Where Is My Spoon Recipes German Recipes German Baking and Desserts German Heidesand Cookies

German Heidesand Cookies

by Adina 21/12/2015 27 comments

german heidesand cookies on a white cloth
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Last Updated on 16/06/2020 by Adina

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?

German Walnut Marzipan Cookies

French Palmiers

Almond Cookies without Eggs

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Ginger Snaps Recipe – Candied Ginger Cookies

german heidesand cookies on a white cloth

German Heidesand Cookies

Yield: 35
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

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.


  • 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ scant ½ cup soft unsalted butter
  • 50 g/ 1.7 oz/ ½ cup icing sugar
  • 25 g/ 0.8 oz/ ¼ cup grated and loosely packed marzipan paste
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 organic lemon, only the zest
  • 125 g/4.4 oz/ 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar


  1. Mix together 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 foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  3. 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 baking trays and bake for about 10-15 minutes until the cookies are golden.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 35 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 77Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


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grace 21/12/2015 - 15:21

i like your addition of lemon zest–it’s a great way to add some zip and freshness!

Adina 21/12/2015 - 16:51

Exactly, Grace, and I really love that. Thank you! 🙂

Kate 21/12/2015 - 17:07

Yum! Those sound heavenly. I would like to make some, but for us in the US, how much sugar is one sachet? Happy Holidays Adina!

Adina 21/12/2015 - 17:36

About two teaspoons, Kate.

Heidi Kokborg 21/12/2015 - 17:27

These cookies look really good 🙂

Adina 21/12/2015 - 17:39

Thank you, Heidi.

Evi @ greenevi 21/12/2015 - 17:43

I have heard of these cookies, but never tried them before. They look so pretty and delicious, love your festive pictures! 🙂

Adina 21/12/2015 - 17:50

You should try them, they are really good, and I am sure you could make them with margarine. 🙂

sue|theviewfromgreatisland 21/12/2015 - 18:14

How is it that I’ve never heard of these, they sound wonderful! I love classic cookies, they’re always the best, and the brown butter thing has got me very intrigued!

Adina 22/12/2015 - 08:50

I love “classics” too and there are so many around here, I haven’t yet tried them all. But I am perseverent!

Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet 21/12/2015 - 18:24

Heidesand is one of my all-time favorite Christmas cookies! My mom and I make them every year and they’re something I always look forward to. Yours look perfect!

Adina 22/12/2015 - 08:51

Thank you, Kimberly. 🙂 Nice that you can do that with your mom.

Meghan | Fox and Briar 21/12/2015 - 19:49

I love the flavors that you have added here, the lemon zest and marzipan sound lovely!

Adina 22/12/2015 - 08:53

Thank you, Meghan.

[email protected] 21/12/2015 - 21:16

Nothing better than a simple butter cookie! The lemon zest must make them taste fabulous!

Adina 22/12/2015 - 08:54

I love the lemon zest in these. Thank you.

Nancy J. Williams 22/12/2015 - 03:40

Wow, great idea, love this post!

Adina 22/12/2015 - 09:07


Rachel @ Simple Seasonal 22/12/2015 - 13:46

Your last couple of cookie recipes look so scrumptious! I’d just love to sit in your kitchen, sip on tea, chat, and eat up all your cookies! 🙂

Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop 22/12/2015 - 13:47

What a lovely little cookie. I love that it is a family favorite. There’s nothing better than an old family recipe…and there’s nothing wrong with changing it just a bit!

Chris Scheuer 23/12/2015 - 01:16

I think the simplest cookies are often the best. These sound wonderful Adina! Have a Merry Christmas!

Monica 23/12/2015 - 17:07

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

marcela 29/12/2015 - 01:29

OMG! So perfect! I love these cookies!

Adina 30/12/2015 - 08:36

Thank you, Marcela.

Sydney F. Jenkins 06/04/2017 - 20:45

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.

Sydney F. Jenkins 06/04/2017 - 20:52

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!

Adina 06/04/2017 - 21:06

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.


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