«Christmas cookies are on the way! Are you traveling around Europe with kids in this period? Taste them all. Do you want to cook them home? I’ll come and eat them with you. Discover some of the most famous from very ancient traditions»
If you are a child, you wait for Christmas for 2 reasons: gifts and Christmas cookies! Each country has its own tradition of food, drinks and bakery, and wherever you are choosing to go this upcoming Christmas I am sure there will be good food and loads of things to do!
What about the European tradition? It depends where you are, of course! Wheter you are planning a trip to Europe for Christmas with kids or if you just want to reproduce a famous recipe at home, here it is some of the most delicious traditions of Christmas cookies (and other fairy treats!) all over Europe!
CHRISTMAS COOKIES ALL AROUND EUROPE
THE ITALIAN TRADITION
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Christmas in Italy means basically one things: eat, a lot. Writing about how many different cooking traditions live in this Country is practically impossible, so let’s focus on the Christmas period! I’ll start with the fig cookies, you can find them everywhere, but mostly in Sicily: they are treats with notes of citrus from fresh orange juice and lemon zest. In love with butter? They have butter cookies, no worries: the Italian version is a cookie sandwich with some strawberry jam. The typical Italian sugar cookies are are something that every Italian remember from childhood. 10 ingredients (sugar inside and outside) for a very soft cookie. Somewhere you will find also the famous Stefanini , served on Epiphany (January 6): they are candy-dusted cookies tinged with rum.
THE ENGLISH TRADITION
Great Britain is not just fish and chips, my friends, and Christmas cookies here are a serious tradition. The famous British stained glass cookies, for example, are a centuries-old tradition! Before eating, using them to decorate your Christmas tree. They represent the colorful windows of churches of the British Isles. Never, never forget the shortbreads (a.k.a shortie) from Scotland, made more by butter than anything else!
THE SCANDINAVIAN TRADITION
Let’s head north, the deep European north! Here Christmas cookies have a very long tradition, lost in time. It’s a mix of viking, christian and central Europe traditions, and the result is super delicious! The Rosettes, for example, are a decorative cookie from Sweden and Norway made by dipping a rosette iron into a batter and frying it in oil. The Pepparkakor are crisp gingersnaps coming from Sweden, cut out in heart and flower shapes.
THE GERMAN TRADITION
Germany is probably the queen Country if we speak about Christmas cookies, they are plenty of them! Where do I start? Zimsterne, for example, delicious cookies made with cinnamon. The Bethmännchen (little Bethman), mostly made in Frankfurt, are made from marzipan, rosewater and sugar. You’re in love with brownies? Try the Berliner Brot, with the delicious flavours of hazelnut, almond, cinnamon and sugar. Looking for something that melts in the mouth? The Vanillekipferln (vanille crescents) are considered a must-eat in the neverending German Christmas time! Sooooo yummy!