My Grandmother's German Sour Cream Twists
Today is Room for Tuesday’s annual design blog holiday cookie swap and I’m excited to be sharing my Granny Annie’s recipe for German sour cream twists. Come on in to our Farmhouse kitchen…
This is my Granny Annie’s German sour cream twist recipe. In the 50s and 60s she was a homemaker in the Vista Hills neighborhood of Portland, OR and an intellectual and a world traveller and a mother to 4 boys. She made these for her family back then and they’ve been a staple on our family’s holiday table ever since. For 60+ years, this recipe has been passed down, written on recipe card after recipe card, altered a bit here and there, and I know that Granny Annie, who passed away 8 years ago, would be tickled that I shared it with you.
I’m serving these twists on Nana’s (my great grandmother) china platter. These usually come out for special occasions and while I’m not always sure I’m a china kind of person, I love this pattern. The set was a wedding gift from Nana’s mother (my great, great grandmother) in 1918. When Nana was 86, she passed the set down to my mother and thankfully stowed a note in the sugar jar with a bit of their history. My mom gave the set to me a few years ago. Can you imagine all the treats, cups of tea, and good company that have been enjoyed over these in the past 102 years?!
Okay, lets get back to the German sour cream twists…
These twists are yeasty and old-fashioned and not-too-sweet. There’s no sugar in the dough, but you add some in as you roll it out, meaning you can decide how sweet to make them. My dad always adds a layer of almond paste or marzipan inside, so I make them like that too. But you can skip the almond paste or swap it for chocolate or Nutella.
German Sour Cream Twists
recipe from my Granny Annie
Yield: 4 dozen
for the twists:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 pkg)
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, cold
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup sugar
Almond Paste (optional):
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar + more for rolling out
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp water
Disolve yeast in warm water with 1 tsp of sugar. Set aside for a few minutes while it activates.
In a medium bowl, sift flour and salt. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your hands. Add to the flour the yeast mixture, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, stirring until just combined. Note that there’s no sugar added to the dough except for the teaspoon in the yeast (we’ll use the rest of the sugar during the roll-out process). Cover bowl with a damp cloth and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
To make the almond paste, add almond flour and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to a food processor. Add almond extract and pulse. Add 1 tbsp of water and mix until dough forms into a ball. I like to add the water slowly to make sure the paste doesn’t get too moist. Roll out the almond paste on a powder-sugared board to about 6”x8”, cut in half so that you have two 8” pieces, cover, and set aside.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out half of dough on a sugared board into 8”x16”. Place half of the almond paste onto the middle of the dough so that the almond paste extends across the short-end of the dough (there’s a video below to show you the process). Fold the ends of the dough in thirds towards the center, with the ends overlapping over top of the paste. Sprinkle with sugar, roll again to 8”x16”, repeat a third time.
Roll dough to 1/4” thick. Cut into 1”x4” strips. Twist ends opposite directions and lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet, pressing ends to keep shape. Finish with decorating sugar and/or an almond pressed in the center. Bake for 12 minutes or until delicately brown. Remove from baking sheet immediately and cool on a drying rack.
Repeat with second half of dough.
I usually store these for a few days on the counter covered with plastic wrap (they get pretty moist if stored in an air-tight container)
Here’s a quick video to show you what the roll-out process looks like.
Like so many things in 2020, this cookie swap is virtual, and you can find recipes from fellow design/home bloggers below:
Hope you enjoy these German sour cream twists as much as my family does!
Wishing you a merry, bright, and safe Christmas and New Year! We’ll be taking a break from blogging over the holidays to spend time with our family and unplug…see you in January!