German black and white cookies called "Amerikaner" in German are often served at celebrations like Carnival, New Year's Eve or Easter.
Nobody really knows for sure why these German cookies are called Americans, but one story is that these traditional German dome shaped cookies were first introduced in New York by a Bavarian immigrant baker. A different version says that the Germans changed the name of the cookie from Ammonia to Amerikaner because in the 50ties the GIs loved this German pastry so much during World War II brought it back with them to America.
Amerikaner are traditionally decorated half with a sugar glaze and half with a dark chocolate glaze. In some German bakeries you can find them with just white sugar or dark chocolate glazes.
For this recipe I played with creativity and decorated the Amerikaner with a lemon glaze, cute little candy eggs and sprinkle. This is a fun Easter activity for children and adults. You can use all kinds of Easter decorations or even paint a bunny face on the cookies with food color.
How are Cookies called in German?
Cookies are called "Kekse" or "Plätzchen" in Germany.
How to pronounce "Kekse"?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Kekse" in German.
How to make German Easter Amerikaner Cookies Video Tutorial
Amerikaner cookies should be stored in a cool, dry place - especially with icing. I like to place mine into an airtight container with a lid. Place a piece of paper kitchen towel on the bottom of the container and then place the cookies into the container. The kitchen towel will absorb moisture.
Unfortunately homemade Amerikaner don´t last very long as they can get a bit dry very fast. They are best, if you eat them within 1-3 days after baking.
I would not recommend freezing, but if you need to freeze them without icing and allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight before decorating them.
Easter Mini Amerikaner
- 14 tbsp. butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 3.4 oz. instant vanilla pudding (1 small box)
- 4 tbsp. milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp. water
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- Easter sugar decorations optional
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Add butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract to a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
- Gradually mix in the eggs and beat for about 5 – 10 min.
- In the meantime, blend vanilla pudding mix, flour and baking powder in a bowl.
- Gradually add the flour mixture and the milk to the dough.
- With two table spoons or a cookie scoop place batter on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Flatten slightly with a wet spoon.
- Bake for about 15 min. on 375 F.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Mix powdered sugar, water and lemon juice and glaze the cookies on the flat side.
- Decorate with Easter sugar decorations.