German Christmas Cardamom Cookies (Kardamon Plaetzchen)

German Christmas cardamom cookies

The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 36 servings

Countries around the world with strong baking traditions and those that also celebrate Christmas always have something extra special to offer around that holiday. In Germany, cardamom has been used in Christmas baking since the Middle Ages. A simple dough is gently spiced with cardamom and rolled into long log shapes as you would with an icebox cookie recipe. Then, they are sliced and baked.

These cookies with cardamom (also known as plaetzchen) have a distinct floral aroma and are a bit salty. Once they're baked, the cookies are dipped in chocolate couverture, a type of chocolate used for decorative purposes. It's ground to a finer texture during the production process and contains a greater percentage of cocoa butter in comparison to the other ingredients. The production and the cocoa butter mean that its flavor and texture are great for treats that are enrobed or dipped in chocolate. The cookies are floral and a bit salty, which pairs well with the chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar, or vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons rum, or water or brandy

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 4 ounces chocolate coating, or couverture

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for German Christmas cardamom cookies

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Beat together the butter and sugars. Mix in vanilla extract (if using) and rum.

    Beating butter in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Sift or mix flour with cardamom, baking powder, and salt and mix it into the creamed butter to make a stiff dough.

    Batter for German Christmas cardamom cookies

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  4. Form this dough into two or three rolls that are 1-inch in diameter.

    Roll dough

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  5. Wrap the rolls in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 or more hours.

    Wrap German cardamom Christmas cookie dough rolls in plastic wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  6. Heat oven to 390 F.

  7. Remove roll of dough from the refrigerator and place it on a cutting board. Slice the dough 1/4-inch thick and place the cookies on a cookie sheet.

    Roll out dough for German Christmas cardamom cookies

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  8. Use a fork to create a crosshatch pattern on the cookies, flattening them somewhat.

    Crosshatch patterns with a fork on German Christmas cardamom cookies

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until set and starting to brown slightly.

    German Christmas cardamom cookies baked on a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  10. Remove cookies to rack to cool.

    German Christmas cardamom cookies cooling on a rack

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska 

  11. Melt chocolate couverture according to package directions. Dip cookies halfway in melted chocolate, place on wax paper, and allow to harden.

    Melt chocolate
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Store and Freeze German Christmas Cardamom Cookies

  • These cookies keep well in a sealed tin in a cool spot for up to several weeks. Store them in between layers of wax paper.
  • You can also freeze baked cookies if they're wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in an airtight container or zip-close freezer bag. They'll be good for up to 3 months.
  • The logs of unbaked cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just slice and bake them at the same temperature indicated in the recipe, but for a couple of additional minutes.