Today I have some ultra-cute nutcrackers for you guys made from sugar cookies with royal icing. Yes, they do require a bit of work, but for me that’s the best way to relax. Especially since you can make each step on a different day (like make the dough, bake, decorate), which I find super convenient. I love the fact that these cookies keep and will look great in any cookie box. You can also wrap them individually and give them as a gift to somebody. What do you say? You can of course use other cookie cutters, such as ugly sweaters and the like…
I am not the conventional German cookie maker. Yes, of course I have all the traditional German cookies on my blog, such as vanilla crescents, cinnamon stars, gingerbread aka Lebkuchen and Linzer. However, my favorite cookies, even during the season, are usually not the traditional Christmas cookies. I usually prefer cookies you can eat all year round. Many German cookies are based on some version of sugar cookie or even pie crust, if you are looking for tips how to deal with this type of sugar cookie, check out this blog post. I also have one full blog post on how to freeze leftover egg yolks and egg whites. If you are looking for some different cookie, below list may be for you. I usually make a full plate with different cookies and many times one of the below cookies was declared the favorite from the receiver of the cookie plate.
Have you ever heard of Pfeffernüsse aka German spice cookies? I live in the south of Germany in the city Munich. Once I asked in a bakery whether they sold any and they look at me as if as were from Mars. So I checked, since there are so many German dialects, maybe they use another word in Bavaria, but no, I quickly learned that they are also called Pfeffernüsse here. However, they seem to be more common in the north of Germany, the Dutch and Danish also have similar versions. The handwritten recipe book from my grandma contains about ten different recipes. Many of her recipes contain peppermint extract and this one is closer to gingerbread or German Lebkuchen. Pfeffernüsse literally translates as “pepper nuts”, probably they are called “nuts” because they are the size of walnuts. At least the ones I grew up with are rather small.
These German vanilla crescents are prepared with real vanilla to give them maximum flavor. This is a classic Christmas cookie very popular in the German-speaking countries. So we are going to add vanilla not only in the dough, but also in the dusting. They are called vanilla crescents for a reason.
Cookie boxes are my thing! I love shipping cookies to friends and family during the season! I have been doing this for years. And since this year is so special and you may not be able to see everybody you hold dear, how about shipping a cookie box instead? This post will let you know which type and size of box to choose, which cookies are best to ship with lots of recipe suggestions, how you make your cookie box look nice and give it a personal touch and how your cookies make it safe and sound without breaking or going bad. Let’s have a look:
#1 Which box is best to ship cookies?
It may sound counter-intuitive, but I do prefer rectangular boxes, even if round cookie boxes seem so much more common here in Germany. I find rectangular boxes so much better as you can easily create smaller compartments by cutting out some carton (yes, you can use an old cornflakes box) and by placing them inside your cookie box to create smaller compartments. So stacking the cookies becomes much easier as each has its small compartment and is protected even better. You probably could create something similar with a round cookie box, but I am very bad at this. This is not to say that you can’t use round boxes, but as stated, for shipping rectangular boxes are better.
A tin can will work best and can be found in German stores during this time of the year. Once I even bought a cookie box already filled with cookies in a grocery store and replaced those with my own homemade cookies. So you can go with tin, thick carton, or wood. Paper is not thick enough, you may only use it if you want to wrap single cookies in some extra containers.
The size is also tricky, they shouldn’t be too small as you won’t be able to put in any cookies (and they fill up much faster than you think), but also not too large. I would suggest about 17-20cm in diameter and 8-10cm in height for round cookie boxes, these are the ones I liked a lot. For a rectangular box again height should be between 8-10cm, the largest I shipped was 17cm in width and 20cm long.
Wow, you guys are crazy! And I am crazy! Because I will be flying to my in-laws tomorrow and I am writing this blog post even though I haven’t packed yet. I usually plan my posts long in advance. But not this time. That’s because soooo many of you requested the recipes of the below cookie box. When I showed the picture on Instagram and Facebook, many of you wanted to get ALL the recipes. Figure that. All of them. And since I am far away from being able to link on Instagram, I will link the recipes in this blog post. The below picture shows the cookies with numbers, so you should be able to match them. I tried to number them clockwise, so it is easy to see which one is which. The cookies are as follows:
- Brownie cookies
- German cinnamon stars (gluten free)
- Speculoos prezels (I made them to prezels and dunked them in chocolate)
- Ugly sweater gingerbread
- Baci di dama (hazelnut cookies)
- Nutella chocolate chip cookies
- Chocolate chip cookies with instant pudding
- Spice wreaths (I made mine with marzipan “cranberries), not on my blog
P.S.: If you are making all these cookies, you will probably have a lot of egg whites left over. What to do with leftover egg whites and how to freeze it, you will find here.
And in case you were wondering, I like to bake one cookie per day. I work full-time, so I always made one recipe after work. Once cooled, I immediately froze them and only took them out shortly before shipping. I am not the type who will make like five different cookies in one night. Too stressful, that’s not me. If it is a recipe that requires the dough to chill, I would prepare the dough in the morning, go to work, return, and then cut out the cookies, bake them, etc.
I have shipped a lot of cookies successfully, just be sure to make cookies you can stack and that are sturdy. I feel that the tin/can already protects them well, so what I did was to stack them and cover with some napkins or similar. The cookie box was protected with newspaper. So far the cookies I’ve shipped all made it safe and sound. I even did a cookie box giveaway for the international cookie day. If you have not shipped cookies, give it a try. First ship nationally and see how it goes. I am telling you, it is addictive!
The cookie box you can see is from the German publishing house Grätz (currently seems to only be available on Amazon). I will take this box to my in-laws in Spain. And since I still need to pack, I will leave you to it. As always feel free to ask me anything about baking or if you encounter problems. Alright, have wonderful holidays!
Yes, I am German and yes, these cookies are one of the most traditional cookies for the holidays. Yet I only got to know them as an adult. That’s because I didn’t grow up in Germany. If you want to learn more about my excuse, read on here. But when I finally had the chance to try these Linzer cookies, they became one of my favorite holiday cookies very quickly. That’s why I had to post a recipe here. I really love the dough, which contains almonds and a lot of butter, sooo good! I also like the holidays spices. Do I need to say anything about jam with a touch of rum? Yum! I can only say, if you haven’t tried them, you have to! They are delicious, I promise.