This traditional recipe for Bethmännchen marzipan cookies is one of the most famous German Christmas cookies. The outside is firm and crisp, the inside is chewy, and they're studded with three crunchy almonds. Gluten-free. You only need 6 ingredients and 20 minutes.
Bethmännchen marzipan cookies are a famous, traditional Christmas cookie recipe from Germany, specifically Frankfurt.
They might be a popular treat on the German Christmas markets, but you can easily enjoy them at home anywhere in the world.
In these delicious little cookies, the outside is firm and crisp, while the inside is chewy. They're always made studded with three crunchy almonds to give them the classic bethmannchen look.
The biscuits can be made with store-bought marzipan or you can easily make your own from scratch in just five minutes.
These German Christmas cookies have a long history and date back to 1838!
In Frankfurt Germany, the well off Bethmann family hired a French pastry chef who created this delicious marzipan cookie recipe.
They originally had 4 almonds on them in honor of the family’s four sons.
One of the sons passed away and now the cookies are made with 3 almonds.
Although history has changed a lot, these cookies have stood the test of time and are often found in family homes and Christmas markets.
Bethmannchen are one of the most popular European cookies for the holiday season and are easy to make from scratch.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
It has many different textures coming from the 3 different types of almonds: marzipan, ground almonds and whole almonds.
The cookies get lightly caramelised on the bottom, with an almondy, soft dense centre.
Bethmannchen are perfect to give as an edible holiday gift along with other homemade baked goods.
Perfect for a Christmas cookie exchange.
You can make your own Marzipan to keep it budget-friendly.
These German Christmas cookies bake up in just 10 minutes.
Marzipan: Marzipan is an almond confection that mixes almond meal with almond extract and sugar that’s used in cakes, cookies and candies.
Almond Meal: Aka ground almonds. This is blanched almonds that are turned into a flour. You can find this in most grocery stores or you can make your own.
Icing Sugar: This is used to sweeten up the cookies and also contributes to the texture.
Egg: Egg white will help bind the cookies together and the egg yolk will help the cookies shine when brushed on top.
Blanched Almonds: These are the crunchy bits of almond that go on top of the cookie for a festive look and texture.
Milk: This binds with the egg yolk to make the perfect glaze for the cookies.
How to make Bethmännchen
Wondering how to make this recipe? Follow this step by step photo tutorial, then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and method.
Preheat the oven to 320F / 160C and line two cookie sheets with baking parchment.
Crumble the marzipan into a bowl, and add the almond meal, icing sugar and egg white (save the yolk for brushing).
Mix together into a dough.
Roll heaped teaspoons of the dough into a ball.
Place the balls onto the baking sheet, then press 3 almonds, with the points facing up, into each one so it forms a rounded pyramid shape.
Lightly beat the egg yolk with the milk and brush each cookie.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Fully combine the ingredients in the dough so the cookies have an even texture.
If you don't have a food processor, crumble the marzipan well and mix it all together by hand so all the ingredients are evenly mixed.
Oven temperatures vary so it may take a few more minutes to bake your cookies. Keep checking until they become golden.
If you decide to make the cookies bigger than a teaspoon, make sure you account for that in the baking time by adding a few minutes more.
Bake on the center rack of the oven to prevent the almonds from browning.
Serve this Frankfurter Bethmännchen rezept on a plate of gingerbread men.
Bring to a brunch with these Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Chocolate Glaze.
Pair with this Kale Biscotti.
A perfect dessert to follow these Christmas Mince Pies.
Add some vanilla or orange extract for a fun twist of flavor.
Add a few drops of rose water.
Roll the cookie dough in granulated sugar before adding the almonds for a fun frosty texture.
Instead of almonds, try adding pecans or walnuts to the top of the cookie before baking.
Add in some holiday sprinkles or colored sugar.
To Make Gluten Free: The ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten free. If you are using store bought marzipan, be sure to check the label to see if there are any wheat additives.
To Make It Vegan: To make this cookie vegan, you’ll need to substitute the egg white in the dough for a flax egg. You’ll also need to replace the egg yolk with melted vegan butter to brush on top of the cookie.
Storing: Add your marzipan cookies to an airtight container with a lid and they will last for up to 2 weeks in the pantry or on your counter.
Freezing: Freeze your bethmannchen cookies in an airtight container or freezer safe bag in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Can I use almond paste in this recipe? Almond paste will not work in this recipe, so you’ll need to either make marzipan from scratch or purchase it at the store.
Is Marzipan from Germany? Although it’s said to have originated in Persia, marzipan is very popular in Germany. It is a staple in many cakes, cookies, pastries and candy.
Why do you blanch almonds? Blanching almonds removes the skin and gives them a smooth texture.
Is almond flour healthier than regular flour? This depends on the dietary needs of the person consuming it. Almond flour is not highly processed. It is generally higher in fat and nutrients overall.
More Christmas Cookie Recipes
I hope you love this bethmannchen recipe. Be sure to try these other Christmas cookie recipes too!
Italian Pignoli Cookies
Icelandic Pepper Cookies
Icelandic Christmas Meringue Cookies
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Iced Pumpkin Cookies
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Christmas Tree Cookies
Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
German Bethmännchen Marzipan Cookies
- 14 oz 400g marzipan
- 1 cup 100g ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1 cup 125g icing sugar sifted
- 1 egg separated
- ½ cup 75g whole peeled blanched almonds
- 1 tbsp milk
- Crumble the marzipan into a bowl, and add the almond meal, icing sugar and egg white (save the yolk for brushing).
- Mix together into a dough.
- Roll heaped teaspoons of the dough into a ball.
- Place the balls onto the baking sheet, then press 3 almonds, with the points facing up into each one so it forms a rounded pyramid shape. Lightly beat the egg yolk with the milk and brush each cookie.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.