What would the Christmas season be without scrumptious homemade cookies? Fragrant bouquets of cinnamon, ginger, anise, and chocolate wafting through the house! The rich fragrances of traditional German Christmas cookies are some of the archetypical German culinary traditions, and those fabulous smells are found all over homes and outdoor Christmas markets in November and December.
‘Looking for the secrets behind those delectable Butterkekse, Spekulatius, Lebkuchen, Aachner Printen, Weckmännchen, Zimtsterne, Makronen oder Marzipan? Look no further, you will find them here. We have assembled authentic recipes for both novice and master bakers.
Once the shopping for sprinkles, spices, and secret ingredients is done, there is only one taboo – baking German Christmas cookies alone. This can be of the most special family activities of the year and a wonderful opportunity to get together with your friends who enjoy baking. ‘Tis the season after all … so get out the cookie cutters and preheat the oven. While it helps to have basic recipes handy, once the cookie dough is finished there is literally no limit to creativity.
Freshly baked Christmas cookies are always a special treat for friends and family and are best served with a mug of delicious, steaming Glühwein (mulled wine) or Kinderpunsch (non-alcoholic fruit punch). (And remember, if you run out of time, you can order German Christmas cookies made in Germany from our sister site TheTasteOfGermany.com.
Small and flavorful, these cookies are an almond lover’s delight and sure to become favorites.
Chocolate Spice Bars
A classic German cookie, these spiced chocolate bars signal autumn’s arrival and take culinary minds toward Christmas.
Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)
The quintessential Christmas cookie – these crisp, spicy cookies make a perfect snack after a day outdoors. Serve them with big pitchers of mulled wine and hot chocolate.
Emperor’s Cookies (Kaiser-Plätzchen)
Everyone seems to love these irresistible jam-filled cookies. Bake plenty because they won’t last long!
Classic hazelnut cookies with nutty fall flavors.
Kirsch Marzipan Cookies
Decorative and dangerously delicious, this jam-filled cookie requires a little bit of skill on part of the baker but will reward cookie lovers with its layers of flavor.
Lemon Almond Hearts
These delicious cookies are decorative but more importantly very scrumptious and instantly add a romantic touch to your selection of Christmas cookie.
Marzipan Holiday Surprise
These homemade holiday treats are sure to become one of your favorite Christmas cookies. Beautifully wrapped they also make a great gift.
Spiced Honey Squares
A great German Christmas cookie based on traditional Lebkuchen, these simple gingerbread squares are brushed with honey and decorated with ground walnuts.
This anise-flavored, white cookie is a regional specialty from Southern Germany, more precisely form the Swabian region of Baden-Württemberg. What makes them special is their decorative charm since they feature intricate imprints that are made by pressing a mold into the rolled dough and allowing the impression to dry before baking. The molds range form simple patterns and folkloric motives all the way to very intricate depictions of animals, people or localities.
Spritz Cookies (Spritzgebäck)
While these cookies are a popular sweet snack all year round, no Christmas cookie tray should be without them. They have a delightful crunchy texture. Dust off the cookie press and create different shapes – classic straight cookies, round or S-shaped ones. Dipping the ends in melted chocolate makes them even more irresistible.
Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferl)
Delicate, crescent shaped cookies flavored with vanilla and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Even though these cookies are available year-round, the homemade version is traditionally made at Christmas. The recipe originated from Austria but has become a classic among German Christmas cookies.
Beaten egg whites are the secret behind the wonderfully light texture of macaroons, which can be made several weeks before Christmas and placed in a tin. Layers of parchment paper will help keep them crisp. Freshly baked macaroons, enjoyed while still warm, are an especially delicious treat. Placing the cookie dough on baking wafers (Backoblaten) gives the macaroons an even more special appearance and adds great texture.
Gingerbread is so beloved in Germany that we have several recipes for capturing their flavor at home. These simplified gingerbread cookie versions make great personalized gifts for friends and family. Place them in a decorative jar or a nice box lined with decorative paper and a festive ribbon. The complex flavor and texture of true classic Lebkuchen might pose quite the challenge to the home baker and is best experienced in the many high quality, brand name Lebkuchen in North American grocery stores.
Spiced Honey Squares
Gingerbread Cookies (Braune Kuchen)
Glazed Lebkuchen Gingerbread Cookies (Lebkuchen)
Glazed Lebkuchen Rounds (Elisenlebkuchen)
A Guide to German Christmas Cookie Brands
German Christmas & Winter Holiday Baking
The Secrets of Great Stollen
Winter Holiday Meals
German Christmas Traditions