02 June 2016

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse - A Traditional German Cookie

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse - A Traditional German Cookie / www.delightfulrepast.com

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Cookies came to my attention in a most unexpected manner. Our friend Bill, who may well be our most uncookingest friend ever, just sent me the recipe, which he got from Brigitte, a friend of his from Hildesheim, Germany, who sends him a batch every year at the holidays. Of course, he's never actually made the recipe. 

Having met her while she was traveling in the US, he then visited her and her friends and family in Hildesheim. She made these cookies during his stay, and he enjoyed them and appreciated her kindness in making them, but didn't right away think they were anything to write home about. But then he found himself going back again and again for just one more. 

He said, "I'm not really sure what it is about them that's gotten such a hold of me, or whether this is just yet another eccentricity on my part ..." (I am a huge fan of eccentricity!), but he eagerly awaits the annual shipment from Brigitte. And with an introduction like that, I simply had to try them. And now I know what he meant!

If you like a less pale cookie, give them an egg wash before they go into the oven. Also, I think mine are paler than usual (no idea why I'm assuming that, I've not seen so much as a photo of these cookies!) because my natural foods store was out of regular almond meal so I bought the super-fine almond flour made from blanched almonds. 

My directions I typed out for you below use a 1.5-inch/4 cm measure for the cookies, but I actually ended up doing a 1.125-inch/3 cm measure because that happens to be the width of my 18-inch metal kitchen ruler. I think that just makes life simpler, don't you?! The recipe makes a little over 11 dozen of that size, not sure how many of the larger. 

This is only my second German recipe on the blog--the first was Golumpkis. So I didn't know whether to call them cookies, as in the US, or biscuits, as in the UK; so I Googled it and came up with "kekse." 

If that is incorrect, do let me know. (Whenever I do a translation on the internet, I always worry that it's going to turn out to be something obscene!) And let me know if you've ever heard of this crunchy little cookie. I love your comments. Guten Appetit! 

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse - A Traditional German Cookie / www.delightfulrepast.com



Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse (Cookies or Biscuits) 


(Makes 11 dozen of the smaller size biscuits/cookies) 

2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground anise seed
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt
5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces/71 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5.25 ounces/149 grams) sugar
1 large (2.19 ounces/62 grams in shell) egg
3/4 packed cup + 2 tablespoons (3.5 ounces/100 grams) ground hazelnuts or almonds (nut flour/meal) or half of each (I used Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour)
A little water, only if needed (See Note below Step 2) 

* For gluten-free: use 3/4 cup sorghum flour, 3/4 cup potato starch, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum in place of flour. 

1 In small bowl, whisk together flour (or gluten-free ingredients above), baking powder, spices and salt. 

2 With electric mixer, cream butter well. Add sugar; continue creaming. Beat in egg until well mixed. Beat in almond and/or hazelnut meal, then beat in flour. If dough is too dry, mix in a little water just a teaspoon at a time. Scrape out onto piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, shape into a rectangle about 5x7 inches/13x18 cm, wrap and chill for about 30 minutes. 

Note: Even when the dough is "right," it won't be a cohesive dough without using your hand; so don't be too quick to add water. Squeeze it with your hand to see when it will hold together. My dough was quite dry, so I added water a tablespoon at a time, working the dough with my hand, and ultimately added 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup/2 fluid ounces/59 ml). The dough should be quite stiff and leave a clean bowl.

3 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. On very lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll dough into 1/8- to 3/16-inch/3 to 4 mm thick rectangle, about 10x18-inch/19x30 cm (trimmed; you will re-roll trimmings). Cut into 1.5-inch/4 cm wide strips, then cut across strips diagonally (the same 1.5-inch/4 cm spacing) to form diamonds (our eccentric friend called them "parallelograms"). With a small offset spatula, lift the cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about half an inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes; edges will be just barely starting to brown. 

Note: If the dough is too warm and you're having difficulty getting the diamonds onto the baking sheet, chill the whole thing for a few minutes. Leaving the cut dough on its parchment, place it on a baking sheet and pop it into the freezer for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. If desired, brush top of cookies with a "wash" of beaten egg yolk; I didn't. 

66 comments:

Tony Grant said...

Jean , your diamond shapes are parallelograms by the way. They could also be squares or rectangles too if the only requirement is that they are parallelograms.
Pumpernickel, I have just looked it up, is traditionally made with rye flour, which is dark, almost black in colour. And, if you are on this ,"eccentric," route, pumper, is German for flatulence!!! However, I am sure your ,"Hildeshmeir Pumpernickel Kekse), (you MUST find some Germans to try them out on) are, "wunderbar."

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, yes, all diamonds (shapes, not jewels) are parallelograms, but not all parallelograms are diamonds; and recipes need to be precise. I'm not sure what these are supposed to have in common with pumpernickel bread, but I don't think it has anything to do with fla ...! :D You're a hoot!

xinex said...

Ypur cookies look so yummy!...Christine

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Christine. They are entirely unlike any other cookie I've ever had!

deb @ frugal little bungalow said...

I have a German background but don't recall my grandmother making these ...interesting! I wonder if my great grands did! :)

They look wonderful :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Deb, they may be very specific to that region, the city or district of Hildesheim. And so probably not all German people are familiar with them.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

Jean - these look wonderful, and I'm always saying that the best part about being in Germany is the desert choice! I've never had these cookies, but I'm going to give it a try. And, like you, I am a big fan of eccentricity! Have a great weekend.

Joanne Young said...

I appreciate that along with the use of wheat flour, you are also giving the ratio and type of flours for gluten free.
Thanks, Jeannie!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, David! It's the eccentricities that make a person interesting, right?!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Joanne, I've used that combination and that amount of xanthan gum in other similar cookies, and it worked great, so I'm assuming ...

Kim said...

Eccentricity rules! This recipe looks rather delish. What a lovely blog you have!

Marilyn Lesniak said...

Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe on the #RecipeSharingParty! I hope to see you next week . Pinned and Yummed . Please visit #OverTheMoon on Sunday or #ThursdayFavoriteThings for more sharing fun! Do not forget to comment your link #s so I can be sure to visit and you get a chance to be featured!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kim! I hope you'll visit again (I *am* quite eccentric!). :D

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Marilyn, thank you so much for sharing my post, Pinning and Yumming and all!

Marilyn Lesniak said...

Thank you Jean for being such a great friend. Thank you so much for linking at #ThursdayFavoriteThings! I look forward to seeing what you share every week. pinned and tweeted!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

You're the best, Marilyn!

Brooks said...

Jean, the cookie shape is so attractive but no more so than the flavor profiles and the story behind the recipe. Thank you for sharing it. I want to be in the know...about going back for another!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

I am sorry to inform you, mein Frau, but, yes, your fear is born out…it is sort of obscene. I will merely paraphrase: a kekse is the south end of a cow in heat. Bwahaha! Well…it’s a cookie. I should like it, right? Notwithstanding that, for me, German food is generally like French food after the flames go out. Great culinary story, anyway. Sorry to be late to the table. Been that kind of day…

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Brooks, thank you. And I have to tell you, even our cat likes them! He got his paws on one and enjoyed it heartily! Wanted more, but I had to say No.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, too funny! Bwahaha. Glad you liked the story!

Angie Schneider said...

You see those a lot during the X'mas season over here, and very often with pumpernickel bread in them. Yours looks GREAT, Jean.

Pom Pom said...

They do sound wonderful. How funny that kitty likes them, too!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Angie, thank you! So glad to hear from someone in Germany who has actually seen these before!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Karen. You should have seen him! He snagged the cookie and had it in the middle of his mouth with one long half of it sticking out, gripping it firmly and looking furtive!

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

I have never tried a kekse, but I want to now! this is such a delightful, delicious and fun post! Including the comments:)
Thank you for sharing this with us at TOHOT!
Have a lovely weekend,
Jemma

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jemma, thank you so much! (I *do* have some wonderful commenters, don't I?!)

Bernideen said...

Dear Jean:
Thanks for sharing and linking these wonderful cookies and pass one over please!!!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Bernideen. I'm not one for dunking a biscuit in my tea, but if I were, this would be the one! Very crunchy.

Jeanie said...

I love the comment where you add that the recipe has to be precise. I have a feeling that might be my downfall! But oh, these look simply gorgeous and I can't begin to imagine how lovely the kitchen smells while they're baking!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Jeanie! Yes, I do love being precise! D Not always a good thing!

Laura said...

Jean- you always blow me away with your cooking and your fabulous recipes.
These look like shortbread to me.
I bet they are delicious!
Thank you for being at TOHOT.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Oh, Laura, thank you so much! They're not as buttery as shortbread and maybe a little crunchier. But, like shortbread, they go great with a cup of tea.

Spoonfuls of Germany said...

Having cooked my way through Germany's cuisines for many years I am thrilled to see there are still things to discover, I had never heard of this regional specialty so thanks a lot for this post! As a German native I can assure you that Kekse is a perfectly correct term for this type of dry cookie although cookies are also called Pl├Ątzchen. I have no idea why Hildesheimer Pumpernickel are called that way because they have nothing in common with the pumpernickel bread. In any event, they are now on my list to try.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you! I am so happy to hear from someone who is both a native German and an accomplished cook! The name "Pumpernickel" still confounds me. Perhaps they originally contained some rye flour? If you try them, please do let me know your thoughts.

Miz Helen said...

I love your cookie tin, some of my treasured cookie tins are my German cookie tins from the time we spent in Germany. Your Pumpernickle Cookies looks wonderful, oh to have only one, sigh a last.Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Miz Helen. This was actually a candy tin, but I'm not a candy fan, so I let others eat the candy, then I filled it with cookies!

Gerlinde in Washington said...

I am not familiar with this cookie, but I am looking forward to giving it a try. They look delicious!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Gerlinde, thank you! I love their crunchiness and subtle spice.

Margie said...

I visited Germany in 2008, but this is the first time that I've heard of these cookies. They look like they'd be perfect with a cup of tea!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Margie, you'll find that everything I make is meant to go well with a cup of tea! :D These cookies seem to be little known outside a small area of Germany.

Stacey said...

Jean, these sound like something that would be wonderful with afternoon coffee. They are pretty too.

Thank you so much for sharing this at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Pinning. :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Stacey! I'm always drinking tea, but I bet they *would* be great with a cup of coffee.

Swathi Iyer said...

Delicious Jean, I would love to try it, for myself. sure my kids will love it, thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop, pinning and tweeting.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

What a pretty picture your German cookies make, Jean! I know that I would love them, because of the spices. They sound perfect with a cup of tea. How sweet of Bill to send the recipe for you to try. Happy baking!

3 Little Buttons said...

These look really interesting, and not something that I have ever seen before. Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam - I wonder, are they specifically meant to be diamond shaped?

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Swathi, thank you so much! Your sharing my posts is much appreciated. I hope your kids will help you make the cookies!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kitty! Yes, Bill is a peach -- now I'll have to make a batch for him!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, 3LB! Yes, Bill told me they are always this shape. If I get some more details from his friend in Germany, I'll add them to this post.

racheld said...

Jean,

How delightful to have you drop in at LAWN TEA! We do love our Longmire---something about a truly honorable soul just calls to most of us, I think. And the words and descriptions in the books are absolutely stunning. Craig Johnson is a genius with a knack for creating the most appealing characters (and some of the most unlikable, as well). Ordinary people in an ordinary place raising the tone and the temper of their lives and others by doing what's RIGHT.

Thank you for the lovely visit---I hope you're come by again!

rachel

April J Harris said...

What a lovely combination of spices there are in these delightful cookies! I really enjoyed reading the story behind them - I love recipes with a history. Thank you for sharing this post with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop, Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Yes, Rachel, we *do* love our Longmire! I'm going to look into the books now. Thanks!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, April! "Recipes with a history" make me happy, too!

Audrey Humaciu said...

I love learning about new cookies from around the world. Thanks for sharing on Creative K Kids Tasty Tuesdays.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Audrey. And I love the sound of that: "cookies from around the world."

handmade by amalia said...

I'm always on the lookout for new cookie recipes and these look wonderful. I do like a cookie in a cookie tin. Thanks for sharing.
Amalia
xo

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Amalia, thank you. I hope you'll make them soon and put them in a lovely tin (I'll buy things I don't even want *just* for the nice tin!). :D

Ruth W said...

Always so fun to see and try something different! Not all cookies have the same flavor...these are intriguing! Thanks for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!
Ruth

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Ruth, thank you. I was intrigued as well! (Still haven't heard from my friend Bill.)

Bernideen said...

Jean:
Thanks for sharing your recipe. It looks delicious and would be fun for a German meal! Thanks for sharing and linking.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Bernideen. I gave a German-themed afternoon tea once, simply because I was using German china!

Daniela said...

I so love these German cookies, but I've never tried to make them at home, thank you dearest Jean for sharing the recipe, so very precious to me !

Enjoy the end of your week ahead, sending my dearest love to you, sweet friend,
with so much thankfulness

Xx ~ Dany

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Dany! It is so pleasant to sit down with a pot of tea and a plate of crunchy little biscuits to go with it while visiting lovely blogs like yours that make one feel as if one is on a little vacation.

janice15 said...

I'm going to try these I have part German in me but know nothing about the foods etc.. So this will be a start. They will be perfect for tea. Thank you for sharing the recipe and thank you for stopping by my blog. Have a great ebpvening and a wonderful 4th Weekend with love Janice

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Janice, do let me know how they turn out for you! Next time I'm going to add 1/2 teaspoon allspice and perhaps brush a little egg wash on them before baking.

Marilyn Lesniak said...

Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe at the #RecipeSharingParty! I hope to see you next week. Pinned and Yummed. Please visit #OverTheMoon on Sunday, #WonderfulWednesday or #ThursdayFavoriteThings for more sharing fun! Don't forget to Comment your link #'s so I can be sure to visit and you get a chance to be featured!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Marilyn!

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