02 July 2020

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse Revisited - A Traditional German Cookie

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

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Cookies came to my attention four years ago when our friend Bill, who may well be our most uncookingest friend ever, sent me the recipe, which he got from a friend of his from Hildesheim, Germany, who sends him a batch every year at the holidays.

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. 

Though Bill has never made either Brigitte's recipe or my translation of it, or even tasted mine, he knew from my photo that something was off. Mine were pale, tiny diamonds. He said his cookies were darker, larger and, rather than perfect diamonds, parallelograms. Go ahead, I'll pause while you look that up!


Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse - A Traditional German Cookie (this photo is of the "not quite right" version / www.delightfulrepast.com


So four years later Bill sent me a link to an in-German recipe with photos. Just as I suspected, the paleness of my cookies resulted from using a smaller amount of the dark spices and skipping the egg wash. Also, perhaps, because my almond flour is made from blanched almonds.

So this is my Hildesheimer Pumpernickel do-over, though I still stand by the quality of my first less authentic version!

This was 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." 

Have you ever even heard of this cookie? I'm sure you'd like it. Guten Appetit! Or, as Bill signed his last missive, Semper Famelicus!


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


(Makes about 4 to 5 dozen ) 

2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed anise seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces/71 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5.25 ounces/149 grams) sugar
2 large (2.19 ounces/62 grams in shell) eggs, divided
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 In a large mixing bowl, with either a wooden spoon or electric mixer, cream butter well. Add sugar; continue creaming. Beat in 1 whole egg and 1 egg white (reserving the yolk for the egg wash) until well mixed. Beat in almond and/or hazelnut meal, then beat in flour. If dough is too dry, mix in a little water (see Note below) 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 an hour. 

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 a bit dry, so I added just a teaspoon of water, working the dough with my hand, getting up all the dry bits. The dough should be quite stiff and leave a clean bowl. 

3 When the dough has chilled for an hour, 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 11x16-inch/28x41 cm (trimmed; you can reroll the trimmings or leave them in place to bake rough "cook's treats"). Cut lengthwise into 9 or 10 strips 1.125- to 1.25-inch strips (but don't get too fussy about the measurement since these aren't going to be perfect little diamonds!), then cut across strips diagonally to form parallelograms 2.5 inches long. Slide the sheet of cut dough onto an 18x13-inch half sheet pan.

Note: I just made the strips 1.125-inch wide because that happens to be the width of my 18-inch metal kitchen ruler. I think that just makes life simpler, don't you?!

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


Note: I love my OXO Good Grips Pizza Wheel for Nonstick Pans for tasks like this. It doesn't cut through the parchment paper and doesn't mar countertops or pans.

4 Beat the reserved egg yolk with a teaspoon of water. Brush the top of the cut dough. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. While still warm, cut again, if necessary. Cool completely on wire rack.

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Jean

44 comments:

Angie's Recipes said...

I have never seen those pumpernickel cookies here..they look very much like X'mas cookies though. I love all the wonderful spices!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Angie. Yes, I'm told they are usually made for the holidays. But why wait, right?

TONY said...

I must look into this more, Jean. I may have told you my son, Sam, lives in Berlin. He married Sophie, a German, and they have our first grandchild, Emma. Emma is 14 months old, she is walking evrywhere and beginning to say her first words. We were facetiming Emma two days ago and Emma announced that it was ,"heiB." which is pronounced ,"hise," meaning hot. Your pumpernickel kekse are definitely ,"heiB." We should be in Berlin in September, fingers crossed. We will vist Sophies Mum and Dad . I am sure we will be eating lots of German delicacies. Maybe, Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse too.

Tamago said...

I’ve never heard of this German cookie or kekse but it looks delicious! I would enjoy both authentic and less authentic versions :-)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tony. And I do hope you'll be able to make the trip in September. You grandparents must be aching to see Emma in action!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Tamago. And since you are such a cat person, you'll appreciate my cat story. When I had that little yellow square plate of the diamond cookies on the table, ready to be photographed, our cat walked up and snagged one, just one, off the side closest to the edge of the table and took into the corner, which he defended vigorously, to eat. He didn't even disturb any of the others. I'm sure your boys would never misbehave like that!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Guten Appetit, indeed! My adventurous life is balanced by my non-adventurous diet, I suppose, but “kekse” looks and sounds like it’s in my side of the forest (Black Forest). Almonds have never betrayed me…

Phil in the Kitchen said...

These do sound very inviting. The sort of biscuit/cookie that welcomes you home. Many, many years ago I had a German friend who made a number of different traditional biscuits and cakes and I always intended to investigate that type of treat in more detail. To my shame, I haven't.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I never heard of this cookie, Jean, but I’m sure that I’d love them as I love spicy cookies. I’ll get that they’re wonderful with a cup of tea.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Sully. I've never met an almond I didn't like!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, I think you do a fair amount of investigative baking! A few of my favourites are things I would never have heard of if you hadn't tried them first.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kitty. Yes, perfect with a cup of tea. Would I have made them if they weren't?! :D

ellen b. said...

The name is quite a mouthful. Sounds like something good to enjoy with a cuppa!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Ellen. Yes, it is--a mouthful of a name AND good with a cuppa!

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

My family in Germany lives near Hildesheim but I never had these cookies so I googled them and you made an authentic one. The cookie was invented in 1733 by a bakery in Hildesheim.
Nach einem Rezept aus dem Jahr 1733 enthalten Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Mandeln, Mehl, Zucker, Butter, Zimt und Ei.[3]
( after a recipe from the year1733 contain Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Cookies almonds, flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon and an egg)
I hope this helps, I will ask my German girlfriend if she knows these cookies.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

I have never had this, but I love German baked goods. I honestly think they are among the best in the world! Happy to say that I have all the ingredients on hand (even in quarantine) and might actually be able to convince Mark I could use some flour to make these. Whether light like yours, or dark like theirs, the combination of flavors sounds incredible! Thanks, Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Gerlinde, thank you so much for looking up that info and sharing it with me. Glad to hear my very limited culinary German vocabulary turned out an "authentic" version!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

David, I hope you'll get to try them soon. Surely Mark can spare this small amount of the precious flour supply! :D

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

I have never heard of these cookies, maybe my daughter has as she lived in Germany at one time. Sounds tasty! Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 14, open until July 26. All party entries shared if social media buttons installed.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Dee! It is a tasty cookie. And, depending on how thickly you roll the dough, it can be crunchy or soft, whatever you prefer.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

They look and sound delicious! I'm really curious though about why "pumpernickel" . . . they are nothing like the dark, dense, pumpernickel bread my German grandfather loved so much, except for maybe their shape.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Sara. And I have not been able to discover where 'pumpernickel' comes into it! Makes no sense to me.

Jeanie said...

The ingredients sound very good together and they look very pretty. I don't get the pumpernickel, though!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Jeanie. I don't get the pumpernickel either! I hope someone can tell us!

April J Harris said...

I am a huge an of eccentricity too, Jean! Your traditional German cookies look wonderful in both versions, and the flavours are right up my street. I'm struggling to get anise seed here at the moment. I'm looking for it for a recipe my late Mom and I used to make together, but now I've got this recipe as well, my desire to find it is even more keen! Thank you for your support of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Take care and have a lovely week.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

April, thank you so much! I always enjoy visiting links at Hearth and Soul. Hope you find the anise seed soon. I'm almost starting to enjoy the hunt for items that are hard to find just now!

The Liberty Belle said...

I really like spiced cookies and I'm certain that yours were delicious. Thank you for sharing.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, TLB. I think they go great with tea!

Kitchen Riffs said...

No, I haven't heard of these. They sounds delightful -- such an interesting flavor. Thanks for the introduction!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, KR. They really are delightful. I'm so glad my friend introduced them to me.

Chef Mimi said...

I'm not much of a cookie eater (or baker) but if I were to eat a cookie, it would be of German origin. These look really good!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

I love a spicy cookie and whether they are perfect diamond shapes or parallelograms, I imagine they are quite tasty. I had to laugh at "parallelograms" because my son is a math professor and I have spent years listening to him talk in mathematical- geometrical terms; some of which much of the average world has never heard of. And I know he would love your cookies! Thank you for sharing these with us.

Margie said...

This is the first time I've heard of these German cookies. I hope that your friend will still get his batch of cookies this year!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Chef Mimi, thank you! (Cute comment!)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Margie. I hope so, too, because he can't count on me! I mean, I'd make them, but somebody else would have to pack them up and then take them to the post office to mail them.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

That's so funny, Sandi. I know what you mean. My husband is a math guy, and it all kind of goes over my head.

DUTA said...

The german traditional cookies look good, and I'm sure taste delicious!
I appreciate traditional food items that go from generation to generation, and don't lose their 'yumminess'. They stay 'classic'.

Victoria Zigler said...

I'm glad you found a version of them you're happy with.

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

Jean, they do look delicious. I've given up most carbs for the time being (and lost 4 sizes), but if I ever get a craving for something sweet I just might give this recipe a try!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

DUTA, thank you. It's such fun to me to carry on my own family's food traditions AND that of my friends. I think of my "honorary" German grandma every time I make her golumpkis!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Victoria. Of course, the first version was good; but it was not the same as my friend had gotten from his friend in Germany. Was so glad to get that sorted out!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, S! And good for you! I'm still limiting my sugar intake from all sources to never more than 6 teaspoons in a day; will ever stop. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!

Irene said...

When I read "Pumpernickel" on the title, I was expecting dark, whole rye flour being called for. Do you know why they got that name? They sure sound delicious in any case!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Irene. I know, I was expecting dark rye flour, too! I have no idea why the rye-free cookies are called pumpernickel.

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