Christmas in Germany means Christmas markets, Glühwein, Advent calendars and Christmas biscuits. For Christmas this year, we will be sharing three German Christmas biscuit recipes. The first recipe is my mother-in-law’s family recipe for Spritzgebäck, or German shortbread biscuits.
German Christmas biscuits
Germans bake a lot of biscuits at Christmas. There are so many different recipes, it was difficult to decide which three to make.
How many? According to the statistics, German bakeries baked more than 70,000 tonnes of Christmas biscuits in 2016 and even baked more than 115,000 tonnes in the mid-1990s. These figures do not count the number of biscuits people bake at home.
Houses and bakeries waft with the perfume of sweet biscuits and cinnamon. It is a difficult time of year if you are dieting!
This recipe for Spritzgebäck is one of our traditional family recipes. My mother-in-law makes these every year and it is Peter’s favourite. While she was helping me today, Miss M decided that they are her favourites too.
The name Spritzgebäck comes from the German words spritzen, which means squirt, spray or inject and Gebäck, which means biscuits or pastries.
According to a 2011 study conducted for Dr Oetker, a German producer of baking goods, Spritzgebäck is the fourth most favourite biscuit of Germans.
You can easily recognise Spritzgebäck, regardless of how they are made. They look a little like ruffles or waves.
Spritzgebäck is a two-person job in this house: we use a mincer. One person turns the mincer handle and pushes the dough into the mince. Meanwhile, the second person cuts off the right amount of dough as it squeezes out and places them on the tray for baking. If you are using a mincer, you might like to make double to make up for what gets stuck in the mincer.
For these biscuits, I used a cookie press. It was hard work and I would definitely recommend using a mincer if you have one.
The piping bag did not work for me at all, though it theoretically should. If you are going to use a piping bag or a cookie press, don’t refrigerate the dough before using. I had to knead mine again to make the dough soft enough.
I had a little helper, too.
Make some Spritzgebäck for the holidays
When it’s cold outside, it’s the perfect time to make some German Christmas biscuits. Why not start with our family’s favourite Christmas biscuits, Spritzgebäck?