Christmas is right around the corner, and few other holidays have as many delicious and classic treats that represent the season.
In Germany, the season is taken very seriously, and hundreds of years of history have created myriad cookies, breads, and other tasty goods just for the time of year when things get cold, the fires get warm, and the Feuerzangenbowle pours freely.
Brandenburg Bakery makes many specialized german cookies for the Christmas season, all hand made from scratch right in the bakery.
Reindeer Treats, or Basler Leckerli, are a traditional treat from Basil in Switzerland, first created over 700 years ago. Flat baked honey dough is cut into rectangles, and liberally covered in sugar glaze and chocolate. Made with honey, almonds, and Kirschwasser, a liqueur, make these amazing cookies oh so delicious.
The Pfeffernuss, a heavily spiced holiday cookie, made from honey dough. Oddly, the name means peppernut, but there is no pepper in them at all—likely a holdover from earlier times, when many spices like cinnamon and clove were called 'peppers' as a group, and the name stuck around. They are a popular holiday treat in Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands.
These are delicious treats, spiced with cinnamon and other holiday spices, and certainly make for wonderful gifts for the season.
Almond Crescent, or Vanillekipferl, look just like their name sounds. Medium sized crescents, sprinkled with vanilla sugar (see here for some shots of that vanilla sugar!). They are a specialty of the Bavarian town of Nördlingen, and is a difficult cookie to make. The shaping of the fragile batter takes a steady hand and concentration.
Their distinctive shape may be because they were created in celebration of the Hungarian army defeating the Turkish, as the Turkish flag has a crescent moon on it. Well, at least one good thing came of that! Ground almonds and vanilla extract, plus the vanilla sugar, make these cookies taste as good as they look.
Cinnamon Stars. These cute little treats are naturally gluten free, being made from almond flour, egg whites, and cinnamon.
Topped with a light meringue, cinnamon stars are as sweet as they look, with that wonderful seasonal cinnamon flavor throughout.
Elisenlebkuchen is originally from Nuremberg, Germany, these soft and moist cookies are almost entirely made of nuts and are dipped in chocolate, making them very special. Sweet, with a spicy aroma, and a light nutty taste, and containing bits of candied orange and lemon, you may find these cookies your very favorite for the holidays.
Lebkuchen! This is far and away from what we in the U.S. might call gingerbread, and this classic recipe is made to the same specifications as the Pulsnitzer Pfefferkuchen, a very special and specific recipe made with a honey starter dough that ages for weeks before use. Butter, eggs, cocoa powder, and plenty of holiday spices make for a balanced and delicious cookie. This traditional german treat is what we use for our gingerbread men and gingerbread houses, and we think you'll find it a sweet and wonderful addition to your holidays, simply not overloaded with a ton of ginger like some other cookies you may find this time of year.
Gingerbread Houses! What would the season be without gingerbread houses? These take a long time to make, spanning a few days and many, many steps, but we think they are beautiful. Starting with the Lebkuchen above, we create the walls, roof, the little door, the whole shebang. Each piece is cut and shaped to what we need, and then they are all put together.
Held together with royal icing, these little houses are ready to decorate.
They are made into colorful and sweet displays with jelly beans, gummy bears, gummy penguins, and more. While it's almost as much work as decorating a real house, the end result speaks for itself!
Finished off with some "Merry Christmas" signs, and a few Santa's sleighs, these beautiful hand made gingerbread houses are great to look at, and better to pick off of throughout the season...
We hope you come by and try some of these classic German holiday cookies. We think you'll love them!