In the A to Z of German Christmas, S is for Schneebällchen, or little snowballs – but in this case, neither literal small balls of snow nor miniature festive cocktails. These snowballs are deep-fried, orange-sized balls of shortcrust pastry covered in sugar, chocolate and/or chopped nuts. Schneebällchen originated in Franconia and the north of Baden-Württemberg, but they’ve made their way out of those regions since and can be found piled high at Christmas market stalls in other parts of Germany, too.
S is also for…
Springerle: beautiful rectangular Christmas cookies printed with detailed designs that are created using a special engraved rolling pin. Springerle are made from a simple egg-sugar-flour dough and flavoured with crushed anise seeds, which are not incorporated into the dough itself but sprinkled onto the baking sheet so the cookies pick the seeds up underneath them.
Spekulatius: thin and crunchy spiced shortbread cookies popular not just in Germany but also Belgium and The Netherlands. Like Springerle (above), they usually have some kind of image or pattern stamped on their upper side.
Schwarz–Weiß–Gebäck (black and white cookies): advent cookies made with a plain dough and a separate cocoa-flavoured dough which are intertwined or juxtaposed to create a two-coloured advent treat.
Spritzgebäck: crisp, buttery cookies usually ridged from being piped onto a baking sheet, and often dipped in or drizzled with chocolate.