Butter-S cookies are a Swabian specialty from the south of Germany. The Swabian treat is a true classic of the traditional Christmas cuisine. The delicious cookies are made from a fine shortbread dough flavored with lemon zest.
As simple as they appear, the Butter-S taste wonderful. Egg yolks and lots of butter give the pastries a irresistible flavor.
A Traditional Holiday Cookie in Swabia
Butter-S or Butter-Sle how they are called in Swabia have a long tradition but it is not known why they are shaped into a "S" shape. The reason is probably very simple as the "S" has a nice swing to it. But if you know the real reason, please let me know in the comments.
Butter is the key ingredient for these cookies. For this recipe you should really don´t use margarine or vegan butter.
The cookies are usually made with all-purpose flour but spelt flour works also well.
Hagelzucker in English called nip or pearl sugar is coarse white sugar that is used in European baking. You can find the coarse sugar in your local German or Russian shop and most of the times even at Ikea.
Alternatively, you can decorate the cookies with edible glitter or sprinkles instead of coarse sugar. They are also wonderful if you do not sprinkle them with sugar, but dip them half in chocolate.
Authentic Swabian Butter S Recipe
Following the old tradition, they are shaped individually by hand and rolled in coarse sugar. I have chosen the slightly less sweet version in this recipe and sprinkled the coarse sugar only on the cookies.
Butter-S German Christmas Cookie Speciality
- 1 stick butter
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ tbsp. lemon peel
- 1 egg white
- ½ cup coarse sugar Hagelzucker
- Add flour to the working space and form a well in the middle.
- Add sugar, egg yolks and lemon peel to the well.
- Knead the dough just until all ingredients combine. Make sure to don´t over-knead the dough.
- Cover and place into the fridge for about 1.5 hours.
- Roll the dough to a roll with about ½-inch diameter.
- Cut into 3-inch-long ropes and shape to an "S" and place onto a with parchment lined baking sheet.
- Whisk the egg white with a fork and then brush the cookies with it and sprinkle with nip/peal sugar.
- Bake at 350F in a pre-heated oven for about 10 min.