Besides my christmas sewing marathon and some christmas decoration I’ve also started the big baking project … although … actually I’m not higly ambitious to bake masses of christmas cookies, starting some kind of competition. It’s rather that I have a few recipes that are on my list to try for a while, f.ex. torrone (nougat), salted caramels, spicy marshmallows or panettone. Nice to give away – or to eat yourself!
And then there are those things that you want to bake (or cook) because they give you this cosy childhood feeling. One of those sweet memories for me is “Magenbrot”. A sweet pastry which has its origin in Swizerland and Southern Germany where it was and is mainly sold on fun fairs, but also on christmas markets.
There, in front of the candy booth, I stood with my sisters and my brother and each one of us had the difficulty to decide. One bag for each of us … but which candy should we choose?! – “Magenbrot” mostly was my choice. Something you couldn’t get year around, something that couldn’t be found in the supermarket.
And, although nowadays it’s not a problem to get “Magenbrot” in the supermarket (at least in the bigger ones), for me it still has this aura of exclusiveness and small luxury … Does this sound too nostalgic?
Perhaps I should say a few words about what this mysterious “Magenbrot” actually consists of?
It’s a kind of gingerbread, spiced with clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. And as those spices are said to be stomach friendly, it is called “Magenbrot” (literally stomach bread). So, if you need some excuses (for others or yourself ;) ) for eating them … hey, it’s for health reasons!
What makes it so unique is the icing: it’s not sugar, it’s not chocolate – it’s both of it! This gives it this perfect taste and texture when you bite in it!
The flour which is originally used for this pastry is a swiss speciality called “Ruchmehl”. It’s defined as wheat flour that is made not only from the inside of the grain but also contains parts of the bran. At least in South Germany you can get it in some mills, but don’t worry: Simple bread flour (German type 1050) totally works as well.
Finally, there’s one important thing that you have to know about “Magenbrot”: Wait! – It’s nice after a few hours, but it’s nowhere near the the taste after a few days! So, I am repeating this: Be disciplined and WAIT! You will be rewarded.
500 g flour (“Ruchmehl” or bread flour, typo 1050), 350 ml milk, 350 g sugar, 50 g honey, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon grounded cloves, about ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
100 g dark chocolate, 100 ml water, 250 g icing sugar, 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
In a big bowl mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cocoa, spices, sugar). Add honey and milk and combine. You should end up with a sticky batter, that is just spreadable. Preheat oven to 180°C. Spread batter on a baking tray lined with parchement paper in a retangle of about 30×20 cm. This is not an easy job. It’s helpful to use a wetted dough scraper. Bake for 25 minutes. Take bread out of the oven and let cool out for a bit (not fully).
Meanwhile, prepare the icing: Break chocolate into chunks. Heat in a small pot over low heat together with water, butter and cinnamon. When the chocolate and butter has melted take off the heat and whisk in icing sugar. Put aside.
Cut bread into rhombes (or whatever shape you prefer).
Now coat the rhombes from all sides with icing by dunking them into it. The trick here is to cool down the icing to room temperature: It has already thickened then and better sticks to the bread pieces.
Let them fully cool out and soak the icing on a wire rack, best over night. In a container they keep a few weeks. They’re best after a few days! So: try to wait!