These delicious thumbprint cookies are an absolute must for Christmas in Germany. Traditionally made with a shortcrust base that is filled with red currant jam, Engelsaugen or angel eyes, are soft and crunchy, buttery and fruity at the same time. In some parts of Germany, Engelsaugen are also called Husarenkrapfen, which translates into ‘hussars donuts’ or Kulleraugen, which means ‘saucer eyes.‘
Consisting of only a few ingredients, Engelsaugen or thumbprint cookies seem to have a lot in common with a similar cookie in Sweden. Known by the word ‘hallongrotta,’ which means ‘raspberry cave,’the cookies are believed to have originated in the 19th century. But is unclear where exactly and how especially in Germany, they have adopted so many different names. But no matter what the name is, these cookies will become an advent time favorite and will bring a little bit of German Christmas into your kitchen!
- 240 grams or 1 7/8 cups of flour
- 150 grams or 10 tablespoons of butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 70 grams or 14 tablespoons of powdered sugar
- 2 TL or teaspoons of vanilla sugar (see my Vanillekipferl post to see how to make your own)
- 1 pinch of salt
- zest of one organic lemon
- powdered sugar for dusting after baking
- jam or jelly to fill the cookies
- Place all the ingredients into the mixer with a hook/ kneading attachment and mix until a soft dough is formed (it might be a little crumbly but just continue to mix until dough is formed).
- Place the dough into the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide batter into small balls (about the size of a large marble or gum ball).
- Place finished balls onto the cookie sheet allowing some space between the cookies (about 2 inches).
- Taking the end of a wooden spoon which has been dipped into some flour, put a hole into each cookie. CAREFUL not to go all the way down to the bottom. The cookie still needs a bottom to hold the jam/jelly in place. (I wiggled the end of the wooden spoon left and right to make the hole a little wider).
- Give the jam/jelly a little stir with a spoon and place it into a piping bag or ziplock bag where the end has been cut off a little (I usually just use a espresso spoon and fill the cookies that way).
- Bake for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the cookies since they will burn very easily especially on the bottom. DO NOT allow to brown.
- Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar.