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German Heidesand Cookies

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Heidesand or heath sand are traditional German cookies, shortcrust pastry usually made with brown butter, rolled in sugar, sliced and then baked. Really simple but really good.

traditional german cookies rolled in sugar on the table

These heidesand cookies were probably the first cookies I had many years ago when I first came to Germany and I celebrated my first Christmas here.

My husband’s grandmother who still lived in the house at the time used to make lots of different but all very traditional cookies every December. German cookies like Vanillekipferl or Spitzbuben.

She would pack them in tins and keep them all through the holiday season, we would still get to eat some in January. I didn’t bake anything in those days so my husband was very happy to have his grandma making these treats for him. Me too, actually.


Last year was the first time I have made these heidesand cookies using the original recipe. This year I have changed things little bit and I have to say I liked this version of heidesand even more than the original one.

I didn’t brown the butter anymore, but instead, I flavored the pastry with some marzipan and lemon zest. I absolutely love that lemon zest-marzipan aroma in these cookies, you definitely do not want to miss it.

traditional german heidesand cookies with shortcrust pastry

More Christmas cookies?

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Almond Cookies without Eggs

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Ginger Snaps Recipe – Candied Ginger Cookies

german heidesand cookies on a white cloth

German Heidesand Cookies

Heidesand or heath sand are traditional German cookies, shortcrust pastry usually made with brown butter, rolled in sugar, sliced and then baked. Really simple but really good.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 35
Calories: 77kcal
Author: Adina


  • 100 g soft unsalted butter 3.5 oz/ scant ½ cup
  • 50 g icing sugar 1.7 oz/ ½ cup
  • 25 g marzipan paste 0.8 oz/ ¼ cup (grated and loosely packed)
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 organic lemon only the zest
  • 125 g all-purpose flour 4.4 oz/ 1 cup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar


  • Pastry: Mix the soft butter, icing sugar, grated marzipan paste, vanilla sugar, or extract and grated lemon zest using a handheld mixer. The mixture should get creamy. Sieve the flour over this mixture and incorporate it. Form a long pastry roll, about 4 cm/ 1.6 inch thick. Halve the roll, wrap each half in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  • Cut cookies: Whisk the egg yolk with a fork and brush the pastry rolls all over. Place the granulated sugar on a plate and toss the roll to coat in sugar. Cut the rolls into ½ cm/ 0.2 inch slices. Place the pastry slices on the prepared baking trays.
  • Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the cookies are golden.


Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it ensures the best results (Amazon affiliate link).


Serving: 1g | Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 22mg | Sugar: 8g
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Recipe Rating


Thursday 6th of April 2017

Oh, sorry about that, Sydney, such things happen.... I was just checking the quantities again, but I am glad you found the problem. I hope you try the cookies again.

Sydney F. Jenkins

Thursday 6th of April 2017

I think I just solved my own problem (previous comment)! I apparently used 1/2 cup flour + 1tsp instead of 1 CUP ! duh!!!

I'll try again. Thanks!

Sydney F. Jenkins

Thursday 6th of April 2017

HELP! i followed the recipe exactly and my cookies melted into one great big pool and baked. It is like one giant oily cookie. I think the recipe has too much butter. It calls for 1/2 cup which is 8 Tablespoons. What happened? Thank you.


Tuesday 29th of December 2015

OMG! So perfect! I love these cookies!


Wednesday 30th of December 2015

Thank you, Marcela.


Wednesday 23rd of December 2015

These look perfectly beautiful. The touch of marzipan paste and lemon sound wonderful. Have a wonderful holiday!!