There is always a lot of holiday baking in my house and one of our favorite recipes is Aachener Printen, a cookie of similar taste and consistency to gingerbread that hails from Aachen, Germany, which is near the border where Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands meet. Printen comes in several forms, varying from simple rectangular cookies topped with an almond to intricately detailed shapes that are literally printed with a design.
The wooden Printen molds that my family uses are of a Flemish man and woman. They were hand-crafted by a former coal miner in the town of Jülich (which is about 30 miles northeast of Aachen) who took up wood carving in his retirement. These wooden molds not only create gorgeous cookies, but they also are works of art in their own right. Ours hang year round on a wall in the kitchen.
Printen is delicious and like the best of holiday cookies, when it is baking, it creates an absolutely amazing smell throughout the house. Although it is unlikely that many of you have Printen molds (or would even easily be able to acquire one), you can still enjoy the cookie. Instead of using the wooden molds to cut and print the dough, you can simply roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick and cut it into rectangles and top it with blanched almonds. These will be a great addition to your holiday cookie spread, whether for personal consumption, to give away, or to serve at a party.
Aachener Printen Rectangles
In a small saucepan, combine:
In a mixing bowl, sift together:
In a small bowl, combine a couple tablespoons of flour with:
Pour the honey mixture into the flour mixture and knead until the dough is in a smooth ball. To make the kneading process easier, you can split the dough into several pieces. Wrap the dough in wax paper and let cool in the fridge for an hour or so.
On the counter, lightly sprinkle:
In a small bowl, combine:
Garnish each cookie with a: