The German Christmas cookies Aachener Printen is a gingerbread that was created 1820 in the German city Aachen. So what is a Printe? It comes from english “print” and dutch “prent”. Back then they used a special carved wooden model that what used to print the cookies (see picture of the form).
Original Aachener Printen are only these ones that are made in the city of Aachen and some of the cities close by, the name is protected and copy righted. Baking them in the USA can be difficult because you need special ingredients. The recipe is using Pot ash. what is that?
Pottasche,” potash or pearlash is a baking aid used in some German baking recipes, especially gingerbread recipes. It is often used in conjunction with hartshorn or baker’s ammonia. In modern baking it has been all but replaced by baking soda (“Natron” or sodium bicarbonate).
“Pottasche” or pearlash is also known as potassium carbonate (K2CO3). It is an alkaline salt (white powder) which reacts with water or an acid (sour milk or fruit juice, for example) to create carbon dioxide, which gives baked goods lift.
As a substitute, use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for every teaspoon of pearlash or potash.
The taste of the final product may be different from the original.
Also Known As: potassium carbonate - salts of tartar - pearlash - carbonate of potash - K2CO3
500 g sugar beet sirup (Zuckerruebensirup, see below)
200 g brown sugar
750 g rye flour or wheat
80 g chopped candied orange peel (orangeat) and/or zitronat - Go to the Recipe: How to make Orangeat and Zitronat)
Find Zitronat online
peel of 1 organic orange
1 tsp cloves
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp anise
1/2 tsp Piment or Allspice
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp coriander
1 tbsp potassium carbonate or Pottasche
optional: almonds to decorate, chocolate to glaze them after they are baked)
- Heat sugar beet syrup with brown sugar until sugar dissolved completely.
- Let it cool off a bit.
- Mix flour with spices, salt, grated orange peel, then carefully mix with sugar.
- Dissolve potassium carbonate in water and fold it in.
- Now knead the dough, if it should be too dry add some water.
- Finally knead in orangeat.
- Let dough rest for 3 days at a cool place, but not the fridge. Ideal would be a cool basement.
- After the 3 days, roll the dough in portions (thick as one finger), cut it in rectangles or use cookie cutters.
The typical Printen are 2cm wide and 7 cm long. Place half of an almond in the middle or coat them with dark chocolate (melt dark chocolate in double boiler, dip Printen into chocolate and let them get dry.
- Bake them on 160 C or 330 F for 15-20 minutes. They still should be soft as after they are cooled off they will become firmer and hard.
Keep them in a tin box, they can be kept for a long time and their taste will get better and better. Start making them in November so they will be perfect for Christmas.