German Christmas cookie maybe any of a range of festive cookies that are prepared in German homes as celebratory foods for Christmas. German Christmas cookie recipes like those for Lebkuchen, Springerle, Peffernusse Vanillekipferl and gingerbread cookies are traditional to many German homes. Other cookies like Mandelmakronen, Hausefreunde, and Haselnussplatzchen are also prepared in quite a number of German homes for years now and they are often featured in their traditional German Christmas cookies menu lists. German Christmas cookies are most often prepared by baking.
Many German Christmas cookies have originated in the olden days and each cookie has its own history. The Springerle, the now famous Austrian and Bavarian Christmas cookie is of German origin, the word Springerle meaning “jumping horse” or “little knight” in German. There are a number of theories to the region and period of origin of these cookies according to which the cookies seem to have been first prepared during Zulfest, a festival of the German pagan tribes. It is also believed to have originated in Swabia in the 15th Century. Lebkuchen, the name of this cookie, is derived from lebbe(very sweet) and kuchen(cake). Its origin can be traced to the ancient Egyptian Honigcake (honey cake) and also to Belgium.
Popular German Christmas Cookie Recipes
German Christmas cookies are popular not only in Germany but in the entire European world and a number of them have become popular in North America and the rest of the world too. A few delightful German Christmas cookie recipes are discussed here:
• Springerle- this festive anise-flavored baked cookie with an embossed design is a traditional German sweet biscuit cooked generally during the Christmas season. Simple to intricate designs can be crafted on the biscuit and these make them special. The recipe for Springerle is one of the simplest of all the German Christmas cookie recipes as it is essentially made of a few ingredients like wheat flour, sugar and egg. Anise is dusted on the cookie dough from outside.
• Lebkuchen- also known as pfefferkuchen, a rich German sweet cookie resembling Gingerbread cookies, is enriched with dry fruits, nuts, honey and a variety of spices. Lebkuchens are traditional German Christmas cookies and they are prepared in a number of shapes with intricate designs on them. The taste, look and nutritional worth of these German Christmas cookies make them ideal party dessert or snack food.
• Peffernusse- these traditional German Christmas cookies with spice and honey flavorings are a party favorite and what makes many to opt for them is that they can be made ahead before Christmas. These shiny, soft cookies are made with sticky dough consisting of molasses, honey, flour, and spices. The modern version of these sugar-coated German Christmas cookies is made with a small amount of cocoa which helps in enhancing the color of the cookies. The modern versions are also made with a cake-like texture.
• Vanillekipferl – these crescent-shaped, sweet, nutty, sugar-dusted vanilla flavored popular German Christmas cookies are actually of Austrian origin.
• Gingerbread cookies- these brown-colored sweet, ginger-flavored, chewy traditional Christmas cookies are a favorite of many, not only in Germany, but also the rest of the world. The ginger flavoring is brought by adding shavings of ginger to the cookie dough made with flour, sugar and spices.