Recipes Inspired by Musicals: Cabaret

Sunday, October 12, 2014

“What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.”
- from “Cabaret”

Andrew and I saw Cabaret in 1999 in Toronto. Joely Fisher (daughter of Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens) starred as Sally Bowles in this musical set in Berlin in the early 1930s. Sally is a cabaret performer at the tawdry Kit Kat Klub and, through her eyes, we see a snapshot of a city in its last hours before the world changes. The Master of Ceremonies at the nightclub evokes the Nazis who are becoming more powerful every day.

The performances were great, and we thoroughly enjoyed the show. Not really enough to write a blog post about.

Until this summer, when we visited Berlin.

Partly because of Cabaret, I envisioned Berlin as a whirlwind of music and entertainment. And it’s true – it’s been called the city with the best nightlife in the world. Andrew and I were determined to experience it.  Unfortunately, many of the clubs open at 1 am and stay open until mid-morning, which doesn’t really coincide with our inner clocks.

I briefly considered a post-breakfast club visit, but that went against the spirit of a “night” club. I kept looking, and found a jazz club a mere two blocks from our hotel. One that would give us a chance to get home by midnight.

The club was everything I’d imagined. More people were squeezed into a small, sweltering room than I could believe. Andrew and I shared a tiny table, barely large enough to hold our drinks, with a couple that spoke no English. We had beer that started cold and was lukewarm by the time it got to the table. We were an arm’s length from the stage.

It was magical.

The evening only got better when Azuleo took the stage. This amazing group featured performers on flamenco guitar, saxophone and flute, among other instruments. It doesn’t sound like it would work, but it did, beautifully.

Since we speak no German, we were confused when the group left the stage around 10:15 and the club cleared out. The show couldn’t possibly be over, could it? We remained puzzled until I looked out a tiny window, and saw the crowd huddled on an equally small strip of sidewalk, smoking furiously. Ten minutes later, we were all crammed into the club again for a fabulous second half of the show.

Life is a cabaret, indeed.

You probably saw this coming: the only recipe that could possibly accompany this post is one for Kit Kat cookies. I asked Andrew to help me describe them, and he said, “They’re like your chocolate chip cookies, except with Kit Kats added.” That is, indeed, completely factual. These cookies won’t necessarily evoke pre-war Berlin, but they will taste like chocolate chip cookies with Kit Kats added. You heard it here first.

("Recipes Inspired by Musicals" is a biannual feature on my blog. For links to previous posts, check the bottom of my recipe index.)

Kit Kat Cookies
(adapted slightly from Crazy For Crust)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup Kit Kats, strips separated and broken into four or five pieces each (about 3 regular sized chocolate bars)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


In a stand mixer, cream butter and both sugars until combined. Add egg, mixing completely. Mix in vanilla extract.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate small bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix on the lowest speed until just barely combined. Add Kit Kat pieces and chocolate chips; mix on low speed for 10 to 15 seconds, or until incorporated.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough for 1 hour or longer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Form into cookies and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.


Daniela Grimburg said...

Never before reading your post I heard that Berlin night life is that exciting.
Sounds like great fun, even I'm not sure about the timing :)
Thanks for taking us along , Beth!

Angie's Recipes said...

I only watched the movie Cabaret starring Liza Minnelli before and I quite enjoyed it.
1 am to mid-morning...oh my..I usually go to bed before 11pm...I think a tea party is more like my thing. LOL
Those cookies look awesome, Beth.

Catherine said...

I never knew this about German nightlife either; though the cookies sound wonderful. Blessings dear. Catherine

Valerie Gamine said...

Ooo, flamenco guitar...yes!! The sultry setting was an ideal ambiance. :-) Whenever I visit Europe (which is not often enough) I allow myself to buy one pack of cigarettes. Yes, I know it's terrible but luckily it never morphs into a habit...
Please don't tell my mom! :D

Love your Kit Kat cookies! (And your husbands flowery description!!) xo

Beth said...

Valerie, your secret is safe with me.
Andrew is a man of many words, isn't he?

Julie said...

Another wonderful journey. Love reading about them! Kit Kat's are one of my favorite candy bars, I've been adding them to brownies these days. Now I can add them to chocolate chip cookies, too? Dangerous! Thanks for the great recipe.

Amy said...

My husband and I kept seeing Kit Kat Halloween commercials last night and were thinking about how long it had been since we had one. These cookies look do delicious! I'm tempted to go buy a bag.

Gloria Baker said...

Sounds really fun! And remember well Cabaret and enjoyed so much!
Love these cookies Beth:)

Jemi Fraser said...

Love that song - going to have it stuck in my head for the day! :)
Kit Kat cookies sound awesome!!

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

I love reading your posts! They always transport me to new places and experiences. =) And these cookies look and sound SO wonderful - just perfect!

Lisa Ho said...

Love reading your post and the cookies...ahhh beautiful....
it had me at kit kat

Marcela said...

I love your posts!... And your cookies look awesome! I'm going to prepare them soon!:)

Katerina said...

I saw cabaret in Broadway NY with John Stamos and not only did I love the play but also Stamos was an apocalypse for me. I always thought he was a citcom actor, but he proved to be very talented. Your cookies are right up my alley!

Barbara said...

Fascinating about the nightclubs. (And the smoking) When in Europe we always have to change our eating clocks, as everyone eats so much later than we do, but 1 AM is a bit much for me too.
Your cookies look yummy! Fun connect to nightclubbing.

Monica said...

This is so fun! I know I would love these cookies - Kit Kats are a fave here!

lisa is cooking said...

How fun! The jazz club and music sound great. Great choice for a cookie to go with the theme too!

Romance Book Haven said...

Oh, my! I love the yummy recipe and to go with Jazz? Awesome!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

What a perfect post-Halloween cookie! And now I'm going to be humming songs from Cabaret to myself the rest of the evening :)

Joanne said...

How funny about the intermission! I would have been confused also. And what fun cookies! I doubt we'll have any Halloween candy to use up in these, but I will make sure to pick some up the day AFTER Halloween when it all goes on sale!

Anonymous said...

Love the cookies. What a great way to use up all of the Halloween candy!

Kitchen Riffs said...

What a fun experience! I've been to Berlin only very briefly, and need to return -- such fabulous museums! Missed the nightlife completely -- no time, too tired. Next visit we'll do it! And then dream about these cookies. ;-) Fun post -- thanks.

Crystal Collier said...

Those cookies look so delicious. Now I'm going to be craving cookies for the rest of the day.

Intermission... I love it! You make me want to travel.

grace said...

give me a break! :) your cookies look and sound delicious. :)

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Loved Cabaret too! Cute recipe!

Claudia said...

Of course you made Kit Kat cookies! Perfect! With my many outings to various versions of Cabaret, I never did associate modern day Berlin with nightlife (I can be dense). Lovely to see that!

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