Traditional German Christmas Cookies- Recipes 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 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… the spicy cinnamon smell of cookies is Christmas.
I’ve included links to German Christmas Cookie Recipes for some of the cookies, and links for ordering others. Enjoy the flavors of a German Christmas with these delicious cookies.You can bake or buy German Christmas cookies, no matter where you are.
Quick Look at the Contents
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 Nurenberg, 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 Nurenberger 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.
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
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
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
Bake your own Spekulatius
Here is a recipe for these delightful cookies from The Oma Way…. Spekulatius
Get the forms here…
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
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
You can find Pfeffernüsse on Amazon
Printen are a lot like Gingerbread or 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 4 dozen 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
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 TreatsHeidi Bear’s German Christmas Cookies: 18 easy-to-follow, traditional recipes, all with pictures
My New favorite is German Baking, which has a section on Christmas Baking