Kerskoekies (Christmas cookies)

(Please scroll down for the English version.)

My suster bak elke jaar die heerlikste Duitste kerskoekies. Lebkuchen (gemmerkoekies), pfeffernüsse (peperkoekies) en allerhande enes. Ek het dit nog nooit gemaak nie maar eendag jare gelede terwyl ons by my suster en swaer gekuier het op hulle plaas, het my man besluit om self te probeer om dit te bak. Met Duitste herkoms het hy grootgeword met baie van hierdie koekies vir Kersfees. Nadat hy met hierdie boeremeisie getrou het (wat nog nie eens op daai stadium probeer het om haar Hollandse ouma se botterkoek of spekulaaskoekies of Afrikaanse ouma se suurdeegbrood te bak nie), het hy besluit om dit doodeenvoudig self te doen.

Hy stap toe een oggend in my suster se plaaskombuis in en kondig vol brawade aan dat hy zerubskuchen (stroopkoekies) gaan maak. Die snaakse ding was dat hy nog nooit by ons eie huis geïnspireerd gevoel het om dit te maak nie maar uit die bloute daai oggend besluit het dat hy dit in haar kombuis gaan waag. Sy aankondiging het ‘n huiwerige en effens skeptiese ontvangs gekry want die kombuis was pas skoongemaak en die vloere gewas. Dis nie maklik om ‘n plaaskombuis in die Kalahari skoon te hou nie. Sand word voortdurend ingeloop en plaasbehoeftes kry voorkeur bo ander maar die kombuis was silwerskoon toe my man besluit het dis tyd om te begin bak en brou.

Hy het in sy lewe tevore nog nooit iets gebak nie maar vra toe my suster vir die resep en maak reg om te begin. Hy is ook nooit tevore geleer om die gemors wat hy maak te beperk tot ‘n hanteerbare area nie. Hy het al die bestanddele op die kombuistafel gerangskik en begin. Ek het saggies weggesluip, sodanig om na die kinders te gaan kyk, en weggebly van die kombuis af. Toe ek dink dis veilig om terug te gaan is ek begroet deur ‘n gesig wat ek nooit sal vergeet nie. Dit het gelyk asof vyf sakke meel op en rondom die tafel ontplof het. In die pas skoongemaakte kombuis nogal. Te midde van dit alles het my man gestaan met ‘n brëe glimlag om sy mond – baie trots op die koekies wat hy besig was om te bak. Die ergste was dat die meel nie net oor die tafel gestrooi was nie. Dit het deur die gapings van die houttafel op die vloer geval. Orals.

My arme suster het net agter my ingeloop, die gemors een kyk gegee, daarin geslaag om darem nie haar sin vir humor heeltemal te verloor nie en met haar onwrikbare diplomasie hom mooi gevra om skoon te maak. Sy entoesiasme was geensins gedemp nie. Dit was amper asof hy nie die gemors kon raaksien nie. Hy’t klaargemaak en begin opruim maar selfs met sy altyd teenwoordige optimisme het hy hulp nodig gehad in hierdie department. Hy sou dit net nie op dieselfde standaard kon skoon kry as wat dit voor die tyd was nie.

Sedertdien het hy nog nie weer probeer om kerskoekies te bak nie maar maak wel sy ma se mieliebrood – ‘n soet weergawe wat nie my gunsteling is nie – maar hy is mal daaroor en maak dit nou self. Ek is net verlig dat dit nie nodig is om ‘n klomp meel oor die kombuistafel of –toonbank uit te sprei om mieliebrood te maak nie want dit blyk na die jare steeds dat die skoonmaakdeel van die proses nog onder opleiding is.

Ek het toe die ander dag my suster se lebkuchen en pfeffernüsse gemaak (maar ek sou nie sê hulle is so lekker soos hare nie) – die pfeffernüsse (wat so klein soos neute moet wees) het ek reggekry om amper so groot soos golfballe te maak. Ten minste proe hulle darem beter as iets wat ‘n mens in die winkel sou koop.  Hopelik sal my man nie voel dis nodig om hulle te maak as ek aanhou om hulle te bak nie…

Kerskoekies of te not, ek wens almal ‘n baie Gesëende Kersfees toe gevul met vreugde en liefde.

 

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Lebkuchen and oversized Pfeffernüsse I baked the other day

 

Christmas Cookies

My sister bakes the most divine Christmas cookies every year. German ones.  Lebkuchen (ginger bread cookies), pfeffernüsse (pepper nuts) and all sorts. I’ve never made them but years ago once while visiting my sister and brother-in-law on their farm, my husband decided the time was right for him to try his hand at it. Being of German descent, there used to be lots of these Christmas cookies around every Christmas when he was growing up. After marrying this Afrikaans girl (who hadn’t even tried to make any of her Dutch grandmother’s butter cake or speculaas cookies or her Afrikaans grandmother’s sour dough bread at that stage), he was just going to do it himself.

He walked into my sister’s farm kitchen one morning and declared that he was going to make zerubskuchen (syrup cookies). The funny thing is that he’d never been inspired to do it at our own home but decided out of the blue on that day that he was going to make it in her kitchen. His announcement was greeted a little skeptically as the kitchen had just been cleaned and the floors washed. It’s not easy to keep a farm kitchen in the Kalahari clean. Sand keeps getting trodden into the house and farm needs take precedence over others but the kitchen was sparkling clean when my husband decided it was time for him to try his hand at baking.

He’d never before baked anything in his life but asked my sister for the recipe and got started. Neither had he ever been trained to contain the mess he makes to a certain limited area. It was just always done by someone else. He arranged all the ingredients out on the kitchen table and got stuck in. I slunk away on the premise of having to look after the kids and kept clear of the area. When I deemed it safe to venture inside again I was greeted by a sight to behold. It looked like five bags of flour had exploded on and around the kitchen table. In the middle of it all stood my smiling husband. Quite proud of the cookies he was making. To make matters worse, the flour wasn’t contained to the table. It had fallen through the gaps in the wood on the table and was all over the floor as well. Everywhere.

My poor sister walked in after me, took one look at the mess, managed to hold back her sense of humour failure and with her unwavering diplomacy asked him nicely to clean up. His enthusiasm wasn’t diminished at all. It’s almost like the mess was invisible to him. He finished up and started to clean up but despite his ever present optimism he needed help in this department. He wasn’t going to manage to clean it to the same standard that it had been done earlier.

He hasn’t attempted to bake Christmas cookies since, but he has been making his mom’s mealie (corn) bread. It’s quite sweet and not really my favourite but he loves it and now makes it himself. I’m just relieved that mealie bread doesn’t require a lot of flour to be spread out over the kitchen bench or table because the cleaning part of the process seems to still be in training.

I tried my hand at my sister’s lebkuchen and pfeffernüsse recipes the other day and (though I don’t think it’s to her standard – the pfeffernüsse which are supposed to be the size of nuts turned out more like golf balls) but at least they taste better than something you can buy in a shop. Hopefully if I continue to bake them my husband won’t feel the need to do it…

With or without Christmas cookies, I wish you all a Merry and Blessed Christmas filled with joy and love.

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Festive times

9 thoughts on “Kerskoekies (Christmas cookies)

  1. Ja , so was dit weliswaar ! My asem maar opgehou en die bakker laat bak. Hy’t die bak en die eet baie geniet. Kersfees koekies in ons huis word nou minder geëet , die monde is minder en die gewetes groter , maar hulle bly ‘n belangrike deel van die saamdoen deel voor Kerstyd. Geseënde dae vir julle !

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ek hoop julle Kersfees was vantasties! Ek kan net dink hoe daai kombuis gelyk het! Wel, ek sal sê jou man verdien ‘n medalje… soos die oumense gesê het… probeer is die beste geweer!! 😉
    NS – Ek simpatiseer met hom… daai skoonmaak besigheid kan ek ook nie te lekker verstaan nie!! o_O

    Liked by 1 person

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