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One cookie recipe, lots of different looks. With this recipe, you’ve got it all!
Whether it’s spirals, a checkerboard or marble pattern, stripes, or other playful shapes and designs, these black and white cookies let you to get creative in the kitchen with just one recipe to worry about.
Plus, it‘s not as difficult as you might think to achieve the different looks – quite the contrary!
Rolling out the dough is always the first step, and then you can decide how you would like to cut and layer it, or roll it up to make a spiral-patterned snail shells.
Or – if you’re in the mood for a mix that’s a little messier – combine some chunks of light and dark dough for a nice marbled effect.
Because of their varied patterns, this recipe is ideal for making homemade gifts.
Not only do they look great if you arrange a few different styles together in sachets or boxes, their texture is not too crumbly, so they will keep their shape well.
Feel free to also vary your shaping when it comes to size. For smaller ones, like those pictured, bake them for 10-15 minutes. For bigger treats, add about 5 minutes to the baking time.
Bonus tip for an added twist:
Why not mix and match? Color portions of the light-colored vanilla dough (or even the whole thing) with a few drops of natural food coloring and prepare some red and dark chocolate-colored, or green and black Christmas-hued snails and checkerboards! These will look fantastic, too!
Don’t be afraid to chill or even freeze the dough, like I suggest in the recipe below. This step makes all the difference, as it is important for helping the cookies to maintain their pattern and shape during baking.
- 9 oz butter (or 2 1/4 sticks)
- 4 oz Powdered sugar sifted (or 1/2 cup)
- 9 oz flour (or 2 cups)
- 2 oz ground hazelnuts
- 1 oz cocoa powder
- 3 oz cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Beat butter with powdered sugar until fluffy. Gradually stir in the flour.
- Halve the dough (try to be exact - you may want to use a kitchen scale).
- Mix the nuts and cocoa into one half of the dough, and mix the cornstarch and vanilla extract into the other.
- Roll out the dough for the different patterns (see below) and chill in the fridge overnight (or for at least a couple of hours).
- Checkerboard pattern: Roll out (approx. 1/2 inch thick), cut both dough varieties into equal strips and layer them, then gently press together. Or, you can put the rolled dough pieces directly on top of each other and cut both at the same time.
- Swirly snail pattern: Roll out (approx. 1/4 inch thick), put the dough types on top of each other, and roll up firmly, then slice.
- After chilling, cut the cookies into checkerboard squares or swirly slices and bake for about 10-15 minutes at 180°C/350°F.
- It’s best to keep them in a sealed cookie jar.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prepare the Basic Dough
Using a stand mixer (preferred) or a hand mixer, beat the butter with the powdered sugar until fluffy. Gradually stir in the flour. Divide the dough into two equally-sized parts.
Step 2 – Make the Black and White Mixtures
For the dark dough, mix the nuts and cocoa into one half.
For the light variety, mix cornstarch and vanilla extract into the second half.
Add a little food coloring, if you like.
Step 3 – Roll It Out and Make Patterns
For stripes, roll out both varieties to about 1/2 an inch thick and layer them on top of each other.
For a checkerboard pattern, roll out both varieties to about 2/3 of an inch thick, cut into strips, and place on top of each other, alternating to achieve the right structure. Gently press together.
A spiral pattern can be achieved by rolling out the dough to 1/2 an inch thick, layering one on top of the other, and firmly rolling it together.
For a marbled pattern, simply mix some dark and light dough, form into a snake, and cut into slices.
Step 4 – Chill, Cut, and Bake
To keep their patterns that you so carefully made once they hit the oven, the cookies need to be chilled completely. Either put the dough into the fridge for a couple of hours (ideally overnight), or chill it in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
Next, slice into squares or rounds.
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350°F.
Leave to cool on a wire rack, and keep in a sealed cookie jar or tin to maintain their crispy texture.
Let the Creative Cookie Fun Begin
Whether you’re in a holiday baking mood or in need of some nice homemade gifts for the festive season, you’ve found the perfect recipe.
Produce some delicious, good-looking goodies in a variety of styles and shapes, with just one recipe!
Have you ever tried cookies like this before? Or do you have any other ideas for making fancy shapes and? What’s your favorite? Let us know your thoughts and ideas below!
And don’t forget to check out our other European Christmas cookie ideas!
For even more holiday baking fun, bake a batch from our tasty list of all of our cookie recipes:
Don’t forget to Pin It!
Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.
6 thoughts on “Black and White European Christmas Cookies”
These are so darn pretty, and look SO tasty, too! Love the classic style for the holidays!
Hello! Could you please help me? I followed the recipe and my cookies were so soft I had to keep adding flour. Then they were still too soft for rolling but I managed to get one layer on top of the other, except I added so much flour that the cookies came out tasteless. I used the cup measurements provided. Any suggestions?
Sorry to hear you had some trouble, Valeria. Rather than adding flour, try refrigerating the dough for about an hour before rolling to resolidify the butter, then refrigerate again before slicing and baking. Work in a cool space away from the hot stove if you can. A marble surface or rolling pin can also help to keep the dough cool and more solid when you work with it.
How many cookies does this recipe make? Starting with 2 sticks of butter? Anxious to try them. Thanks!!
Uh-oh! We apologize about our mistake, Nancy! With the amount of ingredients, I’m assuming the yield will be around 15-20 small cookies. However, I will need to personally test and update the recipe. As soon as I get a more accurate yield, I will let you know ASAP!
To create the different patterns, I suggest starting with the plan to make the swirled ones, use the layered offcuts to make a few checkerboard ones, and squish the remaining offcuts together to make the marbled ones. Very efficient, same result.