There is nothing quite as special as spending the holiday season surrounded by chilly weather, sparkling light, and the scent of festive treats. Europe’s famous holiday markets provide all of the above but the food and beverages you try will stay with you for years to come. Below we have listed easy recipes for our favorite holiday delicacies so you can enjoy these unique European treats from the comfort of your own home.

 

1. Bûche de Noël

 

Photo courtesy of Kisoulou

This french cake is crafted to represent yule logs with chocolate frosting as the bark, and a soft sponge cake and icing swirled in the center!

Prep time: 40 min. | Total time: 3 hr. | Feeds: 8

Ingredients

For the cake
  • large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Filling
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. In a medium bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl beat egg yolks until thick. Slowly add ½ cup sugar and beat until pale then beat in flour mixture.
  3. In another large bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining ¼ cup sugar a little at a time. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter in two batches.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until top springs back when lightly pressed, 12 minutes.
  5. Dust a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar and invert warm cake onto the towel. Peel off the parchment paper.
  6. Starting at the short end, use the towel to tightly roll cake into a log. Let cool completely.
  7. Make filling: if using gelatin, place 2 tablespoons of cold water in a shallow microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle gelatin in an even layer on top. Let bloom for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. In a large bowl, beat together heavy cream, powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, until medium peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  9. When cake is cool, unroll and spread filling evenly. Roll cake back into a log, using the towel to help create a tight roll. Place seam side down on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  10. Make frosting: In a large bowl beat butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat until no lumps remain then beat in vanilla, heavy cream, and salt.
  11. When ready to serve, trim ends and frost cake with chocolate buttercream.

 

2. Gluhwein

 

Photo courtesy of Hannah Pemberton

No holiday is complete without a festive toasty drink! This german beverage is a spiced mulled wine, made with the purpose of making you glow with warmth.

Prep time: 10 min. | Total time: 45 min. | Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 bottle red wine

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)

 

3. Linzer Cookies

 

Photo courtesy of Monika Grabkowska

A favorite in Austria, Linzer cookies are a soft sugar cookie served with jam inside or out!

Prep time: 1 hr. | Total time: 1 hr. 15 min. | Makes: 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • large egg
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and vanilla.
  2. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg mixture and beat until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated.
  3. Divide dough in half, form each half into a disk and place each between 2 large sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough to 1/8″ in thickness. Place dough sheets on a baking sheet or cutting board and transfer to refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 375° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Peel away one layer of parchment paper from your dough and use a 2″ round cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Use a smaller round cookie cutter to cut windows in half the cookies, if desired.
  5. Place cookies on baking sheet about 1″ apart. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden. Let cool.
  6. In a microwave-safe bowl, stir 1 teaspoon water into jam. Microwave on low for 30 seconds, then spread about 1/2 tsp of jam in the center of a cookie, then top with second cookie.

 

These are just a few examples of the many treats that you will find across the holiday markets in Europe. Email us at info@esplanadetravel.com to begin planning your next journey today!

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