In Germany most people bake cookies only for Christmas. And then they make tons and tons of them. Most of them are pretty simple to make and require only a few ingredients. Many are also different from US cookies. We like shortbread and spritz cookies. Cookies that are not soft and moist but rather crispy and tender. They are usually much smaller than North American cookies, too. Usually it’s the kids’ job to squeeze or cut out all these cookies and place them on cookie sheets over cookie sheets. We never did that at home and sometimes I think the reason why this blog is filled with so many baking recipes and childhood memories is the lack of baking in my childhood. Do I have issues? Probably. But it could be worse.
So even though we never made this kind of cookies at home, I consider them the cookies of my childhood. I helped bake them at friends’ kitchens. I ate them at relatives’ places. And I ate tons of them because they were so delicious. They are tender and slightly delicate, not too sweet and with very mild roasting flavours from the lightly browned edges. They are cookies for every occasion and they can always be kept on hand. To make them a little bit more special, you can add a little something like a vanilla bean, lime peel, poppy seeds,… The possibilities are endless. For my version I chose coffee granules and as always I took the cookies to work to let my co-workers taste test. Two of them requested the recipe and thought they were great, “grown-up” cookies. But believe it or not, our 20 month old kid loved them, too. She likes to drink the leftovers in my espresso cups when I am not looking and she immediately recognized that there was coffee in these cookies, too. And then she ate two or three.
Coffee Shortbread Cookies (makes 50, but depends on size of cutter)
120 g (3/4 cup + 1 T) whole almonds
1 vanilla bean
100 g (1 cup) sifted, powdered sugar
120 g (1/2 cup) margarine, softened
180 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
Preheat the oven to 150°C. (300°F)
Place almonds in a food processor or blender. Cut the vanilla bean into three to four pieces and add. Grind finely.
With a hand-held blender, beat sugar and margarine until fluffy. Add flour, almonds, and espresso granules and beat until a crumbly dough has formed. Divide the dough into three portions. Form equally sized balls and roll each out (1/2 cm or 1/4 inch thick) between two sheets of plastic wrap. Remove the plastic and cut out the cookies. Do this carefully, the dough may be crumbly. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes or until the edges turn golden. Let cool on a cookie sheet.