Germany is famous for its Christmas cookies! These popular, traditional cookie recipes have been handed down in our family for generations.
Growing up baking Christmas cookies with my Oma was always my favorite holiday tradition. I would sneak away some of the sweet cookie dough to share with my Opa from who I inherited my sweet tooth.
My Grandmothers always made so many different cookies from scratch, from Vanillekipferl to Pfeffernuesse, to share with family and friends. You can always find a plate with cookies on the table during the Holiday season!
German Christmas cookies are special because many of the recipes are very old and have been passed down over generations. I make the same recipes with my little son that my Oma got from her family. These cookies are delicate and made with nuts, candied peel, jam, and flavorful spices.
Let me share our favorite traditional Christmas cookies with you that will make your Holiday season even more special! And if you’re looking for more traditional German recipes check out my German Recipes category.
Even though this is called a cake it is usually found on a cookie platter cut into little squares. In northern Bavaria, this type of cake is called “Ulmer” and is similar to a fluffy Gingerbread cake.
Here are a few more traditional German cookies:
- Bethmaenchen: Little marzipan cookies studded with three crunchy almonds
- Heidesand: Shortbread cookies rolled in coarse sugar
- Heinerle: A Franconian specialty made from chocolate, coconut oil, and thin wafers
- Spekulatius: Usually one of the few cookies that most Germans buy,
- Mandelhoernchen: Marzipan cookies in croissant shape decorated with almonds and chocolate
- Marzipankartoffeln: Little balls of marzipan rolled in cocoa powder
- Dominosteine: Chocolate covered treats made with multiple layers of filling
- Springerle: Anise flavored cookies made in special molds
- Spritzgebaeck: Spritz cookies often made with ground nuts and dipped in chocolate
- Schneeflocken: Melt-in-your-mouth cookies similar to Mexican wedding cookies
The most popular cookie is Lebkuchen (German gingerbread) with Germany producing almost 90 thousand tons per year. There are different recipes, some even use old croissants or potatoes, but they are different from American gingerbread. Our recipe for German gingerbread is a traditional recipe for Elisenlebkuchen made with nuts and candied citrus peel.
Christmas baking in Germany usually starts at the end of November because many of the treats get better with time, for example, Stollen which has to rest for a few weeks before it gets eaten. The cookies and baked goods are stored in cookie tins and keep fresh for weeks in a cold spot.