In Germany you can buy buns in the bakery that are called “Amerikaner” (Americans) which I loved eating back home. After baking a couple of them myself last week I wanted to find out why they are called “Americans”.
There are different explanations but my favourite story is this one told by a German granny:
She grew up in Hessen (a federal state in Germany) which belonged to the American occupation zone after the second world war. Some Americans missed the cakes they knew from home and started baking their own. But food was rationed so they baked cakes with simple ingredients which were called “Black and White Cookies”. Germans who found that name too difficult to pronounce simply called them Americans. I don’t know if this story is true but it sounds nice.
Last week Finn and I tried baking them for a friend’s birthday. They turned out very yummy…
I found the recipe here (Dr. Oetker) and translated it into English for you:
Americans (or Black and White Cookies)
- 75 g soft butter
- 100 g sugar
- 5 drops of vanilla extract
- pinch of salt (if your butter isn’t salted like it is in Ireland)
- 2 eggs
- 250 g flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder (which makes them fluffier)
- 100 ml milk
for the black and white icing:
- 150 g dark chocolate
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 200 g icing sugar
- water or lemon juice (about 3 tablespoons)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas 4).
Cream butter with a mixer. Add sugar, salt, vanilla extract and eggs. Mix well.
In another bowl mix flour and baking powder. Slowly add flour mixture and milk to wet ingredients while stirring.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Use two tablespoons to put six little heaps of dough onto the tray (use half the dough for the first tray). Be careful to leave enough space between them because they will rise.
Put the tray into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 min (after 15 min use a brush to coat the buns with a bit of milk).
Take out and leave cool down on a rack. Do the same with the second half of dough.
When the buns are cool you can turn them around and “paint” half of them with melted chocolate and the other half with white icing made from icing sugar and lemon juice (or water).