I’ve been a long-time fan of baked goods, so with no more weekly sweets from my baking savvy Minnesota friends (*wink wink* you know who you are), I’ve really been craving some homemade treats since my move. I decided to tie on my apron and see if I could make an American dessert recipe work with German ingredients!
I’m not completely inept at baking, but I’d probably place myself only at the level of dabbler; I dabble in baking. So, I decided to start with something fairly simple: the classic chocolate chip cookie. As I prefer my cookies soft, I wanted to try a Pinterest recipe that claims to produce the supposed “best soft cookie ever.”
(Click here to try the recipe for yourself – for intellectual property reasons, I’m only going to list the ingredients, not quantities.)
Here’s what the recipe called for:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Unsalted butter
- Light brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Chocolate chips
Items in bold were impossible to find in any Leipzig store. Luckily I was feeling adventurous, or maybe it was the problem-solving engineer in me, or my desperation for something sweet, but I wasn’t ready to give up. I felt confident that I could find suitable substitutions, even if I could barely read the labels.
Chocolate chips⇒ solid bar of baking chocolate and a knife Baking soda⇒ Backpulver (baking powder), but I doubled the amount Brown sugar⇒ Brauen Zucker exists in Germany, but it is more like Sugar in the Raw than the sticky, soft American stuff (I used it anyway) Vanilla extract⇒ Vanille Zucker (vanilla sugar) which comes in individual use packages and works just like the extract with a little extra sweetness Cornstarch⇒ Tortenguss, my crowning achievement. I’m not actually sure what this stuff is, all I know is you can barely find corn in the grocery store, let alone cornstarch. But I picked this up from the baking aisle because the first ingredient listed was Kartoffelstärke (potato starch), so I figured potato, corn, it should work either way, right?
Right! It did work! These super soft cookies turned out so well they were all gone within two days (granted we did share many with Craig’s hockey team).
The moral of the story is don’t let a few missing ingredients stop you from pursuing your sugary dreams*! You can do it! Improvise and the results might just astonish you!
*unless you are diabetic, then better not.
What about you? Have you ever lived somewhere where you couldn’t find common cooking ingredients? Have any suggestions for cooking substitutions? Share in the comments!