These German cookies bring Oktoberfest right into your home!
German cuisine may be more popular for its savory offerings, such as sausages, spaetzle, and beer.
But did you know that it has a plethora of cookies to offer, too?
Today, satisfy your sweet tooth in a unique way with these delectable German cookies.
They’re soft, crumbly, and sweet with a mild hint of spice. They’re so pretty to look at, to boot!
They are often served during the Christmas season, but they’re easy enough to make on a random weekday.
Expand your culinary horizons and get to know new desserts!
Both a feast for the eyes and the taste buds, these German cookies won’t disappoint.
1. Lebkuchen Cookies
Lebkuchen cookies are tender cookies infused with warming spices and topped with a vanilla sugar glaze.
This recipe yields a specific type of lebkuchen called elisenlebkuchen.
With less flour and more almonds and hazelnuts, these cookies are wonderfully soft, chewy, and nutty!
Apart from the nuts, what gives these cookies their iconic flavor is Lebkuchengewürz, a spice mixture made from cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.
Typically served during Christmas, they’re the perfect way to warm you up on a cold wintery day.
They’re adorable, too! One look will get you into the holiday spirit.
2. Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies)
Vanillekipferl, or German vanilla crescent cookies, are another traditional holiday confection. They’re melt-in-your-mouth tender and loaded with nuts.
Shaped like mini-croissants, these guys are incredibly charming. The dusting of snowy vanilla sugar adds even more charm, too.
Because this recipe calls for basic ingredients, there’s no need to wait for the holidays to make them.
They taste even better the longer they’re stored, too, so feel free to make a huge batch!
3. German Hazelnut Cookies
These cookies are sure to knock your socks off. If you like Nutella, you’re going to fall in love with these cookies.
They taste like butter cookies, but even better because of the hazelnuts. The nuts get toasted as they bake, giving them an even deeper flavor!
These guys are proof that chocolate doesn’t always have to be the star of every dessert.
4. German Cinnamon Star Christmas Cookies
Zimtsterne is a soft and tender star-shaped cookie flavored with almonds and cinnamon finished off with a sugar glaze.
They are traditionally offered to guests or given as gifts during the holiday season.
I wouldn’t mind getting a whole box of these cookies for Christmas. The combination of almonds and cinnamon is absolutely sublime.
You don’t have to wait for someone to gift this to you, though. You can just make the cookies yourself!
All you need are egg whites, powdered sugar, almond flour, and cinnamon.
You can also use Kirschwasser, a fruit brandy made from cherries, for more flavor.
Springerle is a crisp and chewy cookie flavored with star anise. Crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, these guys are insanely addictive.
Springerle cookies originated from the Swabia region of South Germany.
“Springerle” is German for “little jumpers,” and is named such for the jumping/rising behavior it displays while baking.
Specifically made for Christmas and New Year, they are embossed with various designs, such as fruits and flowers.
What makes springerle cookies extra unique is the use of baker’s ammonia to make them rise.
Back in the day, when baking soda and powder weren’t a thing, bakers used ammonium bicarbonate, a foul-smelling leavening agent, to make their cookies rise.
While baking powder and soda now exist today, people still use baker’s ammonia to create these cookies to get that distinct honeycomb-like consistency.
Don’t worry, the smell dissipates as it bakes!
6. German Spice Cookies (Spekulatius)
Spekulatius cookies are what we call Dutch windmill cookies. These shortcrust biscuits may be available here all-year-round, but in Germany, you’ll only see them during Christmas.
The word spekulatius is Latin for “speculum,” which means “mirror.” The cookies mirror their shape from a wooden mold, hence the name.
These cookies are thin, crunchy, and have a wonderful caramelized flavor.
While the traditional recipe calls for hard-to-find elements, this one calls for basic, US-friendly ingredients.
7. Heidesand (Traditional German Browned Butter Shortbread Cookies)
Heidesand is a shortbread cookie made from browned butter. By that alone, you can already tell these cookies are good!
Just like others on this list, this classic German cookie is also popular during the holidays. The name “heidesand” translates to “heath sand.”
It refers to the cookies’ originating region (Luneburger Heide, a heathland area) and sandy consistency.
Heidesand cookies are a breeze to prepare. They require basic pantry ingredients and just half an hour to make.
8. German Marzipan Cookies
Bethmännchen is a German cookie made with marzipan. It’s crisp on the outside, chewy on the center, and garnished with three almonds.
These marzipan cookies are popular in Germany, particularly in Frankfurt, during Christmas.
But because they’re easy to make, you can whip them up any day of the year.
According to legend, the cookies were made by French pastry chef Jean Jacques Gautenier for a man named Simon Moritz von Bethmann in 1838.
The cookies were originally studded with four almonds – one for each of Moritz’s sons.
When one of Moritz’s sons passed away in 1845, the fourth almond was removed.
9. German Hazelnut Macaroons
Nussmakronen is a sweet macaroon loaded with hazelnut flavor. Crisp on the outside and ridiculously chewy on the inside, it’s seriously addictive.
Calling for only four ingredients, these macaroons are insanely easy to make. All you need are egg whites, ground hazelnuts, whole hazelnuts, and sugar.
If you’re looking for a good way to use up all the extra egg whites in the fridge, this is the answer!
Kipplens are the German version of pecan snowballs or Mexican wedding cakes, and I think they taste much better.
These cookies are mildly sweet and insanely soft they melt in your mouth. Covered with snow-like powdered sugar, kipplens are the perfect holiday cookie.
Best of all, kipplens are super easy to make. The recipe uses the most basic baking ingredients and just 35 minutes of cooking.
11. Spritz Cookies
Spritz cookies are super soft and buttery sugar cookies that are so addictive, you won’t be able to stop at one.
First of all, look how pretty! These cookies’ festive vibe will bring anyone major holiday feels.
From the German word “spritzen” which means “to squirt,” spritz cookies are “squirted” into a cookie press to create charming shapes.
12. Linzer Cookies
Linzer cookies are thin cookie sandwiches filled with a sweet and fruity jam. Crisp, buttery, and loaded with flavor, these munchies are to die for.
Cinnamon and cloves give these cookies such a deep, warming flavor. The almond flour plus the sweet jam form a wonderful flavor contrast, too.
Together, they create a simple, yet truly spectacular treat.
What I love about these cookies is that you can use whatever jam you want!
You can stick to one, or use all the jams you can find for a more colorful and festive vibe.
13. German Pepper Nut Cookies
Pfeffernusse are round cookies made extra sweet by molasses and brown sugar.
What sets them apart from other German cookies, however, is the combination of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, black pepper, and star anise.
It might seem too much, but in fact, the flavors are very well-balanced.
Wonderfully sweet and perfectly spiced, these pepper nut cookies are sure to tickle your taste buds. They smell amazing, too!
The scent is like gingerbread, only a hundred times more fragrant.
14. Nut Corners (German Nussecken)
Nut Corners or Nussecken are sinful German cookies made from a layer of shortbread, apricot jam, and caramelized hazelnut.
Just imagine the contrasting tastes and textures!
It doesn’t end there, though. These triangular nut bars are dipped in chocolate, making them even more irresistible.
Each component is already fantastic on its own, but when combined, they create one heavenly treat. It’s crunchy, buttery, soft, and chewy all at the same time!
15. Walnut Shortbread (German Christmas Cookies)
Shortbread cookies are studded with chopped walnuts. These delightful Christmas cookies bring joy to the world, indeed!
These crisp and buttery cookies are insanely easy to make, to boot. All you’ll need is flour, butter, sugar, ground walnuts, and a lot of cookie cutters!
This recipe calls for cutting the cookies into circles, but you can use whatever cookie cutter shape you want for a more holiday vibe.
16. Mandelhörnchen (Chocolate-Dipped Marzipan Almond Horns)
Here’s another marzipan-filled treat for ya: Mandelhörnchen.
German for almond horns, Mandelhörnchen is a chewy cookie made from marzipan, almond meal, and sugar.
The dough is coated with almond flakes and dipped in chocolate.
Here’s the best part: these tasty treats are a breeze to make.
You can use store-bought marzipan for this recipe, but since it’s generally expensive, you can make your own almond paste instead.
17. Cornflakes Cakes or Choco Crossies
Choco crossies are a no-bake cookie made from cornflakes, coconut, and chocolate.
Wonderfully sweet, crunchy, and chocolatey, these munchies are absolutely heavenly.
I must warn you, though: they’re seriously addictive. There’s something about the combination of sweet chocolate, crisp cornflakes, and nutty coconut!
You’d better double the recipe because these guys will disappear in a snap.
Good thing it’s easy to make! In less than 30 minutes, you’ll get to enjoy the goodness of chocolate-covered cornflakes.
18. German Chocolate Macaroons
Are you a fan of German chocolate cake? You’ll definitely love these macaroons then!
Made with chocolate cake, caramel, coconut, and pecan frosting, these macaroons are happiness in a bite.
Just imagine the different levels of sweetness that go into these macaroons.
Decadent chocolate, gooey caramel, fluffy pecan frosting, and nutty coconut make for a wonderful explosion of flavors and textures!
I didn’t know macaroons could taste this good! It’s like elevating an already wonderful confection into an even more spectacular treat.
Two layers of almond shortcrust pastry are filled with sweet jam.
Spitzbuben is a crisp, buttery, and chewy sandwich cookie that’s impossible to resist.
With these traditional holiday cookies, Christmas will be merry and bright indeed.
These cookies are a snap to make, so why not make them in bulk and give them out as presents?
What’s great is that you can use different jams to suit your friends’ tastes and preferences.
20. Thumbprint Cookies/Angel Eyes
Thumbprint cookies are jam-filled cookies that are jam-packed with flavor.
There really is something special about shortbread cookies and jam. The simple pairing does wonders! One bite is so good, it uplifts the spirits.
It’s such an easy recipe, to boot. All you need are five ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, egg, and jam.
21. Amish Sugar Cookies
These Amish sugar cookies are incredibly soft that they melt in your mouth.
You can serve or eat them as-is or topped with a sugar glaze. Sweet, rich, and buttery, these cookies can cure your sadness.
They’re such a snap to make, too. Yes to recipes that require minimal effort but yield maximum flavor!
22. Dominosteine (German Layered Christmas Cookie)
Dominosteine is a layered cookie made with gingerbread and marzipan covered in chocolate.
The confection was created in 1936 by Herbert Wendler, a chocolatier who wanted to make a product cheaper than his usual offerings to target a wider market.
During WW2, where food was highly scarce, Dominosteine became a popular replacement for praline.
The original recipe has layers of marzipan and gingerbread, but the double-filled cookies (doppelt-gefüllte) have an added layer of orange or apricot jelly.
23. German Butter S Cookies
German Butter “S” cookies are soft, buttery, flaky, and downright delicious.
You can easily tell them apart from other cookies because of their iconic “S” shape, which is believed to stand for the region where it originated – Swabia.
Calling for basic pantry ingredients – flour, sugar, lemon, butter, and eggs, these cookies are simple, yet utterly delightful.
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