Süss: Sweet German Treats for Every Occasion, written by Audrey Leonard, features a delicious collection of German cakes, breads, pastries, and desserts with both classic and new flavors. A few highlights include Mocha Mousse Cake (Mokkatorte), Red Currant Buns (Johannisbeerschnecken), Kinder Chocolate Ice Cream (Kinder Eis), and Almond Marzipan Cookies (Mandelhörnchen). I will also be sharing her recipe for Engelsaugen (Angel Eyes) following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Page Street Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Audrey Leonard is a recipe developer and professional food photographer. She is also creator of the blog, Red Currant Bakery.
Her work has been featured in ZEITmagazin and Bake from Scratch and this is her first cookbook. She is currently based in New York City.
Audrey begins Süss with a short introduction and how she developed a love for baking from her mom and Oma. She created this cookbook to share those memories of favorite German sweets with others.
Chapters are divided according to the following: Cakes (Kuchen); Sweet Doughs & Breads (Süßer Teig und Brot); Puddings, Creams & Ice Creams (Pudding, Creme und Eis); and Christmas (Weihnachten). The contents have a list of the recipes with page number for easy reference.
Audrey also provides the beautiful photography. Every recipe is paired with at least one vibrant full-page photo of the finished treat. There are a few step by step photos demonstrating specific techniques such as forming Krapfen (Donuts) and creating Plunderteig (Laminated Dough).
Measurements are listed in Metric and US Customary. Titles are written in English and German. Each recipe has a headnote with background information, personal stories, yield, and helpful notes.
Engelsaugen (Angel Eyes)
To pair with the review, I made Audrey’s Engelsaugen (Angel Eyes)! Also known as Husarenkrapfen or Husarenkrapferl in Austria, these classic thumbprint cookies have a light and crumbly shortcrust base with a sweet jam center.
They are perfect for the upcoming holidays and a fun one to make with the whole family.
To help hold the shape, the cookies have two resting times, but otherwise require minimal effort. After bringing together the buttery dough and chilling in the refrigerator for an hour, the mixture is separated into individual balls and arranged on prepared baking sheets.
A round teaspoon is pressed into the center of each ball to make the indentation (my daughter made a heart shape in a couple), then the dough goes back into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
They are finally filled with jam and baked until set and lightly golden on the bottom. Allow to cool to room temperature, then dust with powdered sugar before serving.
A Few Tips
Adding the jam before baking reduces it a bit in the oven to create a more intense flavor.
The key to these cookies is adding enough jam to fill, but not so much that it bubbles over the edges. Audrey recommends just under 1 teaspoon of jam for 25 grams (1 ounce) of dough.
She went with raspberry jam for the filling. The Engelsaugen are definitely a great way to use up leftover jam. I used raspberry in half of the cookies and a favorite Johannisbeergelee (red currant jelly) in the other half.
If the dough is too cold to shape and press without cracking, continue to roll between your hands or bring to room temperature for a couple of minutes before trying again.
I also made Ausgezogene (Bavarian Style Donuts), Quarktaschen (Quark Puff Pastry Hand Pies), Nußschleifen (Hazelnut Pastry Twists), and Eierlikör (Egg & Rum Liqueur).
There is quite the collection of doughnut recipes in Süss and my son immediately requested the Ausgezogene (Bavarian Style Donuts). These yeast-based doughnuts are pulled thin in the center (perfect for even cooking) and fried until fluffy and golden. There are served rolled in sugar or with a dusting of powdered sugar.
The Quarktaschen (Quark Puff Pastry Hand Pies) have such a wonderful combination of textures with a flaky puff pastry crust filled with a smooth and creamy Quark center. This particular recipe is a great option if you want a pastry, but aren’t ready to work with a homemade laminated dough.
If you are ready to work with homemade laminated dough, I tried the Plunderteig recipe and am so excited with the results! It was a fun weekend project and I used the dough to make Nußschleifen (Hazelnut Pastry Twists). Hazelnut pastries in all their fantastic varieties are my favorite and I loved trying this twisted shape with layers of flaky dough and a hazelnut marzipan filling. They are best warm from the oven with a light lemon glaze.
I love that Süss has recipes for homemade Quark (it can be difficult for me to find) and Eierlikör! Eierlikör (egg liqueur) is a favorite during the holidays and comes together with only a few ingredients. It can be served on its own or used in desserts such as Audrey’s Eierlikör Walnut Cake.
Süss is a great pick for those interested in German treats during the holidays and throughout the year. Many of the recipes come together relatively easily while others are best for more intricate weekend projects with detailed instructions every step of the way.
Most of the ingredients are readily available in larger American grocery stores. A few items that may require further searching include frozen red currants, Zwetschgen, semolina flour, brown rice flour, hazelnuts, and back oblaten.
Engelsaugen (Angel Eyes) Recipe
Excerpt from Süss
Engelsaugen (Angel Eyes)
- 150 grams (2/3 cup) butter softened
- 100 grams (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 250 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 100 grams (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) raspberry jam
- 50 grams (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar for dusting, optional
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the butter, powdered sugar, egg yolks and both extracts.
- Use the paddle attachment to cream them together on low speed and then on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and add in the all-purpose flour. Mix again until the flour is just combined.
- Press the dough together into a ball, place in a sheet of plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F (177˚C) and place two racks in the oven so that they divide it into thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Divide the dough into 25-gram (1-ounce) portions and roll them into smooth balls.
- Space them evenly across both baking sheets.
- Use a round teaspoon scoop to press into the top of each ball of dough and create an indentation.
- Place the cookies back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Once chilled, take the cookies out of the refrigerator. Spoon slightly less than 1 teaspoon of jam into the indentation of each cookie.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, swap the baking sheets and rotate them 180 degrees. Bake for another 7 minutes.
- Once baked and just barely golden brown on the bottom edge, take the baking sheets out of the oven and place them on wire racks to cool.
- Optionally, dust the cookies with powdered sugar once they are cooled.