Cookies | Grocer to Table

Hildabrötchen | Spitzbuben Shortbread Cookie with Jam

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Hildabrotchen or Spitzbuben are a traditional German Christmas cookie that is filled with currant jam. It’s a beautiful dough to work with!

Hilda brotchen on a white plate with baking sheet in the background filled with more cookiesPin
Hildabrötchen

The origin of Hildabrötchen

Hildabrötchen or Spitzbuben are a Christmas cookie that originated in Germany. They are traditional shortbread “plätzchen” or cookies that are cut out and filled with marmalade and frosted with a powdered sugar glaze.

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The original recipe for these cookies comes from a cookbook that my German Grandmother had. It was published in 1962 and she sent one to my Mom for a gift.

When she passed away, I got her copy of the book. It is Koch- und Haushaltungsbuch (Literally translated Cook and Housekeeping book, but more appropriately it would be entertaining. Not housekeeping) and one of the authors was M. Künzler. This being my maiden name, we always refer to it as the “Künzler Cookbook”. Although my Dad does not believe she was any relation.

Close up of jam filled and glazed Hilda brotchen on white platePin

Why these cookies work

  • One of the easiest cut out cookie doughs I have ever worked with. It rarely needs flour to cut cookies out.
  • Cookie is very short but not overly sweet so that the sweet jelly filling does not make the cookies too sweet.
  • One of the most beautiful cookies you will ever see on a cookie platter.
  • Very easy to make.
  • Freezes well. Powdered sugar glaze may dull if frozen for too long, but they still tastes amazing!

Ingredients you need

For the dough

  • flour (mehl)
  • butter
  • sugar (zucker)
  • vanilla sugar (vanillezucker)
  • 1 egg (ei)

For decorating

  • powdered sugar (puderzucker)
  • warm water (wasser)
  • red currant jelly (himbeermarmelade) some folks substitute apricot jam (aprikosenmarmelade

How to make them

How to make the dough

  • Measure dry ingredients.
  • Add softened butter to mixer bowl.
  • Cream butter.
  • Add sugar and cream.
  • Break egg into separate bowl.
  • Add egg and vanilla to creamed butter.
  • Mix until light and fluffy.
  • Add dry ingredients. Mix just enough to fully incorporate.
  • Portion dough into 2-3 pieces.
  • Wrap in waxed paper. Chill 2-3 hours or better yet, overnight.
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How to cut and glaze

  • Roll out small pieces of dough between sheets of waxed paper.
  • Cut out equal number of tops and bottoms.
  • Place on cookie sheet. Bake about 20 minutes on low temperature. Allow to cool before frosting.
  • Mix up powdered sugar glaze. Dip each top in glaze.
  • Let excess drip off.
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Assembling the cookies

  • Let partially dry. If you would like the edges crisp and clean, just run a toothpick along the edges to clean up.
  • Top bottom cookies with jam.
  • Place one top cookie on jam.
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Allow cookies to dry at least a few hours. Place cookies in a single layer with sheets of waxed paper between.

Side view of cookies on white plate.Pin

These cookies have no leavening, so it is more like a shortbread cookie.

The powdered sugar glaze on the top and the currant jam make for a lovely presentation. I have to say, that all of the holiday cookie platters that I have seen are not quite as pretty as ours!

These Hildabrötchen or spitzbuben are incredibly beautiful on a cookie platter or for a Christmas dessert grazing board.

Stacked spitzbuben or Hildabrötchen cookies.Pin

I have had a request for a link to the cookie cutters that I use. Our original cutters broke long ago, so I replaced them with this cheap Linzer Cookie set.

When I was looking, I found this one though! I love this one because it has a lot of different inserts that are fun. Snowman, Angel, a bunch of cute ones.

Pro tips to ensure your success

  • Since this dough only has 5 ingredients, measure your ingredients accurately. A scale is really the best tool to use.
  • Bake cookies at a low temperature for longer because they have no leavening. 325°F for 20-30 minutes. Check at 20 minutes and then often after that.
  • Do not let the cookies brown. The edges should be slightly golden and centers should be dry to a gentle touch.
powdered sugar sprinkled spitzbuben cookies on doily.
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For an easy shortcut, sprinkle tops with powdered sugar, instead of the glaze.

How to store cookies

  • Cookies will freeze about a month but they lose their beautiful presentation after about a week. Make these cookies closer to the time you will serve them.
  • Cookies can be refrigerated for about one week.
  • To store, pack on single layer with waxed paper between in air tight containers.

Tools I use

These traditional German Spitzbuben or Hildabrötchen are incredibly easy and have a nice, crispy, buttery flavor that is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

If you want an easy-cut-out cookie that is gorgeous on your cookie platter, this cookie is for you!

I hope you like the recipe today for Hildabrötchen, or spitzbuben!

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If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Close up of cookies on white plates.Pin

Hildabrötchen

These Hilda brötchen will liven up your holiday cookie platters! They are so festive!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 109kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $6

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 300g mehl
  • 2/3 cup butter, unsalted, softened 150g butter
  • 2/3 cup Sugar 120g zucker
  • 1 pkg Vanilla sugar can be found in specialty departments. If you can't find it, just add 1/2 tsp. vanilla. vanillezucker
  • 1 egg, room temperature ei

For Decorating

  • 1 cup powdered sugar 125g puderzucker
  • 2 tsp hot water wasser
  • 1 jar currant jelly himbeermarmelade

Instructions

  • Cream butter in mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Add sugar and cream again, until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and vanilla, mix well.
  • Add flour in three parts. Mix just until well combined. Don’t over- mix. 
  • If you have a messbecher, it is easy to measure the ingredients in weight. You can find them at specialty stores and online.
  • Wrap dough in waxed paper, then in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least a few hours, or overnight.
  • Roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper.
  • Cut pieces for bottoms. Then put a hole in the center of of the tops.
  • Bake at 325°F for about 25-30 minutes.

For Decorating

  • Mix powdered sugar and water to form a smooth, fairly thick, glaze.
  • The easiest way that I have found to glaze the tops, is just to dunk them upside down, in the glaze.
  • Flip them over and let them dry for about 15 minutes. Don’t let them dry for a long time, because the icing will get too hard to clean up.
  • While they dry, place the jam on the bottom cookies.
  • Carefully pick the cookie up from the edges. Using a knife or toothpicks, scrape the excess off of the edges.
  • Place the cleaned off top on top of the jam.
  • Done!! Can be frozen in containers with waxed paper between the layers. They only freeze for about 2 weeks before the glaze gets freezer burned.
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Notes

  • Since this dough only has 5 ingredients, measure your ingredients accurately. A scale is really the best tool to use.
  • Bake cookies at a low temperature for longer because they have no leavening. 325°F for 20-30 minutes. Check at 20 minutes and then often after that.
  • Do not let the cookies brown. The edges should be slightly golden and centers should be dry to a gentle touch.
  • Cookies will freeze about a month but they lose their beautiful presentation after about a week. Make these cookies closer to the time you will serve them.
  • Cookies can be refrigerated for about one week.
  • To store, pack on single layer with waxed paper between in air tight containers.
  • You can make the cookies and put them together. Just don’t glaze them until just before serving. You will have to glaze with a spatula, if you choose to do this.
  • The cookies themselves freeze very well. If I am just serving the family, I just finish them and freeze them, because we don’t really care if they look perfect. If serving to guests, or gifting, I make them fresh.
  • Be certain cookies are very dry before packing to freeze. This will help with glaze.
General Baking Tips:
Always measure dry ingredients with a dry measuring cup. Measure with dry measuring cups or weigh dry ingredients.
 
Always measure liquid ingredients with liquid measuring cup
 
Never break eggs directly into recipe ingredients. Break eggs into a separate bowl, in case you get any shells, so that you can pull them out.
 
Make sure that you know what temperature your oven is set at. Buy an oven thermometer and check oven temperature regularly.
 
Always check baked goods, like cakes or quick breads with cake tester, placed in center. If the tester comes out clean, it’s done.

Nutrition

Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 14mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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29 Comments

  1. One correction:
    Red currants are Johannisbeeren
    Raspberries are Himbeeren
    Both jams are traditionally used, but these taste good with any jam. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Beth, thank you for sharing this recipe!! My German grandmother pass away when I was young so I wasn’t handed down any recipes. So I will try this one 😁 thanks heaps

  3. 5 stars
    My mother left me the same cook book (1956 edition). Your recipes are so helpful because I don’t have to convert kilograms into cups. If you have a link to Hildabrotchen cookie cutters, I would love to have it because mine are almost 50 years old. Thank you.

    1. Hi Evelyn! I added 2 links to the post from Amazon. One is bigger than the other, but it has some cute shapes for the insert! The conversion is a pain at times. Particularly if you are doubling the recipe! Thanks for your comment!

  4. WHOA! I always thought these were an Italian cookie! I had no idea it was of German heritage.
    They’re definitely beautiful cookies for a cookie tray.

  5. 5 stars
    I have been waiting for this recipe! They are so cute and sound absolutely delicious! And how fun is it to say the name, lol!

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