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German Spice Cookies
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time48 mins
Author: Tricia


For the cookies:

  • 6 ounces unblanched hazelnuts, toasted and cooled
  • 6 ounces unblanched almonds, toasted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange zest, about 3 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemons zest, about 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

    This makes enough to glaze half the cookies. Double for entire batch

    • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
    • 1/8 cup plus 1 teaspoon milk

    For the chocolate glaze:

      This makes enough to glaze half the cookies. Double for entire batch

      • 1/8 cup water
      • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
      • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
      • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips


      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
      • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the toasted nuts, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Process until it resembles a fine meal. Add the orange and lemon zest and continue to process until well combined.
      • In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until blended. Add the flour and cocoa mixture and blend on low until incorporated. Add the spices and nut mixture and blend another minute until blended. Using a 2-tablespoon size ice cream soup, place mounds of dough on the parchment line baking sheets, making sure they are about 1 1/2 inches apart. I was able to put 7 or 8 on each sheet.
      • Bake the cookies until the edges are firm and the middle just starts to crack, about 18 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the pans and switch them around. Allow the cookies to remain on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes to cool, then transfer to a cooling rack. Either allow the pans to cool before placing the remaining dough on the cookie sheet, or remove the parchment paper to the counter top, portion out the remaining dough, then carefully slide the raw cookies onto the baking sheets. If the dough sits on a warm pan they will spread and become thin. It is best to bake any cookie on a cooled sheet or parchment.
      • Cool completely before glazing.
      • Glaze: combine the confectioners' sugar and milk. Brush on the cooled cookies, top with a sliced almond if desired, and brush on a little more glaze on top of the almonds. Allow to set at room temperature until the glaze is set.
      • Chocolate Glaze: Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Heat on high stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is dissolved. Brush on the cooled cookies.