Pipe Dream #95: To Eat Snow Despite – Schneebällen

Remember that one time I went to Rothenberg? Me too. :]

Sidenote, my blog jumps around in time like H.G. Wells. I hope you don’t mind. I do live my life in real time, but you get the mad version. English people say ‘mad’ like we say ‘crazy.’ It is precious.

Anyway, this cute, Christmas-y medieval town had many cobbles and LED lights, but it also had tourist food. Duh, I know. Rothenberg is famous for its Schneebällen, or snowballs. They are big, deep-fried dough balls of awesome, and they are all over the city.

Other sidenote, I love eating snow. Everyone’s mother always tells them that snow is actually really dirty and it dehydrates you because your body has to work so hard to make it warm…but I would like to persist in my unbelief at this point. Clean snow tastes so good! It actually does. And I feel so much more refreshed after eating it. How could it not be clean and hydrating? I’m probably no better at de-toxifying my body than those tea drinkers, but I’d like to think I am. Anyway.

We stopped at one little bakery place, and I got to watch how they make them. I have named the German guy who made them Roberto because he looked somewhat Italian.

First, Roberto rolled out the snowball dough into a thin sheet with a rolling pin.

Then he sliced it into strips with this neato cutter thing, which reminded me of those quilting tool embosser things on Cake Boss. He didn’t cut the dough into actual strips; he cut almost to the edges.

Next, he put the quilted sheet into what looked like a huge tea steeper. The dough only filled the steeper halfway. My guide, Gerhardt, spoke some polite-sounding Deutsch words to Roberto at this point, and he paused very handily so I could snap this picture.

But instead of steeping the dough in water, Roberto actually steeped it in…trans fat! Actually, I don’t know if deep-frying oil is trans fat, but I can only assume that it is bad for you, and when I think of fat that is bad, I think trans fat. That sentence makes so much sense. He probably left it in there for two minutes.

When the dough popped out of the steeper, it had magically become a snowball! A very round and knotty snowball.

I think the traditional Schneebällen are dusted with powdered sugar, but who wants powdered sugar when you could have white chocolate nougat? That is what I had. It was grand.

Here is a recipe I found online for snowballs. I don’t know if it is great, because I haven’t tried it, so risk it at your peril. But seriously, at worst you will be able to eat a bunch of melted white chocolate.

Holler atcha,



Adapted from justapinch.com

4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons spiced rum

1 tablespoon cream sherry

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups sour cream

1 teaspoon nutmeg

cooking oil

powdered sugar

Cream sugar and eggs together, and then add the remaining ingredients except flour. Add the flour in gradually (cut it in with a pastry cutter, knife or with your hands) Cut in the rum, cream sherry, and sour cream to make the dough, adding flour from board as necessary. Knead about 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is stiff and shiny and pliable, then cover and chill in fridge at least one hour.
Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut into strips. Make the strips into a ball by wrapping them around each other. Fry in hot oil until golden brown on one side, then turn over and fry the other side until golden brown all over. Drain on paper towel and when cool, sprinkle powdered sugar on top.


40 Responses to “Pipe Dream #95: To Eat Snow Despite – Schneebällen”

  1. 1 therealkiki March 29, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I was in Rothenburg in 2005 with my husband (of German descent), our daughter and my father-in-law. We were in Germany for a family reunion and had planned a trip to Rothenburg afterwards. All of the German cousins made fun of us for going to a place for tourists! Well, as Canadians, I think we qualified! It’s like making fun of tourists to Vancouver for wanting to go to Whistler. Anyway, it was really quite lovely and I had forgotten all about schneebällen. So thanks for the reminder. Though I am not sure I am up for attempting to make some on my own!

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