Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wo ist mein G-g-g-g-grittibänz?!

Last week I returned from a mega fein trip in Switzerland. Being the big food lover I am, I ate double portions of every new thing in my path. I'm sure Switzerland's Cheese, Chocolate, and Bakery industries had slight profit increases during my stay there. From day one, as soon as I settle down after arriving from the airport, I was told to remember the word "Grittibänz"... Good thing I remembered the word because I had Grittibänz almost every day I was there!!

Grittibänz is a cute little bread-dude which is suppose to be an effigy of good ol' Saint Nicholas. In order to commemorate Nic's death on December 6th, these little guys o' yeast are sold EVERYWHERE in Europe. There wasn't a single store or bakery that didn't have an army of Grittibänz. So it was my mission to try all the G-bänz I could in order to find the best one. When I got back in the states... it dawned on me that instead of looking for the golden G-bänz I can just make one myself!! With that said, here is the simple recipe I used to make some homemade Grittibänz!!!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/6 cup of sugar
  • 1/6 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp anise seed
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
As you can see the ingredients are pretty simple and much like any other kind of bread. The sugar and spices give it that extra Christmas flavor. I experimented with whole wheat flour this time which gives the bread a heavier feel to it, but really you can use whatever flour you like! So mix the ingredients, let the dough rise, and you're ready to make some Grittibänz! The difficult part was molding the dough into little dough-men. Basically I made a ball for the head and attached it to a large oval of dough. With the large oval part, I made a small cut in the middle for the legs and two on the side for the arms. After I made the small incisions it was fairly simple to mold them into arms and legs. Next I took the remaining dough and flattened it with a rolling pin. Then I took a small knife and cut various shapes like hats, shoes, shirt buttons, and a belt. Remember this is just a recipe so you can make whateeeeeever your creative mind can think of!

And the result?!?

MMMmmmm!!! Ist super gut man!!! I used cut up figs for the eyes and mouth and decided to make one white-dude-bänz and one asian-bänz. The bread was definitely more heavy with the whole wheat but the freshly baked crispiness took me back to the small bakeries in Switzerland...

Of course I can't just eat bread without something to drink so I decided to make a little something that I thoroughly enjoyed while I was binging on food in the Christmas markets of Europe - Glühwein!! This warm Christmas wine always went down smoothly with the Swiss Roclettes and everything else I managed to stuff in my mouth. All I did was warmed up some red wine with a cinnamon stick, a couple of cardamon seeds, some whole clove seeds, lemon zest, sugar, and some ground allspice. After 20 minutes of this festive mixture simmering, my house smelt like an x-mas par-taaay! It's been rather cold outside as well so it was the perfect drink to warm up.

So with that, Gritti and I wish everyone a good holiday month filled with fattening treats, spoiled kids, and sore backs from shoveling 12 inches of snow outside after a blizzard...