Our oven broke last week. I was in the middle of baking banana bread and didn’t think to heat up the oven until after I mashed up the bananas and cracked the eggs. Tossing it all made me wince. We’re in the midst of figuring out to do with the landlady. She doesn’t live in Berlin and she doesn’t have internet access at home so it always takes awhile for her to get back to us. At first I was freaking out – how will we LIVE without an OVEN? – but then I realized that I don’t use the oven that much for meals. We’re a stir-frying, pan-searing sort of a family.
Of course, that doesn’t solve the problem with baking. I love to bake. That banana bread is a once a week sort of deal and, of course, as much as some bakeries may try, there really is no where in Berlin to get a good chocolate chip cookie.
Then a few days ago, Jon and I wandered into one of our favorite bookstores, Fürst & Ivan, where I found this:
The photos are so pretty and with that font I probably would have bought a book about earthworms. I guess I’m just that susceptible to hipster aesthetics. I flipped through out, trying to tell myself to put it down, that the oven was broken and I wouldn’t be able to use it, and then I saw the recipe for Kalter Hund. Kalter Hund, literally “cold dog,” is a German refrigerator cake meaning it doesn’t need to actually bake. Ok, that’s it. I’m sold.
The recipe is really easy; in fact, its barely a recipe at all – something you probably know if you’ve ever seen a Kalter Hund in person. The “cake” is just layers and layers of butter cookies and chocolate. Unfortunately, all of this confidence in making my non-recipe meant that I didn’t buy enough chocolate. I was forced to break into my secret stash to even it out.
At this point, S had no idea why I had so much chocolate and why I was not giving it to her for immediate consumption. Luckily, the “cake” is so easy and there’s no raw egg in it, so its perfect dessert little
After a while, she got bored with just layering and decided that tasting would be a better use of her time and expertise. I made our Kalter Hund in a 9×9 pan, but it should really be set in a loaf pan. Its the traditional shape and your chocolate layers will be a bit thicker. It would also be good with fruit or nuts thrown in. I’ve also had it before with rum-soaked cookies. Obviously not for the kinder, but very good.
And as soon as I have a working oven again, I’m making Amerikanerin or, as we call them on the East Coast, black and white cookies!