Saturday, December 19, 2015

"Christmas Around The World" Day--7 Recipe --“Glühwein” & “Linzer Tarts”

           "Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone" - Charles Schulz 

Welcome to the 7th day of “Christmas Around The World!” For my readers who are new, everyday for the next 12 days, till Christmas Eve, I will post a story of a country of the world and a Santa that goes according to the countries customs and traditions. Besides the World Santa’s, I will also share a holiday treat, a homemade gift idea, or just a favorite recipe that I think goes with that country, all leading up to “Christmas Eve.” This has been an incredible year! I have met many people, learned many new things, but most of all, I want to say thank you to my readers, as we prepare for the most joyous time of the year!

Day # 7, My country today is Germany!

A big part of the Christmas celebrations in Germany is Advent. Several different types of Advent calendars are used in German homes. As well as the traditional ones that are used in many countries with a little present in it. Another type is called a “Advent Kranz” and is a ring of fir branches that has four candles on it. This is like the Advent candles that are used in churches for religious services.

Christmas Trees are very important in Germany. They were first used in Germany during the Middle Ages. If there are young children in the house, the trees are usually secretly decorated by the mother of the family. The Christmas tree was traditionally brought into the house on Christmas eve. In some parts of Germany, during the evening the family would read the Bible and sing Christmas songs such as O Tannenbaum, Ihr Kinderlein Kommet and Stille Nacht (Slient Night). Christmas Eve is the main day when Germans exchange presents with their families. In German Happy/Merry Christmas is “Frohe Weihnachten.”

Germany is well known for its Christmas Markets where all sorts of Christmas foods and decorations are sold. Perhaps the most famous German decorations are glass ornaments. The glass ornaments were originally hand blown glass and were imported in the USA in 1880s by the Woolworth stores. The legend of the glass “Christmas Pickle” is famous in the USA, but it's that, a legend. Most people in Germany have never heard of the Christmas Pickle! German tradition and that the pickle was the last ornament hung on the Christmas tree and then the first child to find the pickle got an extra present. The American city of Berrien Springs, MI (also known as the Christmas Pickle Capital of the World) has an annual pickle festival held during the early part of December. 

In some parts of Germany, mainly the south east of the country, children write to the “Christkind/Christkindl” (The Christ Child in English) asking for presents. The letters to the Christkind are decorated with sugar glued to the envelope to make them sparkly and attractive to look at. Children leave the letters on the windowsill at the beginning of or during Advent. The Christkind is often described as a young girl with “Christ like” qualities. In Nürnberg a young girl is chosen every year to participate in a parade as the Christkind. She wears a long white and gold dress, has long blond curly hair and wears a gold crown and sometimes wings like an angel. This is similar to St Lucia is Sweden.

Santa Claus or Father Christmas (der Weihnachtsmann) brings the presents on December 24th. You might also write a letter to Weihnachtsmann in other parts of Germany. December 6th is St. Nicholas' Day and "der Nikolaus" brings some small gifts, such as sweets and chocolate, to the children. He comes in the night between the 5th and the 6th and puts the presents into the shoes of the children, who usually place them by their doors on the previous evening.

Another tradition is the Sternsinger (or star singers) who go from house to house, sing a song and collect money for charity (this is a predominantly Catholic tradition). They are four children, three who dress up like the Wise men and one carries a star on a stick as a symbol for the Star of Bethlehem. When they're finished singing, they write a signature with chalk over the door of the house. The sign is written in a special way, so Christmas 2015 would be: 20*C*M*B*16. It is considered to be bad luck to wash the sign away - it has to fade by itself. It has usually faded by the 6th of January (Epiphany). The Sternsingers visit houses between December 27th and January 6th. 

Lastly, one of the most anticipated rituals of the holiday season is the festive Christmas dinner. The traditional German holiday meal consists of duck, goose, rabbit, a roast, and carp. Accompanied by German delicacies such as apple and sausage stuffing, red cabbage, and potato dumplings. Even the American fruitcake was adapted from one of the most famous German delicacies, Stollen. Since 1329, this unique “fruitcake” has been considered one of the most precious Christmas pastries in the world.

Glühwein (mulled wine) is an alcohol-containing hot drink enjoyed during Advent time and the cold Winter months in Germany. It is also a traditional beverage served at Christmas Markets. Red or white wine can be used depending on your preference. Red wine is most commonly used in Germany.  However, in southern parts of Germany and in Austria, white wine is very popular.  In Hessen, apple wine is also used.  The wine should be medium-dry to dry.  As a rule-of-thumb, choose a good quality wine.  For a white Glühwein, try a good Riesling.  For a red Glühwein, try a good Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). Classic Christmas spices are used in the Glühwein: cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, allspice, etc. Lemon and/or orange zest is added to refine the flavors. For an extra "kick," a shot of rum or Amaretto can be added, but this is not part of the original Glühwein recipe (Be warned! This goes right to the head!) 

My recipes that I am going to share with you are both from Germany. The first one is a German mulled wine that is a very famous drink especially in the winter months. It is called “Glühwein.” Down the hatch…this should keep you nice and warm. 



3/4 cup water ( or orange juice)

3/4 cup white sugar 

1 cinnamon stick

1 orange

10 whole cloves

1 bottle red wine/ white wine

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer. Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. Remove the clove-studded orange halves. Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break.) Serves: 6

*I know that this is the holiday, but please drink responsibly.*
My next recipe is one that I have been making in my family for many years now. They are simple but oh so delicious. They are “Linzer Tarts”…

“Linzer Tarts
Ingredients:3/4 lb unsalted butter/room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good raspberry preserves
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions:Preheat the oven to 350°F In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 2 3/4-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. With 1/2 of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a heart or a round shaped cutter. Place all the un-cooked cookies on an un-greased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes. Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges begin to turn a light brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners' sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners' sugar on the top.

Yields:  36 cookies (depending on the size you make)

See you on Day # 8..Another country!.
Till Next Time………………………….

Copyright © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Another great informative post, Dottie! My husband's family is German and Swedish a lot of this is familiar to me, esp. since we lived in Germany for a while.
    Here, in Chicago, there is the Christkindlmarket with the goods and food of Germany. It's a great even packed with treats of all kinds that has become a Christmas tradition.
    Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed it. Take care and have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

    1. Dear Pam,
      Thank you dear friend...I am so glad that you enjoyed this post. So you really know all about the German way. That must be a wonderful store Christkindlmarket. I love German food..Have a great Sunday..Christmas is close...
      Dottie :)

  2. Dear Dottie,
    Enjoyed this post very much .
    Hope you are getting some much needed rest and your mother is resting better and her pain has subsided .
    Our prayers are with you .
    Blessing to you and your family .
    Nee :)

    1. Dear Nee,
      Thank you so much...I am glad that you enjoyed this post...Thanks for your prayers...I have been at the hospital everyday and my mom is still in so much pain. I go in the morning and don't come home till late at night. Then I am doing my blog post..It is a little overwhelming, but I am trying. Please continue to pray for her and my dad, he is having a rough time with her being so ill. Blessings to you dear friend...
      Hugs Dottie XXX

  3. So sorry to hear about your mum! I can imagine how you are feeling and how much you must be worried for her. I do hope she will get better in time. I can imagine it is hard for your dad but I am sure he will take some comfort in you.
    I am enjoying your international posts.
    I spent Christmas in Germany once at it was so beautiful. All those handmade wooden decorations in the Christmas markets, the smell of mulled wine and those fab cinnamon biscuits! This is another beautiful post Dottie. Take care xxx

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for enjoy my 12 Days of Christmas! I really loved doing it, but it is a little taxing with all that is going on, between Christmas, the blog and then my mom and dad! Thank you for your words about my mom. Yes, it seems to always happen all at once. She was ok one day and then wow!---the next day she couldn't get out of bed. The ambulance came and then we followed by car to the hospital. It has been a nightmare and a blur from then on. I know that my mom is being taken care of by the nurses and doctors, it really is my dad that I worry about. Being their age it makes it worse. But I spoke to the social worker and she is letting us use a conference room for Christmas Eve, and I have spoken to my brother and my sister-in -law so we will have a Christmas gathering at the rehab. If we can get my mom in a wheelchair we can wheel her in the room, and she can be with us for Christmas Eve. I am having food brought in and my sister-in-law will bring some decorations, my niece will bring some Christmas music, etc. So I am trying to coordinate that as well. I am sure it will be wonderful.
      That is on my bucket list to go to the Christmas Markets in Germany someday...It must be a site to see and smell..Thanks again dear friend for your thoughts, and taking time to visit..I am trying to keep up your blog and everyone's as well. But if I don't get to it, I will catch up...Have a good week Hugs xx Dottie :)