Enjoy these German Christmas hazelnut cookies this holiday season – they are soft and slightly crumbly without being chewy and packed with a nutty flavor. Plus, this recipe uses just 7 ingredients, is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and ready in 25 minutes!
People associate several foods with Christmas, from specific mains to the sides and the desserts. For me, I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for German Christmas cookies like these hazelnut cookies. I’ve already recently posted my vegan, gluten-free cookie recipes for Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars) and Snickerdoodles (perfect for enjoying year-round). Still, you can never go overboard with different vegan cookies for the holidays!
Personally, Christmas is all about getting in the kitchen and baking wonderful, aromatic goodies for friends and family (if you don’t eat them all first, that is). These cookies should definitely be on your bake list this year.
Soft & Nutty German Christmas Cookies
As it is, there are several varieties of German hazelnut cookies. Nussmakronen (or, more specifically, Haselnussmakronen) are a type of hazelnut macaroons that are soft, chewy, and pillowy. Meanwhile, there are harder versions too, that are crumblier in texture and have more in common with traditional sugar cookies.
This recipe lies more towards the latter. These vegan cookies are soft in the middle, not too crisp, and not as airy as traditional macaroon-style cookies due to the omission of egg white in the recipe. I’d liken them most to the texture of vegan shortbread cookies, with a thumbprint cookie aesthetic.
Best of all, there are only two super-simple steps to making these cookies, and they’re ready in under 30 minutes! Perfect for whipping up at a moment’s notice whenever the cookie cravings arise! Plus, this recipe is gluten-free and can even be made into sugar-free cookies too!
Here are the ingredients that I used:
How To Make Hazelnut Cookies
Step One: Prepare the hazelnut cookie dough
- First, preheat the oven to 350F/175C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Then, if you’re using whole hazelnuts, process them in a food processor/blender into a coarse powder. Add the flour, powdered sugar (or Erythritol for sugar-free cookies), and baking powder to the processor. Process again for 20 seconds.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend into a soft dough.
Step Two: Form & bake the cookies
- Use a tablespoon or small ice-cream scoop to portion the dough and shape it into balls by hand. Place on the baking sheet, flatten slightly (but not much), and press a whole hazelnut into the middle of each cookie.
If you flatten the cookies more (so they’re less like thumbprint cookies and more like general cookies), then they’re likely to be crisper.
Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes. They’ll still be soft when first removed from the oven – allow them to cool completely before enjoying!
I often store them in the fridge, and they will become firmer.
For the full ingredients list, ingredient measurements, and nutritional information, read the recipe card below.
Store the hazelnut cookies in a cookie tin/another airtight container in a cool place for up to 2 weeks. They can also be stored in the fridge for about 3 weeks, though they will become firmer.
How to freeze: You can also make the cookie dough ahead and freeze it, wrapped in plastic wrap for up to one month. Alternatively, shape the cookies, freeze them on a baking tray then transfer them to a bag to take up less space in the freezer. Allow the cookies to thaw before baking.
Ingredient Subs & Variations
- Flour: I made these into gluten-free cookies by using rice flour, but you can use regular flour or spelt flour if you are not gluten-free. I do not recommend coconut flour in this recipe because it’s too absorbent.
- Sugar: I used powdered Erythritol for sugar-free cookies, but you can use icing sugar if you like. The cookies are less sweet with powdered Erythritol. The type of sugar you use will affect the cookies’ texture – powdered creates soft, tender cookies, whereas granulated will be crispier.
- Vegan butter: I used vegan margarine, but any vegan butter should work fine. Coconut oil (softened) should work sufficiently, as well.
- Baking time: If you flatten these cookies more, they will be done a few minutes earlier. I left mine quite chubby (similar to thumbprint cookies), and therefore, baked them for about 16 minutes.
- Orange: I love the flavor of fresh orange juice and zest. Alternatively, you could use lemon instead.
- You can make these cookies into hazelnut thumbprint cookies by making an indentation in the center before baking. Once cooled, add your favorite jam or vegan Nutella to the center of the cookie.
- Alternatively, you can optionally make a simple glaze for these hazelnut cookies with a mixture of orange juice (or lemon juice) and icing sugar (or powdered Xylitol). For more ‘adult’ vegan cookies, then use a splash of liquor with the icing sugar.
- There’s no need to chill this dough before placing it on the baking sheet, as the cookies naturally don’t spread much while baking.
More Vegan Christmas Recipes
If you enjoy these German cookies, you might like some of my other German-inspired bakes. I’ve included some of my favorite Christmas bakes below too!
- Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars)
- Vegan Snickerdoodles
- Vegan Gingerbread Cake
- Easy Apple Strudel with Puff Pastry
- Vegan Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel
- Vegan Fruit Cake with Chocolate
- Apple Crisp Without Oats
- Homemade Marzipan Recipe
If you try this vegan recipe for hazelnut cookies, I’d love a comment and recipe ★★★★★ rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan/ #elavegan – I love seeing your recreations.
And since I’m on such a baking spree at the moment. Let me know in the comments what other German Christmas cookies and bakes you’d like me to veganize! 🙂
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I recommend measuring the ingredients in grams on a kitchen scale for this recipe. Also, watch the video in the post for easy visual instructions.
- If using whole hazelnuts, process them in a food processor/blender into a coarse powder Then add flour, sugar, and baking powder. Blend again for about 20 seconds.
- Add vegan butter, orange juice, and vanilla extract and blend until you have a soft dough. If the dough is too dry, add a little more vegan butter.
- Use a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to portion the dough. Use your hands to shape the dough into balls and place them on the lined baking sheet. Flatten them slightly and press a whole hazelnut into the middle of each cookie.
- Bake the cookies in the oven for about 15-16 minutes. They will be still quite soft when you take them out. Let them cool completely and enjoy!
Video Of The Recipe
- Flour: I made the recipe gluten-free by using 80 grams of rice flour, but you can use regular flour or spelt flour. I do not recommend coconut flour in this recipe because it's too absorbing.
- Sugar: I used powdered Erythritol for sugar-free cookies, but you can use icing sugar if you like. The cookies are less sweet with powdered Erythritol.
- Vegan butter: I used vegan margarine but any vegan butter should work fine. Coconut oil (softened) should work fine as well.
- Baking time: If you flatten the cookies more, they will be done a few minutes earlier. I left mine quite chubby, and therefore, baked them for about 16 minutes.
- Check the step-by-step photos in the blog post above.
- Nutrition facts calculated with icing sugar. If using powdered Erythritol, 1 cookie will have about 76 calories and 5 grams of carbs.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically