Sunday, December 11, 2011

My favorite German cookie....Wiesbader Brot

A long, long time ago, a recipe came from Germany with a group of people looking for religious freedom.  They traveled across the ocean and, according to a diary that I found many years ago in my parent's attic, they suffered from a lot of sea sickness.  But they had faith in their Creator, and they arrived on the shores of America.  The time frame was the 1850's.  So what did the women bring with them?  I can only guess, but recipes were an important factor..keeping them in touch with their homeland.

One such recipe I baked today.  A Christmas cookie that I have always known as "Wiesbader Brot.".  This translates to "the bread of Wiesbaden, Germany."  As a child, I loved to watch my grandmother bake these great smelling cookies.  If this cookie has ever seen itself in Wiesbaden, Germany, is a mystery.  Perhaps, it was only remorse of leaving the homeland that named this cookie.  Nevertheless, with a little imagination, it does look like a slice of bread topped with butter.

It has been a few years since I have baked Wiesbader Brot, but I do think today, they tasted better than they ever have.  I have to give credit to the cinnamon that I added.  For quite a few years, I have been buying my cinnamon from Penzey's in Wisconsin.  This Vietnamese cinnamon is absolutely the best tasting.  I hope you will discover Penzey's and try their cinnamon and other spices.  They rank top quality on my list.  I also buy all my peppercorns for grinding from them including a lot of other spices.

The cookie is supposed to look like a slice of bread topped with butter.  When you read the recipe, you can see how this happens.  The recipe is printed in "Seasons of Plenty", a cookbook from the Amana Colonies in Iowa, that I gave away earlier this year on my blog anniversary.   The tool that should be used to cut the cookies is a ruffled roller cutter that I do not own.  My grandmother's disappeared in the family home auction years ago, but I do remember it and use my pizza cutter instead.  The ruffled edge on the cookies does make it extra special.

Wiesbader Brot (The Bread of Wiesbaden)

1 cup butter, softened
2 1/3 cups sugar
4 eggs, reserve yolks from 2
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder

 In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Reserving 2 egg yolks, beat 2 whole eggs and 2 white until very frothy and combine with creamed sugar and butter.  Gradually add flour, cinnamon, and baking powder.  Mix well.  Cover and chill dough overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  On a large lightly floured board, roll out small portions of the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Use a fluted pastry wheel, or pizza cutter and cut into diamond shapes.  Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with beaten egg yolks.  Bake about 15 minutes until light brown.  Makes 4-5 dozen cookies.

I hope you have a chance to try my favorite German cookie.  They are now resting until the grandchildren arrive Christmas week.  By the way, my favorite way to eat them is dunked in hot chocolate.  YUM


  1. Just love a story like this! A little bit of history, a little bit of family and a whole lot of good cooking! I'd love to try these! (And I'm a big Penzey's fan, too!)

  2. I've never heard of this cookie but it sure sounds awesome.

  3. Anonymous3:10 PM

    A work of art, a piece of our history, priceless. And they taste wonderful! Thanks for the information. Thanks for sharing. Connie

  4. They really do look like butter on toast.

  5. I have seen similar cookies, but didn't know the name. Wouldn't they have to be named "Wiesbadener Brot"? Looks like they also lost some letters in the move. That is pretty funny.
    Here is a recipe for "Berliner Brot":
    Looks a lot like a Lebkuchen Rezept to me.

  6. I haven't seen this cookie before but will certainly give it a try. I'm going to take a plate to my mother to see if she recognizes it. I love old recipes like this. A Pensey's just opened nearby and I am so impressed by the quality of their spices. I saw their Vietnam cinnamon the last time I was there and didn't buy it. Will have to correct that next time I visit.

  7. Kirsten, I had to laugh. It seems when German and English languages mixed...a lot got lost in spelling and translation. You should have been with me the first time I took my Americanized German to Heidelberg. It was difficult, to say the least. Thanks for the comments all of you. Susan

  8. I love reading about bits of other's culture's. Thanks for sharing this family recipe! I may even give them a try!

    Merry Christmas!

  9. These sound quite delicious. I have a very good German cook book and I have to say there is very little in there I do not like. Diane

  10. Thanks for the background on this cookie, Susan. It's the first time I've ever heard of Wiesbader Brot. Which is surprising in that I had a German grandmother who was in the kitchen baking all the time.

  11. I love this post... family history... letters in the attic... recipes passed down and enjoyed from generation to generation... and that your grands will be enjoying these soon! wonderful. just wonderful. blessings ~ tanna

  12. Our culture is defined mostly by the food we eat. I have no doubt that one of the most important things either in memory or on paper that was taken across the seas....was their recipes.

    I love stories like this one. I also love cookies like this one too.

    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Talk about treasures in the attic and of the heart. I'm humbled by the immigrant story, by the bravery, the community, the hope that forged our country into something so special. No doubt these cookies are a fine reminder of savoring what we've left behind and embracing the possibilities before us. I dunk my cookie, here's to the bounty around us and our gifted (baking) fore-bearers.

  14. Love that you added the history of this real cute cookie. I have pull for German food that I can't explain.

  15. We've been gifted with these from German friends and love them. I also love Penzey's. My first visit was in Appleton, WI. Our nearest one is on the north side of Indianapolis--a bit of a trek.


  16. These sound wonderful and what a wonderful story, Susan! I can't believe I don't have any of my grandmother's recipes from Denmark but, by the time I was born, she was already quite old.

    I am fortunate to have a Penzey's store within 5 minutes of my home.

    I feel

  17. I was at the store today and suddenly had a cookie craving. I looked at all the packaged cookies and I couldn't find a one that would have satisfied my craving, knowing that home-baked cookies are 100% better tasting. I'll make these and I love the "butter" on the top!

  18. Stopping by to wish you happy holidays and a successful surgery on you knee. I'm going to try those cheese crackers if I ever find some shard cheddar cheese here.

  19. It looks and sounds like a great cookie, Susan! I'm surprised as Bill's mom made many German cookies and this is a new one to me. It's a must try!

  20. Hi Susan, These cookies do sound good! They remind me a little of shortbread. Nice article and story.
    Thanks, too, for your comments re my cheese article. Glad you enjoyed it. Janet

  21. Susan - Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. The name of your blog alone will inspire my visiting.

  22. How fun! I have a German heritage and have spent a fair amount of time in Germany so I have a special place in my heart for anything Deutsch! These look wonderful, Susan!

  23. These look delicious and as a fan of German cuisine, I'm sure I'd like them.

  24. And I was the lucky winner of that book! I read it like a novel!
    The cookies look delicious, Susan, I hope to try them!
    Thanks again for the book!

  25. Oh, whenever you mention the Amana Colonies, I remember such wonderful times...and my in-laws would always take us out to dinner at one of the fabulous restaurants when they came to town. Your cookies look wonderful, Susan!

  26. Mmmmm - - these sound wonderful!
    I have a ruffle-edged roller and will see if I can find one for you.

  27. Your cookies are so pretty Susan. I've had several people tell me how great the cinnamon is from Penzey's. My FIL would not buy spices from anyone other than Penzeys. Sure wish I had a store nearby.

    Hope you and the Trout have a very merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year and that you are feeling good as new soon.

  28. Susan,
    Cookies look wonderful.

    I made the orange ice cream for Christmas Eve. It was a big hit. I mentioned you in my blog this morning. Just love your recipes.


  29. Love this story and I think I will love this blog. My mouth is watering reading about and seeing this Wiesbader Brot

  30. Wolfram1:21 AM

    So interesting! I am German and collect old cook books. And I found the recipe "Wisbader Brod" in a very old one from 1796. Never heard of these cookies and tried to find pictures online. No results. But then I found your blog. While in Germany nobody knows about these cookies anymore,you are still taking on the tradition. Great! In modern German it would probably called "Wiesbadener Brot".