Of all the Alsace food you'll see at the Christmas markets, the bredele are probably the most popular...
You'll see the spiced wine, the cheeses, the sausages, and most definitely...
Alsatian Christmas cookies or Wihnachts Bredele.
But you don't have to go to a Christmas market or Weihnachts Markt...
You can also find these Christmas cookies in supermarkets, grocery stores, and bakeries starting around the beginning of December along with a lot of other Alsace food.
There are without exaggeration at least a hundred possible variations of Christmas cookies in Alsace...
So I won't even attempt to list them all here.
What I will do is list the main varieties of cookies and give you an idea of the possibilities with each main variety.
All bredele are made with flour, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, salt and regular sugar. Each cookie has its own distinct taste because of the other ingredients or the way they are made.
Albertbredele or Albertle
These Christmas cookies from Alsace are always in the shape of a circle.
And they are made with butter and vanilla sugar.
Anis Bredele or Petit Gateau à l'Anis
Anise has been around in Alsace for a long time...since 1586.
So you know they are going to have a cookie made with it.
And if you like the taste of licorice, you'll love these cookies.
Butter cookies in Alsace made of butter and vanilla usually with a sugar glaze on them are one of my favorite Alsace foods.
They are usually cut into forms like flowers, shooting stars, mushrooms, and so on...
Sometimes these cookies are decorated with colorful glazes and sprinkles.
You'll recognize hirschhoernli by their unusual shape...
"Hirsch" means deer and "hörnle" means antlers, but they really look like little curved crowns.
They're made with butter, chopped hazelnuts, and lemon zest.
And then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar...
Makrenle or Makronle
Makrenle are meringue cookies with something added in to give them a different texture.
That "something" could be chopped almonds, hazelnuts, chocolate, or coconut.
This Alsace food tastes a lot like Macaroons, but they can be made with nuts, chocolate or coconut.
Pain d'Epices or Labkuecha or Lebkueche
You could also call this Alsace food gingerbread without the ginger...
In Alsace they use it to make gingerbread houses decorated with candy...
But there isn't an ounce of ginger anywhere in the recipe.
These Alsatian cookies are made with honey, butter, cinnamon, and cloves.
And you can find them in the form of cookies or a loaf that you slice...
Rochers are wonderful little cookies with shredded chocolate, chopped nuts, butter, and vanilla sugar.
Sometimes they look like Makronle...
Rosine Bredele or Palets des Dames
Rosine bredele are made of butter, raisins, and kirsch brandy.
These Alsatian Christmas cookies look a lot like chocolate chip cookies, but with more of a kick!
Like the name suggests, these cookies are black and white.
These Alsatian cookies are made of vanilla and chocolate dough.
The two doughs are either stacked on top of each other or rolled together and then sliced into cookies, creating an interesting pattern.
Sometimes its a a swirl and sometimes it's a checkerboard...
Either way, you can't miss them.
"Schwowe" means Swabia in Alsatian which is another name for the region of Germany right next to Alsace.
So you could say that these cookies originally came from Swabia.
But it's also a good idea to remember that a long time ago, there was no border between Alsace and Swabia.
These Christmas cookies made with butter, vanilla, ground almonds, and ground hazelnuts
Or butter cookies with lots of ground nuts in them...
Usually they are cut into shapes like hearts, stars, and half moons with a light glaze on the top.
This Christmas cookie has a long history, but no one is sure exactly what it's supposed to mean...
But it's clearly something from the middle ages...
And you will recognize them right away with their unusual and intricate animal and human shapes.
Speculatius are made with butter, ground almonds, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and cardamom.
You'll notice these cookies right away.
They're the cookie sandwiches with strawberry or raspberry jam in them.
They're butter cookies with kirsch brandy in them and sometimes powdered sugar sprinkled on them too.
These Christmas cookies from Alsace come in a few different shapes and always a little cut out window so you can see the fruit jelly inside.
The name "spitzbuebe" means naughty boy...
And these are almost everyone's favorite Christmas cookies in Alsace.
You can't miss these cookies...
They're the ones with the little intricate designs on them.
It all came about in the 1400s from wood cutters with nothing to do in the winter.
They started creating these little wooden molds to make cookies that you could hang on a fir tree.
If you want to know more about Springerle, you can check out the Musée du Springerle in La Petite Pierre in northern Alsace.
These are another type of butter cookie in Alsace that can be made with or without almonds.
You will recognize them by their funny shape.
They usually are pressed out of a something that looks like a play dough fun factory or a cookie press.
Sometimes these Alsatian cookies are dipped in chocolate.
Zimt Sterne or les Etoiles à la Cannelle
These cinnamon stars are made with powdered almonds, vanilla sugar, lemon juice, kirsch brandy, and of course cinnamon.
They are always cut into star shapes...
And always topped with a white glaze made from meringue.