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Traditional German Christmas Sweet Treats

As desirable as it is to try them all, the wide variety of sweet treats on display and for sale at the Weihnachtsmarkt, makes it impossible to choose cakes to taste. Berlin Global researched and present a run-down of the best Christmas pastries

December 15th, 2014

With the custom of the Christmas tree originating in Germany, there is no Christmas like a German Christmas, and it is not Christmas until you've eaten your weight in cookies.

Luckily for Berliners, Germany is known for their sweet delicacies and cakes all year round, however it is this time of the year that brings the most magical sweet treats to counters at Christmas Markets.

Lebkuchen is a special less crispy German gingerbread glazed with a thin layer of icing or chocolate. Bethmännchen are little circular cookies, popular in Frankfurt, that are often dipped in chocolate. These cookies are often made without flour, for the gluten intolerant. Vanillekipferl are popular buttery cookies that melt in your mouth, with a vanilla flavouring and dusted in powdered sugar. Springerle, whose origins can be traced back to the 14th century, are traditionally anise-flavored presented with a printed design created by bakers using a special rolling pin. Pfeffernüsse are baked with honey, allspice, cinnamon and ground clove spice. Heidesand is the German's take on shortbread, in the form of chocolate vanilla cookies. Zimtsterne or Cinnamon Stars are made from egg whites, almonds and cinnamon and also gluten-free.

Stollen might be the most famous sweet treat associated to German Christmas, this bread-like cake made from a combination of dried fruits, candied citrus rinds, nuts and marzipan. After baking, the loaf is rolled in butter and then in powdered sugar before being wrapped up and left to ripen over two to three weeks.

Setting the new world record for largest stollen, bakers in Dresden created the traditional German Stollen Christmas fruitcake, entitled "Striezel”. At 4.34 meters long with a width of 1.77 meters, it consists of 400 parts. The giant seasonal Christmas cake was presented at a market in the historic Striezelmarkt, in the centre of Dresden and the cake was ceremoniously cut with a 1.6-meter long knife weighing u to 12 kilograms, and the slices sold with some of the proceeds going to charity.


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