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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

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


  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


How to Make Glühwein (Mulled Wine) and Spread the Good Cheer


“Komm, trinken ma noch ein Glaserl, so jung kemma nimma zamm”
(Komm, trinken wir noch ein Gläschen, so jung kommen wir nie wieder zusammen)
(Come, let’s drink another little glass, we will never come together again as young as we are now)

First the basics — pronunciation:

Gluehwein Ingredients

Glühwein Ingredients: red wine, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and orange slices

Glühwein. Don’t let the umlaut (those two dots above the “u”) intimidate you — it’s easy to pronounce.

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

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

Just say the word Glue (like Elmer’s glue) and vine and then put the two together and you are good to go.

And experience has told me that the more you drink, the better your German becomes (or the others are too drunk to notice your terrible pronunciation).

Okay, now that you can say it, if you live in the US, it’s time to bring a bit of the Old Country to your Thanksgiving or Holiday festivities. And if you live in Austria, it’s time to invite over some locals and impress them with how well you have culturally adapted to your new home. Because Glühwein is THE drink of the Christmas Markets (see my post with a comprehensive list of Vienna’s Christmas Markets)   and if you can’t get to a Glühwein stand, then bring the stand home to you with one of the following two recipes. The first is the traditional Glühwein and the second is the so-called Vienna Glühwein, a Glühwein with a bit of punch (well more than a bit).


star anise

star anise


– 2 bottles of dry red wine. (In Austria we use Zweigelt but I think a Merlot would work just as well)

– about ¼ C of sugar. But if you are anti-sugar, leave it out. It will be equally good.

– 1 orange, sliced (make sure they are unsprayed “unbehandelt / Schale zumVerzehr geeignet” – if you can’t find these at some place like Whole Foods, then just peel them)

– 1 stick of cinnamon

– 5 cloves (in Austria, called “Nelken” and sold either in a green bottle or bag in spice section)

– a few star anise (in Austria called “Sternanis” and sold in a green bottle in spice section)


Warm wine in large pot but be careful not to boil it because you don’t want it to evaporate. Next add the slices of orange. I like to stick the cloves and star anise directly into the orange slices (look at photo above and specifically the orange slice, there I have inserted the cloves to demonstrate). Then add the cinnamon  and allow to simmer.

When the wine is warm, add sugar.

Serve in a mug and enjoy.

Possible additions:

Mulled wine spices –
in the US, get this at World Market or at Amazon

Jar of Gluehwein spice

Jar of Gluehwein spice

in Austria, get this at Meinl on Graben in the tea section upstairs.

Add a Glühwein Fix bag or two:

In USA available at: International Food Shop online store.

Gluehfix Gluehwein bags

Gluehfix Gluehwein bags


In Austria, at Julius Meinl, again in tea section. Billa usually sells it too but mine didn’t and I wasted about a half hour of my life scouring first the tea section, then the alcohol section, then the baking section thinking, “If I were a Glühwein bag, where would I be?” Then thinking, “If I were a Billa employee trying to cram all these products in the space the size of a living room, where would I put it?”

THE INSTANT GLÜHWEIN (which indeed feels a bit like an oxymoron since Glühwein is about slowing down a bit, relaxing and enjoying the company of loved ones – being gemütlich)

Glühwein sold in a bottle. I advise against this Glühwein version. Part of the beauty of Glühwein is the scent of the holidays that the pot of spices and wine exude throughout your house as it simmers on the stove. But if you are pressed for time or simply opposed to anything that requires about 5 minutes of prep time then give the bottle version a try. Apparently World Market sells it at its stores. And if you go this route, for goodness sakes, heat the Glühwein in a pot on the stove, add some orange slices and spices anyway and pretend, pretend, pretend, it’s completely homemade. (It can be our little secret, I won’t tell anyone).

Gluehwein in a bottle

Glühwein in a bottle ready to go. Sold at World Market and some liquor stores

You can also try these guys International Food Shop (which I must say, I have no experience with so if you try them, let me know if it worked out, if not, I will remove the plug from my blog. But if it does – the site looks pretty awesome and I can highly recommend this White Elderflower Syrup with sparkling water as a great alternative to soft drinks – just need a spoonful per glass)


And for the more daring:



– 3 C of water (3/4 L)

– a few black tea bags

Vienna Gluehwein Ingredients

Ingredients for a Vienna Glühwein with hard alcohol

– ½ orange sliced (make sure they are unsprayed “unbehandelt / Schale zumVerzehr geeignet”)

– ½ lemon sliced (make sure they are unsprayed “unbehandelt / Schale zumVerzehr geeignet”)

– 4 ¼ C (1/2 L) of red wine (Zweigelt or Merlot)

– ½ C sugar (100 g) – again, if anti-sugar, just leave this out

– ½ C (1/8 L) freshly pressed orange juice (or something you can pass for it by cheating, just make sure it is 100% juice)

– 2 schnaps glasses (4 cl) of apricot schnapps

– 4 schnaps glasses (8 cl) of Amaretto

schnaps glass and apricot schnaps

schnaps glass and apricot schnaps

– 3 schnaps glasses (6 cl) of rum (30%)

– a stick of cinnamon

– cloves

– a stick of vanilla


Boil water with tea bags. Place cloves in slices of lemons and oranges and add to tea. Turn down heat to a simmer and add red wine. Add sugar when wine mixture is warm. Next add the orange juice, schnaps, amaretto and rum. Last add the rest of the spices.

Serve and spread the good cheer! Print This Post




Viennese Apfelstrudel Recipe – Sweet Seduction

Apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce at Cafe Central

Apple strudel with vanilla sauce at Cafe Central

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
– “My Favorite Things”, The Sound of Music

In a former life, when I taught German, one of my greatest challenges was convincing students that German was a language worth learning and far better than the other language options offered at the school (we were all competing for students). I can humbly admit that though I taught a language Mark Twain claimed was the reason that God invented eternity – to give some of us a chance to learn German, I was always rather successful in my quest for students because I was willing to go to great lengths to acquire students and perhaps not always play fair.

The secret? Apfelstrudel.

I explained to potential students that during German class, they would learn about the culture of German-speaking countries. We would listen to Falco and Mozart, celebrate Oktoberfest and Krampus and we would bake real Viennese Apfelstrudel. And the Apfelstrudel got ’em everytime.

Now without even having to commit to conjugating a verb or declining a noun, you too are privy to the secrets of real good Viennese Strudel. Think of it as a thank you from me to you for visiting my site. Here it is:

You will need:

– Filo dough (refrigerator section of the grocery store)

– baking apples (like the Roma)

– bread crumbs

– butter

– lemon juice

– sugar / brown sugar

– cinnamon

– powdered sugar

– 2 clean thin cotton towels (linen or cheese cloth)

– wax paper

1)     Apples: First peel and slice the apples (the apples should probably be cut in 1/8 inch slices (quarter the apple and slice these lengthwise as well) (dispose of the core and peels) – you will probably need about 10 apples for two strudels.

2)     Mix for Apples: Next you mix a little cinnamon (depends on how much you like the taste) as well as some sugar and brown sugar (I don’t add all that much – somewhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup). Also add some lemon juice to the apples at this time. You could also add a drop of vanilla if you like. Next melt about a half of stick of butter in a pan and add about 1/2 can of bread crumbs. Stir the bread crumbs until brown. Add these to the apple mixture.

3)     Prepare Filo Dough: Wet and wring out one towel and spread out flat on counter. Layer the dry towel on top of this. Next place about two sheets of Fillo dough on the towel. Brush melted butter on sheet. Place two more sheets on top of these and butter them as well.

4)     Add filing and place on pan: Lengthwise down the middle 1/3 of the strudel, spread apple filling. Fold the outer 1/3 sides over the center to give yourself an apple strudel form. Roll up edges. Brush butter over the outside. Slide your arm under both towels to balance the strudel on your arm and flip the strudel onto a baking pan covered with wax paper. Brush butter on the upper side as well (what was previously the bottom). Bake the apple strudel at 400F for about 13 – 15 minutes until golden brown (the stove may smoke during baking). Halfway through the baking you may want to brush on some milk for a more golden color.

When golden – remove, sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy. This is wonderful if served with some German vanilla pudding poured over the top (you can buy this at the World Market and it is not as sweet as US pudding – the pudding should not be cool and even a bit liquidy). Also good is served with fresh whipped cream.

Guten Appetit und viel Vergnügen! Print This Post