Mutzenmandeln get their name from their shape: The word “Mandeln” means “Almonds” and these sweet carnival pastries are shaped like almonds.
I Don’t Like Carnival!
Mutzenmandeln are baked and consumed during carnival weeks between January 1st and Ash Wednesday. Since carnival (here in the US known as Mardi gras) is a tradition mostly celebrated in the region of Rheinland (Düsseldorf, Bonn, Essen, Köln and the area around), I have no real relation to this recipe from my childhood and honestly? I don’t really like carnival. You can’t get any work done during that time if you have colleagues from that area because they are either too drunk to work or simply unexcused absent – most of the time probably both. Don’t try to call anyone in the first half of February if they are located in the Köln, Düsseldorf area, it’s not worth your time. It’s like they are having a two weeks long crazy office Christmas party there.
But many people in Germany really get excited about this often weeklong celebration and since it is connected to heavy drinking, it is a good idea to have a stomach filled with good food, too.
The German “Karneval” (carnival) ends on Ash Wednesday where lent begins. So, to make up for the following weeks of sacrifice, people really enjoy stuffing themselves with good food beforehand. That is why many of the recipes during that time are rich in ingredients and often sweet.
Mutzenmandeln are just one of the pastries traditionally eaten during this time. The “Berliner” or “Krapfen” that I made for New Year’s are also a part of the feasting. The Mutzenmandeln might also remind you of the “Schmalzgebäck” from the Christmas markets. While Schmalzgebäck is made with a yeast dough, Mutzenmandeln have baking powder as a rising agent – or Pottashe if you can get it anywhere.
For the dough
- 500 g Flour All Purpose
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 150 g Sugar
- 3 ct. Eggs
- 150 g Butter or Margarine soft
- some Rum Extract
For the frying
- 750 ml Oil i.e. peanut oil, coconut oil
- some Confectioners Sugar or regular Sugar
- Put all dough ingredients into a mixing bowl and use a kneading attachment to create a dough.
- Give the dough a short knead by hand, then wrap it and put into the fridge for one hour.
- After the resting time in the fridge, roll out the dough.
- Heat the Oil to 170°C / 340°F.
- Cut out the almond shapes with the cookie cutter as shown in the video.
- Put some of the almond shaped dough pieces into the hot oil – don't but in too at a time many though!
- Fry until they have a nice golden color, then take them out with a slotted spoon and put them onto a cooling rack.
- Sprinkle with sugar or confecioners sugar immediately.