What the hecken’s a “Schnecken”?
This past weekend, I went to a going away party for friends in Bethlehem, PA. I brought along a plateful of my famous Schnecken. After the oohs and ahhs people kept asking what it was. I proudly announced…..Schnecken was the name of the delicious delicacy they had sampled. This resulted in the usual reaction. What the heckin’s a Schnecken? So, I thought I would make the world aware of this special snack, so there is no more confusion.
This is a schnecken (pronounced shnek-en). I know it’s a strange word and even more difficult to say, unless of course, you come from Jewish or German descendants, but I want people to learn how to say it rather than confuse it for rugelach, which happens way too often.
A schnecken is a tasty little croissant-like pastry generally filled with nuts and raisins and occasionally chocolate chips (however my brother Todd prefers them without chocolate), rolled in cinnamon sugar leaving a crunchy, chewy caramelized bottom. While I am sure Schnecken is made in baked in many places around the world, this version is popular in and around the suburbs of Philadelphia. I don’t know why, and will continue to search for the origins, but as far as I know, this kind of Schnecken has it’s roots in the city of Brotherly love.
I recently did an on line search and came across the Brusken Bakery in Cincinnatti that sells something called Schnecken which is very different than my version. Theirs is more like a sticky or cinnamon bun and much larger, so don’t be confused.
The word Schnecken actually means “snail” in German, so I think this baked good gets it’s name since it’s “rolled up” like a snail. Some people make Rugelach that looks like Schnecken but it’s the dough that really makes the difference. Schnecken is made with sour cream, whereas Rugelach is made with Cream Cheese.
What is it about this scrumptious little snack that causes people to close their eyes, lick their lips and mutter, mmmmm? I have been baking Schnecken on my own for about 10 years. I learned from my mother who taught me everything I know about Schnecken. How to prepare the dough, how much cinnamon sugar to use, and the best direction to roll them up. This is one of those recipe you must watch someone make before you tackle it.
Some day, I may open up a Schnecken business to share this yummy treat with all of you. So, stay tuned.
Entry filed under: Pastry, Pretzelgirl's Favorites, schnecken, Snack History, Snack Trivia, snacks. Tags: how to make schnecken, philadelphia and schnecken, schnechen vs rugelach, schnecken, schnecken recipe.