Have a very German Christmas with these 10 Christmas cookies

Have a very German Christmas with these 10 Christmas cookies

by Sandra Köktaş

Updated June 27, 2022

There’s no German Christmas without German Christmas cookies! With the start of the festive season, you will find these special treats in every home and office. Though widely available in supermarkets and bakeries, most Germans will retreat to the kitchen for at least one weekend before Christmas to make a batch of Weihnachtsplätzchen and fill the house with the Christmassy smell of cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, rum, chocolate, cardamom, orange and lemon. Decorated with sprinkles, nuts, more chocolate and icing, the cookies are a popular gift with a personal touch. They also provide the perfect opportunity to bring family and friends together. Recipes are handed down through generations and fond childhood memories are made while baking and eating together. 

If you’re wondering how to participate in this very German tradition, search no more. We selected ten of the most beloved German Christmas cookies for you to try this year.

1. Classic Christmas Cookies (Klassische Ausstechkekse)
2. Heidesand (Heidesand)
3. Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)
4. Spritz Cookies (Spritzgebäck)
5. German Christmas Lebkuchen (Lebkuchen)
6. Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferln)
7. Springerle (Springerle)
8. Marzipan Almond Crescents (Marzipan-Mandelhörnchen)
9. Little Bethman (Bethmännchen)
10. Black White Cookies (Schwarz-Weiß-Gebäck)

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1. Classic Christmas Cookies (Klassische Ausstechkekse)

Super easy and fun to make. Ausstechkekse are the all-time favorite of all parents. Little hands can help with the simple dough, while hours of decorating the Butterkekse (named after the copious amount of butter) with icing and sprinkles will turn them into a fun activity and a feast for the eyes. 

2. Heidesand (Heidesand)

These German Christmas biscuits again rely heavily on butter. Rich in flavor, they have a unique texture that melts in your mouth. A classical German Christmas food, they go well with coffee, hot cocoa or mulled wine. Then again, this is true for all Weihnachtsplätzchen (Christmas cookies).

3. Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)

Cinnamon Stars taste good, but they smell even better. There are different versions of these German Christmas cookies made from egg whites, almonds and lots and lots of cinnamon. The very thin, crispy variant is baked in a special waffle maker with star-shaped molds. The thicker cinnamon stars are easier to make at home as they can go in the oven and are usually decorated with white icing.

4. Spritz Cookies (Spritzgebäck)

These straight, round or S-shaped cookies with or without ground nuts are a truly German Christmas tradition. The dough for these Weihnachtskekse (or Christmas cookies) is pressed through an icing pipe bag or a cookie press to give the cookies their unique texture. Dip one side into chocolate to make them even more irresistible. 

5. German Christmas Lebkuchen (Lebkuchen)

German gingerbread differs not only from the classical gingerbread man in flavor and texture. Various regional types have a unique taste and look. Some are, in fact, protected trademarks, such as the Aachener Printen or the Nürnberger Lebkuchen. Yet another form of gingerbread is used for nicely decorated houses and hearts found at every German Christmas market

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6. Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferln)

Ground hazelnuts or almonds go very well with vanilla. If you needed proof of that, you couldn’t find a better example than these melt-in-your-mouth crescents. Be careful or you might not be able to stop yourself.  

7. Springerle (Springerle)

Springerle is not your usual German Christmas cookie. The characteristic anise flavor is one thing. The other is the design: The first examples of the prints created by a special rolling pin or mold date back to the 15th century. 

8. Marzipan Almond Crescents (Marzipan-Mandelhörnchen)

These are actually available all year round. And what’s more, even in extra-large. Still, the smaller versions have a place on the Christmas cookie tray. Marzipan, almonds and chocolate are the perfect fit for the festive season.

9. Little Bethman (Bethmännchen)

Small in size but big in flavor. And if you ask yourself how to make these German cookies: It couldn’t be easier. Knead marzipan, rosewater and sugar into a dough, shape into little balls and decorate with almonds. 

10. Black White Cookies (Schwarz-Weiß-Gebäck)

For these shortcrust pastries, you prepare a light-colored dough and add cocoa powder to half of it. Working in layers, you can create decorative patterns in black and white.  


Christmas feelings with German Christmas cookies

 All the German cookies here will give you a taste of a German Christmas. But how to make them? You can browse websites such as Backen macht glücklich or Chefkoch for recipes and improve your baking and German skills at the same time.

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Sandra lives in Istanbul, together with her kids, cat and dog. As a historian she thrives exploring this ancient city with her two- and four-legged loved ones. Together, they also love to go on adventures through all of Turkey and its neighboring countries. The perfect opportunity to put all the language learning into practice. If she’s not on the road, Sandra is busy putting her experiences into writing as a freelance copywriter for the travel industry and everything related to language, culture and family. Her particular interest lies in providing information on animal welfare with her website contentrundumstier.de.

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