Traditional German Christmas Cookies- Recipes to Bake and Links to Buy
Oh my, I do love Traditional German Christmas Cookies. We would bake some, but most we would get from my Opa. You see, every year he would carry a suitcase full over or send us a massive package , wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine… we’d open it up and find a treasure trove of Cookies ( Plätzchen), and Chocolates (Schokolade). Mom would keep a plate with a few of them on the coffee table from the beginning of December (well, the first Sunday of Advent) until the 12th Day of Christmas… January 6th. And on Christmas Eve she’d fill up a Bunte Teller for each of us! The best German Christmas cookies are often loaded with spices like cinnamon or ginger, and hold up well. Cookies like Lebkuchen, Spekolatius, Springerle, Vannile Kipferl, Pfeffernusse, and Zimt Sterne. (Translation- Gingerbread, Cinnamon Almond Molded Cookies, Molded Anise Cookies, Vanilla Crescents, Peppernuts and Cinnamon Stars).
To me… That cinnamon smell, that sweet crunch, that big Bunter Teller of Cookies IS Christmas
What is Lebkuchen? One of the BEST German Christmas Cookies!
Soft Honey Gingerbread
Lebkuchen is a type of gingerbread made with a variety of spices and honey. In Nuremberg, there is a guild of German Bakers who keep the recipe for their original Lebkuchen TOP SECRET…. and only cookies baked according to this recipe (with a thin edible wafer under the cookie, and is often dipped in a dark, bitter chocolate) can be called Nuremberger Lebkuchen.
Other types of Lebkuchen exist… plain, with nuts or dried fruits… with jelly filling or plain. Lebkuchen keeps for a long time, so if you have a lot, you don’t have to eat it all at once. Also, I found that one of the bigger cookies is not only delicious, with a cup of coffee, it fills my tummy nicely in the middle of the afternoon.
The Lebkuchen Schmidt Company sells a large tin gift chest every Christmas LOADED with all sorts of Lebkuchen sorten (types). I love it, both for the cookies, and because I’m left with a nice tin when the season is over. But there are loads of other options.
Do you want to try making your own Lebkuchen? Follow this link to get a –>Traditional German Lebkuchen Recipe
Cinnamon Star Cookies Recipe
Bake your own Zimt Sterne with this delicious Cinnamon Star Cookies recipe. These cookies are made with Ground Almonds, Egg White, Lemon Zest and lots of Spices… they are GLUTEN FREE!
These little cookies have a very strong flavor that gets better as they age.
Bake Your own Zimtsterne–> Zimtsterne Recipe
Click to Order Zimtsterne from GermanShop 24
This Baking Mix makes it EASY to bake Homemade Zimtsterne
Click to order from German Shop 24
Spritz cookies got their name from how they are made. In German, the name Spritz means “to squirt”… and you get their shape from squirting or spritzing them through a machine. Spritz cookies are a light, crunchy butter cookie. They can also be made with nuts or chocolate. Bonus points if you dip them into chocolate. You do have to use the machine to get the ruffled edges… but the ultimate shape is up to you. Wreath, bar, or s shape… all are acceptable, and quite yummy.
Find a great Traditional Spritz Cookie Recipe Here–> The Oma Way Spritz Cookies
You will need a Cookie Press
OXO Good Grips Cookie Press with Stainless Steel Disks and Storage CaseCookie Press Gun Kit, Biscuit Maker Cookies Press DIY Baking Decoration Supplies for Cookies Cake Cheese Dessert Decorative Tools with 16 Discs and 6 Icing Tips, Comfort Grip Cookie Maker Press
What are Springerle?
Anise flavored German Christmas Cookies
Springerle are an Anise flavored (think black licorice) cookie made from an egg white, flour and sugar dough. It is pressed into a mold, or rolled out with a special rolling pin that is carved with shapes or pictures. After baking, the cookies are often painted to enhance the picture.
The recipes for these cookies date back to early Germanic Tribes, and were often exchanged as gifts during the holidays.
I’m not a huge fan of Anise … but I LOVE the way these cookies look, and I’ve collected a few of the molds to decorate my kitchen.
Looking for a simple German Anise Cookies Recipe? Try this one Springerle
Springerle Cookies Assorted Animal Cookies (30 count) – Traditional German Anise / Vanilla / Lemon Baked Goods – Old World StyleSpringerle Christmas Cookies (12 Count) Traditional German Specialty Anise Biscuits Santa, Christmas Tree, Snowman, Snowflake
There are a few special ingredients for Springerle. Originally they used Hartshorn, but now it’s called Baker’s Amonia. You will also need Anise Oil.
Springerle Cookie Molds
Christmas Creche Nativity of 2012 springerle cookie mold by anis-paradies 1241Wood cookie mold little “Saint Nicholas” gingerbread springerle speculaas kashigata mold Handmade carved wood Christmas Gift Linden tree.
What is Spekulatius?
Molded Cinnamon Cookies
My dad is NUTS for Spekulatius…. you can’t have enough of them around.
These wonderful cinnamon cookies taste so good with a glass of milk or a cup of tea. They are light, crisp and delicious. (In fact, they are so crisp, they are prone to breaking, so don’t throw them around!!)
They come with almond slices baked into the back, but you can find them plain as well.
Buy Spekulatius here
Spiced Cookies, Spekulatius Authentic German Holiday Cookies by Winternacht 600 grams (pack of 2)Bahlsen Spiced Spekulatius Cookie, 200g, (Pack of 2), German ImportRuiter Banket Speculaas, 14-Ounce (Pack of 5)
Bake your own Spekulatius
Here is a recipe for these delightful cookies from The Oma Way…. Spekulatius
Schwarz Weiß Gebäck
Simply translated… Black and White Cookies. Actually you make a chocolate and vanilla dough, then shape them together. My mom usually rolled out each dough flat, laid the chocolate on top of the vanilla, then rolled them up together…. then she’s slice the dough roll to make pinwheel cookies. You can also cut strips to combine into a checkerboard shape.
Find a recipe here–> Schwarz-Weiß Gebäck
Take a shortcut and order this Baking Mix from German Shop 24
Linzer Cookies (Linzer Augen)
Linzer Cookies are really Austrian, but they have found there way onto so many German Cookie plates, that I decided that they needed to be included in this list. These delicious sandwich cookies are made from the same dough as the famous Linzer Torte, but are put together a bit differently (The cookies are baked separately, the bottom cookie is topped by jam, and a same sized cookie with a hole or “eye” in it… the Torte is baked all together). The dough is made with a combination of flour and almond flour, to make them light and crisp. The added lemon peel adds a wonderful flavor. Traditionally they are filled with Black Current preserves, but you can use Raspberry, or whatever flavor you like. (I’ve even filled them with Nutella!)
I have a great memory of my mom making these cookies every year. She always used her wedding band to cut that circle in the top cookie dough. Follow this link for a great recipe for Linzer Cookies
Buy Linzer Cookies
Linzer Cookie Cutters
(so you don’t have to use a wedding band)
Wilton Round Linzer Cookie Cutter SetDr.Oetker Christmas Linzer Cookie Cutter, Stainless Steel, Silver, 3.5 cm Diameter, Set of 5R&M International 1838 Traditional Linzer Cookie Cutters, Diamond, Heart, Flower, Triangle, Star, Circle, 6-Piece Set
What are Pfeffernüsse?
Are they Really Made from Pepper and Nuts?
German Pfeffernusse Cookie Recipes vary… some are made with ground almonds or walnuts, but most commercial brands are nut free. They are loaded with different spices, like cloves and cinnamon, but not necessarily pepper.
Pfeffernüsse (Pfeffernusse Pronunciation – Feffer nu sa)are really hard when they are first baked… best to dunk them…. but they soften up as they age, and get better and better. Often they are rolled in powdered sugar, but they are also dipped in chocolate. I love the commercial ones that are sealed in a sugar glaze… mmmmm
If you want to bake your own, here is a Traditional Pfeffernusse Recipe
Wicklein Pfeffernusse Iced Gingerbread Cookies 7ozBahlsen Holiday Cookie Pfeffernuesse Bag 200gWeiss Pfeffernüsse Gingerbread Glazed/Chocolate 600gWeiss – Pfeffer-Nusse – Mit Zartbitter Schokoladenboden – 200gLAMBERTZ Pfeffernusse, 150 GR
Printen are a type of Lebkuchen.. but they have a slightly different texture. Originally these cookies were made with imported American Wild-Flower honey in Belgium, but the recipe reached the city of Aachen, where bakers happily made it their own. Using honey made the cookies chewy and extra sweet. Sadly, Napoleon cut off their supply, so they switched up to beet-sugar. The spicy flavor comes from cinnamon, clove, aniseed, spices, ginger, coriander, and cardamom, but the exact recipe for Aachen Printen is protected by the Protected Design Origin. What I like about them is the bite of crystal sugar that is baked in to each cookie. Like a sweet surprise.
You can buy Printen plain, or dipped in dark chocolate (YUM). It’s even possible to get them dipped in Chocolate and NUTS. (soooo good)
Find a recipe for Printen HERE—> Printen Recipe
These sweet and crumbly cookies are eaten at Christmas, but I think they are good any time of year. Vanille Kipferl are made with ground Almonds… you can grind them yourself, or buy Almond meal. After baking they are dipped into sugar or vanilla sugar.
They are fairly easy to make… find the Vanille Kipferl Recipe Here
Buy Vanille Kipferl Here
Buy a Custom Tray of Traditional German Christmas Cookies!
Choose your favorites, or let them decide, and have 40 fresh delicious Cookies arrive in time for your Holiday Gathering. No muss, no heating up the kitchen!
German Christmas Cookie Recipes
Christmas Baking:Traditional Recipes Made Easy
Christian Teubner’s book assembles all of the traditional German Christmas Cookies in one place.
The recipes are all easy to follow, and are adapted for American Measurements.
If you want to bake authentic German Christmas cookies, and can’t read German, this book is a great tool. Read a more detailed review here—>>> Christmas Baking:Traditional Recipes Made Easy
All Tastes German Christmas Treats
This lovely little cookbook has a lot of special cookie recipes, and is set up for the American Kitchen.
Read my review and order it here–>All Tastes German Christmas Treats
Use my coupon code GERMANGIRL for a $5 discount!
There are also a number of other German Cookie Recipe Books to choose from.
The 20 best German Christmas Cookies – Festive Baking Recipes from Germany: Plätzchen and other German Holiday TreatsSpeculoos, Stollen, Marzipan Confections… German Christmas Cookies & Other European Holiday Treats
My New favorite is German Baking, which has a section on Christmas Baking