Hanseaten – German iced cookies

These German iced cookies are called Hanseaten. Not only are they beautiful to look at, with their red and white icing, but they also have an interesting history.

As Valentine’s day is quickly approaching, I thought it would be an appropriate time to introduce you to these cookies. Although in Germany we eat them all year round.

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What are Hanseaten Cookies?

Hanseaten is North-German cookies that consisted of two shortbread biscuits sandwiched between a thin layer of either raspberry or strawberry jam. The top cookie is iced with a red and white glaze. The shape is either round or heart-shaped.

This cookie was invented in Lübeck by the pastry maker Heinrich Schabbel at the end of the 19th century. The name “Hanseat” is honoring the hometown of Heinrich Schabbel, “Lübeck”. It is one of the three Hanseatic towns in Germany. [source: Wikipedia: Hanseaten Gebäck]

The flag of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck

The pattern of the icing is reflecting the colors and pattern of the Hanseatic flag – red and white.

You will find these cookies in bakeries around Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen.

What were Hanseaten?

The term “Hanseat” refers to a member of the upper class of one of the three Hanseatic towns: Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck. Their rank was often equal to that of nobility in other European countries and would consist of the likes of mayors, senators, and senior pastors.

How to pronounce

As an English Speaker, you pronounce Hanseaten as HAN-SEA-AH-TEN.

German Heart cookies iced in red and white.  With Jam.

How to make them

Equipment

  • cookie cutters (heart-shaped or round)
  • baking parchment
  • non-stick silicion baking mat (optional)
  • icing bags

Ingedients:

  • 250 g flour Germany Type 405, UK plain flour, USA pastry flour
  • 200 g butter cold, diced
  • 2 egg yolks from medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 75 g icing sugar/ confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (can be substituted with 1 teaspoon vanilla flavour)

To decorate

  • ½ jar raspberry jam
  • 250 g icing sugar/ confectioners sugar
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Food coloring

Recipe Steps

Making the cookies

icing sugar being sifted into flour.  egg yolks in flour.  butter in flour.
  1. Place the flour on a non-stick baking mat. Sieve the icing/confectioners sugar on the flour. Add the vanilla sugar.
  2. Add the butter and egg yolks, and knead the mixture to a smooth dough.
  3. Wrap the dough in clingfilm. Place in the fridge and leave to rest for approx 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 356°F top to bottom heat. Line a baking tray with parchment.
cookie dough, and cookie dough rolled out.
  1. Dust your work surface with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to approx 3 mm thickness. As the dough can be sticky use the cling film, you used to wrap the dough in by place it over the dough. This will prevent it sticking to the rolling pin.
  2. Cut out heart, or round shapes with a cookie cutter. Place them on the prepared baking tray.
  3. Bake for approx 12 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven and leave to cool down.

Icing the cookies

  1. In the meantime mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice to a thick paste. If it gets too liquidy, add more icing sugar. If it get’s too dry you can add a little bit more lemon juice.
a bowl of blue and white icing and a cookie with half of the heart iced pink.
  1. Divide the icing into two portions. In one, place a couple of drops of red food coloring and mix.
  2. Divide the cookies in two piles. One will be for the tops, one for the bottoms. To decorate the cookies, I found it easier to first decorate the tops, then wait for them to dry before sandwiching them with another cookie.
  3. You can either pour the icing, in an icing bag each. This will give you a more precise result. Alternativley you can spread the icing with a spoon and a knife. Cover one half in white icing and the other in red icing. Leave to set.
  4. Place a tiny scoop of jam on the bottom cookie. Make sure the sides are not covered, as otherwise they might squeeze the jam out of the sides when you place the top cookie on top.
  5. Add the top cookie onto the bottom. And they are ready to serve.

Storage Instructions

Store the cookies in an airtight container. They should last 2 weeks. This way they will stay moist, soft and crumbly. You can store them for even longer if you leave the assembly for when you want to serve them.

Iced Sugar cookies with jam.

Recipe

German Heart cookies iced in red and white.  With Jam.

Hanseaten- German Ice Biscuit

Marita

Prep Time 12 mins

Cook Time 12 mins

Resting Time and Decorating 1 hr

Course Dessert

Cuisine German

Servings 20 cookies

Calories 188 kcal

Ingredients

For the biscuits

  • 250 g flour Germany Type 405, UK plain flour, USA pastry flour
  • 200 g butter cold diced
  • 2 egg yolks from medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 75 g icing sugar/confectioners sugar
  • 2 test vanilla sugar can be substituted with 1 teaspoon vanilla flavor

To decorate

  • ½ jar raspberry jam
  • lemon juice of 1 whole lemon
  • 250 g icing sugar/confectioners sugar
  • Red food coloring

Instructions

  • Place the flour on a non-stick baking mat. Sieve the icing/confectioners sugar on the flour. Add the vanilla sugar.

  • Add the butter and egg yolks, and knead the mixture to a smooth dough.

  • Wrap the dough in clingfilm. Place in the fridge and leave to rest for approx 30 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C or 356°F top to bottom heat. Line a baking tray with parchment.

  • Dust your work surface with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to approx 3 mm thickness. As the dough can be sticky use the cling film, you use to wrap the dough in. Place it over the dough, this will prevent it sticking to the rolling pin.

  • Cut our heart, or round shapes with a cookie cutter. Place them on the prepared baking tray.

  • Bake for approx 12 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven and leave to cool down.

Icing the cookies

  • In the meantime mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice to a thick paste. If it gets too liquidy, add more icing sugar. If it get’s too dry you can add a little bit more lemon juice.

  • Divide the icing into two portions. In one, place a couple of drops of red food coloring and mix.

  • Divide the cookies in two piles. One will be for the tops, one for the bottoms. To decorate the cookies, I found it easier to first decorate the tops, then wait for them to dry before sandwiching them with another cookie.

  • You can either pour the icing, in an icing bag each. This will give you a more precise result. Alternativley you can spread the icing with a spoon and a knife. Cover one half in white icing and the other in red icing. Leave to set.

  • Place a tiny scoop of jam on the bottom cookie. Make sure the sides are not covered, as otherwise they might squeeze the jam out of the sides when you place the top cookie on top.

  • Add the top cookie onto the bottom. And they are ready to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonnounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 73mgPotassium: 18mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 276IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg

Keyword German iced biscuits, hanseaten biscuits, hanseaten cookies

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