Last Updated on February 15, 2023
This post is for those who have just met the fanaticism of Christmas cookies in Germany and don’t know where to start. You can easily find a couple of hundred cookie-themed recipes on the Internet, here are the most basic ones for beginners.
As soon as the children go to the kindergarten, the kindergarten and school “tribute” begin. For St. Martin, to sell at the Christmas market, to fundraise for the trip, for Basteltag, for the pre-Christmas breakfast in the garden, for the school Christmas breakfast, for Easter …
Feasts in Germany. December – January
German wine classification system and wine regions
Saint Martin Festival Germany. Songs
Farmer market, farmer shops and fruits and berries “free of charge” in Germany
Broom on the house. What is Besen?
Bascetta star tutorial. 1. Modules
What is Wichteln
Simple Christmas decoration ideas
The easiest way is to get off with muffins, but if you intend to feed a large crowd, it turns out to be expensive (in form mini-muffins is ok). Cakes are welcome for flee markets, but otherwise rather not. Buying something is easier, but expensive (when they ask for fruit, for example). For large events, cookies are most convenient – it’s easy to make, but it’s tedious and long to decorate. However you can involve the whole family in the process.
Baking mix box – powerful weapons
For many years I have been using baking mix – this saves a lot of time, and the result is guaranteed. It is impossible to spoil, and only crumbs return home. If your goal is not to amaze everyone with your original recipe, but simply to fulfill the required at a high level, then baking mix sets are for you. Note also the fact that original (including just national) recipes are not welcome in children’s groups. They prefer what they have already tried and are suspicious of new.
Each box in the corner has ingredients that need to be purchased additionally.
My favorites among the cakes are Marmorkuchen by Ruf and Donauwellen by Dr. Otker, the usual Käsekuchen from Dr. Otker and a variant with mascarpone and raspberries.
Muffins – various options from Dr. Otker. Usually I make several types for children for their birthday to school or kindergarten: I take a box of marble and a box of chocolate and make both white without chocolate at all (there are always children who do not like chocolate), and marble and pure chocolate.
*The links in this post are related (i.e. if you buy something I get very little reward, but you don’t pay for it) but that doesn’t affect my opinion.
German Christmas cookies – what is required
There are many recipes for cookies in Germany, they love it very much. Many variations are based on the classic shortcrust (Mürbeteig).
Just a few words about storage – cookies are best kept in resealable cans, different varieties separately. You can eat cookies without filling for more than a month, cookies with cream – no more than a week.
With cookies all will be a more difficult as with cakes.
First, you need a cookie cutters. The most multifunctional are simple stars, circles, Christmas trees, hearts, a crescent moon. Desirable – several different sizes (like this* or this*). Shapes with different squiggles (like deer antlers) do not make sense, since squiggles tend to fall off anyway. That is, a set of 5 simple shapes, each in four sizes, makes more sense than a set of 25 different complex shapes, many of which are not recognizable when finished.
Second, you will need ready-made icing or powdered sugar (plus optional dye). I used to use ready-made icing, but then I tried to make it myself and I liked it more.
Third, you will need something to decorate.
A win-win, suitable for any occasion and very pretty looking, are the white sugar stars. But in the absence of decorations, you can simply add cocoa to part of the dough.
The dough itself can be obtained in three ways: buy a baking mix box and add ingredients, make it yourself, buy ready-made in a roll.
Baking mix Cookie Set (Green) by Dr. Otker (this one*, but it costs usually half) contains only 500 g of dough, to which you need to add the egg, butter and stir with a mixer with a dough attachment. There are sets, for example from Ruf, where there is less dough, but there is icing and decorations.
Ready-made dough in rolls is edible only immediately after cooking, then the cookies turn stone, so it is better to make the dough on your own or out of the box.
The classic recipe consists of flour, egg, baking powder and butter. For example, this ratio:
1 pack of vanilla sugar
2 yolks and 1 egg
1 pinch of salt
600 g flour
400 g butter
200 g sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Decorations can be stuck into cookies before baking (if there is no icing).
And a few words about the price. Boxes are inadequately priced in season, especially cookie sets. But immediately after they will be sold out with a big discount. Cookie boxes are not available during the summer season. The rest of the sets are also regularly sold at a discount, so it makes sense to periodically drop in and stock up, especially since they have a long shelf life.
How to do the icing
The icing is done like this:
- pour a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar and slowly, little by little, dilute with water. The ratio is about 1 teaspoon of water – five tablespoons of powder, or even more. Add dye as desired. For a chocolate icing, just add some cocoa.
- mix thoroughly. The icing should be fluid but viscous. One so that it spreads easily on the cookies, but does not drain off immediately. If the icing is thick, just add a couple of drops of water.
If the icing is sold or comes in a set in the form of a powder, then it is better to prepare it not according to the proposed recipe, but by dividing it into parts and gradually adding a little water at a time.
I spread the icing with a teaspoon and immediately stick in the decorations until it’s dry. I didn’t like pouring the finished icing from a bag – a lot goes by and all hands are also glazed. You need to have a lot of experience to cope. And with a spoon, everything turns out cleaner and more accurate.
Shortcrust pastry variants
1. Just white with white or colored glaze or with decorations, dripping with ready-made chocolate icing (make ready-made icing according to the recipe, put all the cookies side by side and pour thin strips back and forth). Photo above.
2. Simply chocolate, with or without icing or decorations. Photo above
3. Chocolate cookies overlaid on white cookies and vice versa.
4. Cut out large-sized forms from chocolate and regular dough, then cut out small-sized forms from them and change the colors: put a white cut out form in the hole in the chocolate cookie. Then you get a two-color cookie, but even, not of two levels.
5. Spirals: Roll out the white dough and brown dough so that they are approximately the same size. Brush with egg white. Place one on the other, roll into a roll, cool and cut.
Or: make a roll of one color, roll the other into a strip, grease with egg white and wrap the first color in this strip. Chill and cut.
For spirals, the roll must be thick, otherwise you will get such a small indistinct circle, as in the photo between two hearts. I had to add a couple of layers. Even the roll cooled in the refrigerator is cut crookedly; a neat circle must be formed by hand.
6. Spitzbuben or Linzer Augen. For this sort you need two cookies of the same shape. In the second cookie, you can make a hole of the same shape, but smaller.
The photo above is a lonely star between spirals. After cooling, the jam / jelly is placed on one star, and another is overlaid on top. During the night, the halves stick together and do not fall apart. If you haven’t cut a hole in the second cookie, you can add some more jam on top.
I took a thick apricot one (my husband’s boss tried it and said that the Swabians do this, with apricot one), but I forgot that I have a red currant one. It should be more suitable, since the currants themselves are gelatinous and denser and, moreover, they are sour, which should set off sweet cookies.
7. You can divide the dough into parts and paint each separately, and then join together, roll out and cut out the forms, then you get multi-colored cookies.
Other types of Christmas cookies in Germany
Shortcrusts are of course not limited to cookies – they are good for a start and for family baking. I will not talk about macaroons and Lebkuchens, because I do not know which recipe can be considered successful. This recipes are simpler.
The second most popular type of dough is Vanillekipferl (vanilla horns). Vanilla cones are sold as baking mix box, but it’s easy to make yourself.
200g butter 100g chopped hazelnuts or almonds
(some recipes have 2 more yolks)
The dough is laid out as roll, which is cut into pieces. The pieces are maid into a crescent shape. Bake for 15 minutes at 175 degrees. Sprinkle the finished horns with powdered or vanilla sugar.
Cinnamon stars (Zimtsterne)
A complicated recipe that I haven’t tested yet. There are other recipe options.
190g powdered sugar
100g ground almonds (or 300g only almonds without nuts) 200g ground hazelnut
2 egg white
1 teaspoon cinnamon
some lemon juice
Mix the powdered sugar and egg whites into the icing. Remove a third of the icing. In the rest add almonds, cinnamon, juice and 100 grams of hazelnuts – make a dough. Pour out the rest of the nuts and roll out the dough 8-10 mm thick on them. Cover with the icing that set aside and bake for 10-12 minutes, after 8 minutes open the stove slightly.
Make a dough with everything except the powdered sugar and jam.
1 level teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 pack of vanilla sugar
175g red currant jam
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
Form 6 rolls 1.5 cm in diameter and refrigerate for an hour. Take out, cut each roll into 12 pieces and make balls. Put them tightly into the baking form. Squeeze out a deepening with a stick, fill with jam. Put for an hour in the cold.
Take out half of the balls, put on a baking sheet, bake (180 degrees, 10-12 minutes), cool on a baking sheet, sprinkle with powder. Remove the remaining balls from the cold and also bake.
Extruded dough (Spritzgebäck)
This type of cookie is also made in different versions, I give a basic recipe. Mix everything and knead lightly. The dough is pushed through a syringe, bag or special attachments in a meat grinder (best of all, the dough is very dense) and spread in an S-shape, in circles, hearts, etc. They are usually decorated with chocolate icing (painted in half or in stripes).
230 g flour
200 g butter
70 g starch
1 pack of vanilla sugar
110 g powdered sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 (shabby) lemon
100 g powdered sugar
200 g butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 pack of vanilla sugar
a pinch of salt
250 g flour
Spread the wafers spaced apart on a baking sheet. Beat the egg whites until stiff foam, stir in sugar, stir in coconut. Spread the mixture onto the wafers. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 150 degrees.
4 egg whites
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