I had never heard about Kräuterprinten until I noticed I would need them to prepare Sauerbraten. I googled them and found out they are German spiced cookies that are not available around here, so I decided to bake them myself. They have great depth of flavor from the spices and figs. The texture is somewhat chewy with some crispness from the rock sugar. I brought the remaining Kräuterprinten to work, and everyone loved them. You have to start three days in advance to allow the flavors to develop, but they are not hard to make.
The original German recipe calls for the old-fashioned rising agents Pottasche (potassium carbonate) and Hirschhornsalz (ammonium carbonate), which I replaced with baking powder. Two types of flour are used: wheat flour type “1050” (in Dutch: gebuilde bloem) and rye flour type “1150”. These are also old-fashioned types of flour, from which the germ and bran have not been sieved as carefully as from today’s all-purpose flour. To approximate this, you can mix equal parts of all-purpose flour and wholewheat flour.
Makes 16 to 25, depending on size
100 grams dark honey
80 grams “type 1050” flour
20 grams “type 1150” rye flour
100 grams dried figs, minced
50 ml rum
150 grams sugarbeet syrup (or other dark sugar syrup)
50 grams brown sugar
50 grams butter
50 grams rock sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp ground aniseed
grated zest of 1/2 untreated lemon
300 grams “type 1050” flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pour the honey into a saucepan.
Heat the honey over low heat until it is more fluid.
Take off the heat. Add sifted flour and rye flour.
Stir with a wooden spoon…
…until the dough has come together.
Cover and put in a cool place for 2 days.
Chop the figs.
Combine the figs in a bowl with just enough rum to cover them if you press down on them.
Cover and put in a cool place.
Combine the brown sugar and sugarbeet syrup in a saucepan.
Cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Then turn off the heat and add the butter.
Stir until the butter has melted. Allow this mixture to cool somewhat (to less than 60C/140F).
Pour the syrup mixture into the bowl of a mixer.
Add the honey and flour dough from day 1, broken into pieces.
Process until mixed.
Add lemon zest, rock sugar, and spices.
Add the rum-soaked figs.
Add the flour and baking powder.
…it is homogeneous.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or 160C/320F (fan forced).
Turn out the dough onto a work surface dusted with flour.
Use a rolling pin (also dusted with flour) to roll out the dough into a rectangle of about 6 mm (1/4 inch) thick.
Cut the dough into rectangles.
Line a baking sheet with oven paper and arrange the unbaked cookies on it.
Bake for 12 minutes at 180C/350F or 160C/320F if fan forced.
Allow to cool on a wire rack. The cookies will keep for a long time in an airtight container at room temperature. To avoid them to get stuck together, put pieces of oven paper in between the layers of cookies.
Sea bream is often served in restaurants in the south of France, so here I paired it with ratatouille from that same region.