German Christmas cookies

German Christmas cookies

Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: Enough for all of your friends.

Some years ago I lived in a house-share near Brick Lane. One of the house-mates was a lovely German girl called Claudia. In many ways she was Claudia by name and a bit like Claudia Schiffer by nature: tall, beautiful, lovely and creative. Perhaps most importantly she made amazing Christmas cookies. For several years, a few weeks before Christmas we would sit in our cosy, but slightly cruddy kitchen with a bunch of girl friends, shaping hundreds of these biscuits, while we chatted and drank wine. The biscuits are super easy to make and they make great presents for friends and family.

Listen to the recipe podcast:

Ingredients

50g ground almonds
50g chopped hazelnuts or chopped nuts
280g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
70g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla essence
A pinch salt
200g unsalted butter, softened
8 tbsp raspberry jam
100g icing sugar
A little extra butter (approx 30g for greasing the tins)

Equipment

2 large flat baking tins
Grease-proof paper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 centigrade.

Grease 2 large baking tins with butter, line with grease-proof paper and then grease the grease-proof paper.

Place all ingredients together in a bowl and mix together with your hands until it forms a smooth dough.

Divide the dough mixture in half and shape half into ‘thimble’ shapes and half into ‘crescent’ shapes as follows:

‘Thimbles’ (also known as ‘thumbprint cookies’)

Roll the first half of the dough into little balls, each about the size of a nutmeg, and then shape these into little thimble shapes (which also look a bit like a very crudely shaped cup – like a cave man might have) by pressing your finger into the middle of the ball.

Then gently press down each ‘thimble’ to make it slightly lower in height and place these on the greased baking tray, at least 5cm apart from the next ‘thimble’.

Dredge (sprinkle) these with icing sugar using a sieve or tea strainer.

Then put your raspberry jam in a pan on the hob and heat gently until it is more liquidy, spoon a little dollop of jam into the hole in the middle of each biscuit.

Place these in the preheated oven and for 15-20 minutes

‘Crescents’ (known as ‘vanillekipferl’ in Germany)

Shape the other half of the dough into little crescent shapes about 1 inch across. Place these on the other greased baking tray, at least 5cm apart from the next ‘crescent’.

Dredge (sprinkle) these with icing sugar using a sieve or tea strainer.

Place these in the preheated oven and cook for 10-15 minutes

Listen to the recipe podcast:

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