Important occasions like Christmas are made more special with foods to share with families and loved-ones. In some way, food helps create a festive atmosphere which also brings contagious joy. This includes the traditional foods that are served during holidays. While most people serve turkey during Thanksgiving, Christmas cookies are considered as staples in many European homes.
If you’re planning to spend Christmas in Europe, might as well try the traditional Christmas cookies that Europeans prepare and eat during this special time of the year. Here’s a list that also features their countries of origin.
12 Traditional Christmas Cookies from Different European Countries
1. Linzer Torte
This holiday treat from Linze, Austria is actually a cookie sandwich. It comes in a range of shapes and is filled with jam in the center. Its top cookie is sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar and has a cutout to show a part of the filling.
Also known as ‘fried bow ties’ this traditional cookie is usually served during important holidays like Easter and Christmas. It has an egg-based dough that is rolled and deep-fried. To add a hint of sweetness, the chrusciki is dusted with confectioner’s sugar
DID YOU KNOW: While ‘chrusciki’ is a holiday staple in European countries, it is also consumed in the United States and is more popularly called as Angel Wings.
Another traditional Christmas cookie in Poland, Pierniczki is known as Polish Gingerbread Cookies. These cookies have been popular way back in the Middle Ages. Originally, wooden molds with intricate carvings were used to bake it. Fast forward to the modern times, Pierniczki is now available in various shapes including hearts, stars, and Saint Nicholas. You can also find glazed versions of it.
Maslenki cookies are popular Christmas treats from Bulgaria. The original version of these cookies are made with lard. Now, butter is also used to make them. They are rolled out and cut into different shapes before they are filled with jam. Popular flavors include apricot, rosehip, and plum.
Sablés are French Christmas cookies that combine sugar cookie and shortbread cookie. It is thin, and crispy. It flavor is buttery with a hint of cinnamon. To make them look more festive, these traditional Christmas cookies can be decorated with icing or sugar.
DID YOU KNOW: Sablé is derived from the French word ‘sand’ and has been referred to as such because of its sandy texture.
Make holiday tables look more inviting by adding a tray of Italian pizelle cookies. The batter used for these Christmas cookies are usually flavored with anise. However, you can also add vanilla, chocolate, or citrus zest to suite your taste. Fruit or custard fillings may also be used to make these cookies more special.
Licitars are a type of honey bread cookies. They can be molded into different shapes and decorated with red and white glaze or icing. But aside from adorning the holiday table, licitars are also used as Christmas tree decorations and giveaways in Croatia.
Although Pfeffernüsse actually means ‘pepper nuts’ when translated, there’s no nuts in these cookies. The ‘pepper’ refers to its spiciness.‘Nuts’ on the other hand refers to its size which is actually comparable to whole nuts. Its spicy flavor is achieved through the combination of pepper, cinammon, and anise.
DID YOU KNOW: This German cookie is also popular in other countries. It is called pepernoten in Dutch, pebernødder in Danish, and peppernuts in English.
9. Aguonu Sausainiukai
These Lithuanian Christmas cookies are made with poppyseeds. While those seeds make up many savory dishes and desserts, they come with special meanings that are perfect for special holidays like Christmas eve, Christmas and New Year. Poppyseeds are symbols of weath and fertility which further add meaning to them as traditional Christmas cookies.
This type of soft shortbread cookies are popular holiday treats in Spain.They are known to be fragile and can easily be reduced to its powdered form when not handled properly. It is very soft and crumbly and uses sugar, milk, and flour as its main ingredients. Nuts is a popular addition to this cookie, but a lot of flavors have already emerged to create several variants of the polvornes.
(Origin: Belgium, Netherlands, Northern France)
Speculaas is a special Christmas cookie that is baked before the feast of St. Nicholas in /Dutch countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, and Northern France. It is a type of spiced shortcrust biscuit that uses cinnamon, cloves, ginger, anise, nutmeg and cardamom as its main ingredients. Speculaas are made more special with the mold that is used for it which depicts Dutch motifs.
12. Gingerbread Coorkies
(Origin: Hungary, Finland, Sweden)
Almost all European countries have their own version of gingerbread cookies. It is made of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, anise and cardamom. Molasses or honey is added as a sweetener. In Hungary, they are called ‘Mezeskalacs’ and ‘Pepparkakor’ in Sweden. These cookies became very popular not only because of its taste but because of the art that is added into it. They make great Christmas decorations, too.
Europe doesn’t fall short of holiday treats to share with family and guests. It’s great to know how Christmas cookies take part in celebrating important traditions and in bringing people closer together. If you’ll be spending Christmas in Europe, make sure to try any of these cookies to have a taste of their culture, too.
If you are planning to travel to Europe this Christmas or sometime in the future, take note of the travel requirements you need to prepare. ETIAS will be rolled out in 2021. Get your ETIAS visa ready along with the itinerary you prepare.
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