There they are. The last three.
The bag of cookies has been with me for weeks now—at least a month. They’ve kept rather well, never losing their crisp exterior, never letting diminish their anise-oil scent. I served them to a friend over tea. I ate them in bed out of a little turquoise ramekin. I dunked them in my coffee at various times of the day. Once I even lost half a cookie to the bottom of my cup in this way.
They’re Anis Plätzchen. And I’m at the bottom of the bag.
I’m sure it seems a little strange to read an “ode” to these cookies, or to any cookies at all for that matter. But I can’t help it. If I were on the other side of that screen, I’d want to know about them. It seemed wrong to keep it a secret.
If you live in Germany, these are probably not a secret whatsoever. I imagine they might even be the kind of thing you’d find in every grocery store, on every corner; not a specialty item—ubiquitous and boring perhaps; the kind of cookie that you buy in a rush when you’ve no time to bake and your toddler is screaming. That sort of thing. They may even, for all I know, be some sort of junk food. They have all of the trappings—brightly colored, crackly, plastic exterior; corporate branding; ingredients’ lists in four languages. This is not your local, seasonal item. This one’s made in a factory.
But I love them.
And I suspect, if you’re anything like me, and you like delicate, crunchy, light cookies that can stand up to a swift dunk in your cup of tea, that you will, too.
I discovered them at this great restaurant, here in San Francisco. The place where I also learned about the delights of Nürnberger minis (a type of sausage), and where I mused over a lovely little box of chocolates covered with pictures of kittens (called, somewhat shockingly, Katzenzungen, or “cats’ tongues”). I’ve had great dinners with friends at this restaurant. It’s dark and moody, with wafting aromas of homemade sauerkraut and grilled meats, an exhaustive array of beers, and homemade Nussecken for dessert, if you can make it that far. They also carry several shelves worth of German food imports. I think of it as a lovely place to unwind and have a casual meal with friends; one that typically starts with the rapid consumption of a house-baked pretzel. Now, I also think of it as the place that once carried these cookies. I hope they keep them in stock. I’ll find out when I go back in a day or two.
I’ll finish the last three tonight after dinner. I don’t know if they’ll be easy to find again.
So here we are, faced with the last of something—I treasure them all the more because of it.
P.S. I’ll be back soon with something homemade, most likely with chocolate.
P.P.S. A pretzel recipe, for the brave.