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Heidesand – German Shortbread with Browned Butter

Heidesand Recipe

Heidesand is a kind of German shortbread, made with browned butter and that is what gives it its unique and wonderful taste!

Usually, I prefer cookies with royal icing or with chocolate or anything else interesting. Bare cookies are not so much my thing with this exception: Heidesand cookies! They have a distinguished taste that beats every other cookie. The browned butter in this recipe adds so much interest and flavor, I believe it is very special and just tastes as Fall feels.

German Cookies for Christmas

I believe these cookies are mostly a recipe from the north of Germany. Especially in an area called “Friesland” we enjoy a good cup of tea with these cookies in the afternoon. Some rock candy in the tea and a bit of rum (to fight the cold weather, of cause) and everyone is happy.

Christmas Cookies Germany

Friesland is the area at the coast in the north-west of Germany where the harsh weather of the Northern Sea brings a lot of winds and rain or even storms. I love that area for its wild landscape and the people who barely speak a word but are fun once they open their mouth to say something. I believe there is some British influence to that. They also speak in a different dialect which has a lot in common with English and Dutch.

Heidesand Cookies Recipe

How to bake it

In the video, I show you every step of the way and I want to make sure you are sticking to the thickness of the cookies. They really should be that thick, like a little over 1/4 inch or 1 cm. If you make them too thin, they will not taste as supposed.

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Heidesand Cookies - traditional German Christmas cookies
Heidesand Cookies Recipe


4.92 from 12 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 30 cookies



  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and let it cook on medium temperature until it browned. Don't mind some black dot's in it.
  • Remove the butter from the heat and let it cool: First at room temperature, then in the fridge until it is solid/creamy again.
  • Put the cooled butter into a bowl and mix it until it is creamy and fluffy. Takes about ½ minute.
  • Mix the flour with the baking powder.
  • Slowly add the sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, milk and flour while mixing
  • Mix it well but not too long.
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and continue kneading with your hands.
  • Shape two long strings from the dough, each with a diameter of about 2 inches or 5 cm.
  • Let these strings rest in the refrigerator until they have hardened (30+ minutes).
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  • Now line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet.
  • Cut the dough strings into slices or ¼ inch or 1 cm and place each slice onto the baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes – more or less time needed, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven when they are almost but not yet completely done.
  • Let the cookies cook a little on the baking sheet before you remove them.
  • Eat them right away or store them airtight.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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8 thoughts on “Heidesand – German Shortbread with Browned Butter”

  1. Birgit Stiglitz

    5 stars
    Perfect recipe. Lost mine, but it all came back. Love that it makes a batch for plenty of grandkids.

  2. 5 stars
    These sound so good. Just so you know the term you are looking for is to roll them into logs, not sticks. I understand that English isn’t your first language ?. You have done remarkably well in your videos! Tschüß!

  3. Ashleigh Hensch

    5 stars
    They turned out wonderful! I live in the U.S., but used a scale to get the grams correct and everything turned out perfect (I’m even using gluten-free bread flour). Also, I noticed the recipe/blog/article mentions a video, but I don’t see one on the page…

  4. Hello Barbara, can you use margarine instead of butter in your cookie recipes? Also tomorrow I am going to make your cucumber stew. Thanks, Susan

    1. Hi Susan,
      Yes, you can use margarine instead of butter.
      I hope you like the cucumber stew, it is really one of my favorite dishes.


  5. These sound really nice, as shortbread is one of my favourite biscuits normally, I will be very interested to taste this variation :D

    Cheers from Australia.

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4.92 from 12 votes (9 ratings without comment)
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