Thursday, April 1, 2010

Last Minute Karneval Cookies and Mayhem

Original Post 2/15/10

For various reasons this year we blew off a dive trip to Ko Chang, Thailand and then the possibility of a trip to Paris for Valentine's Day. We stayed home and celebrated Karneval. Every year I moan and groan when I hear the first Karneval cry of ALAAF!  However, once in costume and having downed a few glasses of sekt, I am singing and dancing along like the rest of the natives. Part of the fun for me is watching my husband enjoying himself being so completely at home in his element.

There is no way to describe Karneval here in this part of Germany. My husband says, like him, you have to be born to it to get the whole experience.  Everyone just goes crazy for about a week with nonstop parties and parades and all sorts of insanity happening everywhere. For you New Yorkers think Halloween Parade times 1000. The kids stand in the streets and are showered with candy and toys from the floats. Much less work and more efficient than trick or treating.  The world famous celebration is in Cologne.  I didn't have the energy to get up and battle the insane crowds this morning so here's a peek into yesterday's local celebration in our village:

All rules are off during this celebration.  you might find yourself walking down the street and kissed by a stranger dressed as a bee or handed candy by a dragon or a little bottle of alcohol by a pirate.

My husband,  a Wagner aficionado, a man with multiple medical degrees and fluent in several languages can be found jumping around in a hippie costume singing "Ich hab ne zweibel aufm kopf, Ich bin ein döner". Translation : I have an onion on my head.  I am a Turkish Kebab (no further explanation needed on why I married him.) Karneval songs range from silly to funn  to traditional to sometimes just gross like "Finger up the ass in Mexico".

I'll never forget my first experience with Karneval. A few years before I met my husband,  I was on a business trip to Cologne and had an early morning pickup to get to the studio for a rehearsal and a taping. My cab driver showed up at my hotel at 6AM in full clown drag, makeup, big red nose and all.   I had no idea this was completely normal that time of year and immediately started looking for the hidden camera. I just didn't get it back then.

Last Thursday we went to Aachen to celebrate like we do most every year meeting friends/ex-colleagues of hubby from his days working at the hospital there. All I can say is those surgical nurses can PARTY.

Yesterday, we went with our family to the local Karneval parade (see video below).  Every year we are invited to a family friend's house directly on the main drag where the Karneval Zug (parade) passes by.  And every year it cracks me up that once the parade is finished, they circle around and go again.  Now that's serious partying!

Ok now onto the cookies...

A last minute request to make cookies for the festivities had me thinking creatively fast.  I almost caved and whipped up a few batches of chocolate chip cookies but they seemed too lackluster to celebrate Karneval.

Luckily, I had some sugar cookie batter in the freezer.  After it softened I divided it into seven portions.  Six of them, I colored with Karneval colors.

I rummaged around in my cookie cutter collection and pulled out a mask, a star, a bon-bon and a crown and used the uncolored dough to cut out the shapes.

I mixed up a quick batch of royal icing (powdered sugar, powdered egg whites and a few tablespoons of milk). After dividing the icing into six portions, I tinted them the same karneval colors as I colored the dough then painted and glittered the cookies.

I like this picture because of the shadows the masks threw on the table.

For the colored dough, I took a new cutter out for a test drive.  You can insert letters to stamp on the cookies. ALAAF seemed appropriate. Kölle  Alaaf is the Karneval cry in the Cologne area. Since 1550, Alaaf has been a German celebration drinking word.

I stamped out the shapes and sprinkled sugar glitter on the before baking.

They were a big hit, especially with the kids.

Karneval Cookies 2010 Happy Rosenmontag!

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