Grandma's German Cookies

I recently had to dig through my mom’s recipe arsenal for family recipes that illustrate my family’s heritage. Well, that was hard since both sides of my family have been in America for a long time. My maternal grandmother has ancestors that were registered and came over on the Mayflower. My dad’s side of the family is a little blurrier but my aunt and late great grandmother for have made these cookies as long as I can remember.  So I decided to make them to illustrate a part of my family. They are a cut out cookie but puff up a lot during the cooking process so choose simple cookie cutters like hearts or stars or circles, like I did.

german cookies

These little guys are airy, fluffy, and simple. I grew up with them with frosting on them but traditionally they do not have any.  Either way they are a unique, not too sweet cookie perfect for tea time or with a cup of your morning coffee. Do I say that in all my cookie recipe blog posts? Hm, that might be a trait I get from my mother.

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Grandma's German Cookies
Old fashioned, German sugar cookies
  • 2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 C salted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg (freshly ground, if possible)*
  • 3 C all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment add all ingredients, except the flour, and mix. Once combined, slowly incorporate the three cups of flour.  2. Divide the dough into four and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. The dough will be very sticky, almost like a batter. 3. Preheat oven to 350 F. 4. Roll out the dough one wrapped package at a time. It softens quickly and can be hard to work with so leave the others in the fridge until ready to roll. Using lots of flour, roll out the dough. Make sure to flip the dough every few rolls and add flour as needed. Roll out to ¼ inch and cut out with cookie cutter. Place on silpat or lightly greased cookie sheet. 5. Bake each batch for 8-10 minutes until puffy and slightly browned. Cool on a cookie rack. 6. Optional: frost once cooled. *I use whole nutmeg and then use a microplane to grind it. The smell is unbelievable.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 30-35 cookies

No Recipe Frosting Recipe

Powdered Sugar

2 T Soft Butter

Whole Milk or cream

Splash of vanilla extract

1. Starting with 2 cups of powdered sugar and butter, beat all ingredients, adding just a touch of milk at a time until desired consistency. If you want the frosting thicker, add more powdered sugar, if you want it thinner, add more milk.

german cookies

As these little babies baked, I could smell Christmas because that is usually the only time I make these or have them. I shared them with pride and told the blurry story of what I know of my dad’s side of the family. People enjoyed them and some even asked for the recipe, which always feels good.

german cookies

Listening to: the stories of other people cultures and family histories