Stuck in your kitchen due to excessive snowing? Get your circus cookie cutters out and hark the call of the (Alsacian) wild.

boost up the bass baby


National Geographics (cf Les Photographies de la vie sauvage ) is also interested in the tragic fate of small buttery elephants.

Williams Sonoma makes those wicked cookie cutters, but they have been discontinued recently - alas. I must have grabbed one of the last boxes, and golly (sapristi) I'm damn glad I did. Hours of endless fun if you ask me. They are beyond funky. Once you get the trick with the embossing spring thing, it's a piece o' cake (quand t'as pigé comment le bidule à ressort marche, c'est les mains dans les poches). They now do cutters with the same mechanism, but for Christmas ornaments. Boooo. Hm, there's a huge discount. I guess it's OK then.


and that of tigers preying on cranes

As for the recipe, I got mine from Suzanne Roth's anthology of Alsacian bredele, those Christmas cookies every Alsacian woman feels compelled to bake around the Advent season, in quantities which could probably give diabetes to most of the third world.The witty subtitle to "Les petits gâteaux d'Alsace" is--as you my polyglot readers may have guessed-- "S'Bredlebuech".Shall I add that Suzanne is a little bit of a star in Alsace. Think of her as the Alsacian Nigella. At the very least, cup-size wise.

Now, in an attempt to disorientate you a tad further, here is a recipe for "Schwobebredele", also called "Himmelgestirn" in some parts of Alsace. Such a pleasant and melodic dialect don't you think. I guess I could call them "Christmas almond cookies" but really where's the fun.


Pygme giraffes have been proven not to be a myth.

A day ahead, prepare the dough by combining 1/2lb of soft butter (add salt if using unsalted butter), with 1/2lb of sugar and 1/2lb of almond meal. Then add two eggs, one heaped tsp of cinnamon (adjust to taste), a little bit of lemon zest, and a shot of kirsch (yes, this is Alsacian, and yes, have a shot of it yourself while you watch your processor doing all the work - cheers! [G'sundheit!]). Then add a pound of flour and mix until just incorporated. Refrigerate 'til the morrow.


Roll it out, flouring abundantly your countertop and your rolling pin, until you reach a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Cut out your funky animals. Make a pig's ear of the first two (foirez les deux premiers) but keep going until you get the knack of it. It's rewarding. If you have a yolk standing in your fridge, use it to glaze your cookies.


Pop them on a Silpat or some baking parchment, and cook for about 10 minutes at 325°F. Keep an eye on them.You want them to be slightly darker than in the picture. Toasted, if you like, not burnt though.


You big softy you. I bet you "ooooh"-ed.