In honor of the real Santa, happy Saint Nicholas Day!
We made Weckmann, or Nikolaus, for the occasion. These are soft bread “men” made in the shape of ginger bread men. I will share my own version below.
It has been tradition for the children to place their house shoes or slippers outside their bedroom doors for St. Nicholas to fill with Weckmann, oranges and candies. Since we have a puppy in the house who could enjoy them before the children do, we decorate the table and place the Weckmann on plates.
1 1/2 cups water or milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups King Arthur Bread Flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Combine all ingredients in bowl or in bread machine on dough cycle. Let it rise until doubled. Knead dough and divide into four equal parts. Form each of these into “men” shapes by forming a ball head, and cutting arms and legs. Place on greased baking sheets to rise. When nearly doubled, brush on an egg wash and decorate. The egg wash will help to hold your decorations and will make the Weckmann shiny. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.