit back and listen to the rustic tales of history and whisper to the walls some new ones of your own.

“Street” scene from a recent visit to the Griechenbeisl:
Conversation at a neighboring table filled with no less than ten older refined gentlemen and not one single lady.
Waiter: Ah! A round of just gentlemen!
One of the guests from the table: laughing Indeed! Tonight we left the ladies at home.
Waiter: I don’t believe a word of it. Tell the truth. You guys all got kicked out. Print This Post

Griechenbeisl: Fleischmarkt 11, 1010 Vienna (subway: U4 or U1 to Schwedenplatz)
Open daily from 11 am – 1 am (food service: 11:30 am – 11:30 pm)
Definitely call and reserve a table and try to score the Mark Twain room: +43 1 533 19 77

Griechenbeisl Wikipedia Entry

 

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