Christmas is coming as well as its recumforting traditions: christmas tree, advent wreath, Christmas crib… But do you know the tradition of “Winàchtsbredele”, the Chistmas biscuits from Alsace ?
Christmas biscuits: an important tradition in Alsace (East of France)
In Alsace, Christmas is not taken lightly, Christmas traditions are everywhere and heavily present. People prepare Christmas biscuits called “Winàchtsbredele” from end of November to Christmas Eve (Advent period). This tradition is also shared with Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic.
These cookies have always existed in that region. Since Roman age!
In Alsace, families prepare traditionaly many many of these Christmas cookies. The main reason is that till the 50’s they were also used as Christmas tree decoration and as Christmas presents for kids. The ingredients used for preparing them were expensive and rare: butter, white flour, sugar, cinnamon, spices…
Nowadays, they continue being offered to family, friends, colleagues, school teacher…
They can be prepared once at the end of November and can be storaged for several weeks.
Let me share with you two Christmas biscuits recipes, the most famous and traditional ones:
- Vanillekipferl: small, crescent shaped biscuits made with almonds or hazelnuts. Their incredible taste is exhausted with their famous vanilla sugar.
- Zimtsterne or étoile à la cannelle: Star shaped biscuits with cinnamon
Christmas biscuits recipes from Alsace
For 15 to 20 biscuits
For the dough
- 4.23 oz (120g) room temperature unsalted butter
- 1.6 oz (45g) caster sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 2.12 oz (60g) almond powder
- 4.94 oz (140g) flour
For the topping
- 1.41 oz (40g) icing sugar
- 0.70 oz (20g) vanilla sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
- In a bowl, mix together the butter, the sugar, the vanilla until you get a smooth homogeneous texture
- Add the almond powder and the flour using a wood spoon
- Form a ball with your hands the divide into 4 pieces
- Flour your kitchen counter and spread the four pieces of dough. Form 7.87 inch (20cm) cylinders
- Cut 0.79 inch (2cm) sections with each cylinder and form crescents
- Put the biscuits on a baking tray covered with baking parchment paper
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. They must lightly brown
- In the meantime, mix together the icing and vanilla sugar
- Let them cool totally for several minutes
- Coat the biscuits with sugar and serve in a nice plate
- These biscuits can be storaged in a hermetic box
Etoiles à la cannelle or Zimtsterne