a little boy and a girl baking at a table
(c) Guenther Boeck

Christmas culinary delights

The aroma of Salzburger Lebkuchen, baked apples, Christmas biscuits and fruit cake will get you into the spirit of Christmas

Discerning biscuit makers will have already started baking their favourite Christmas biscuits at the beginning of November. Many of the recipes have been handed down through the generations and are traditionally put away in tins until the first Sunday of Advent. Only when the first candle is lit on the Advent wreath can the tin be opened and the biscuits shared out amongst friends and family, accompanied by a glass of punch, glühwein or hot chocolate while listening to Christmas carols in the background.

Traditional Christmas Biscuits

The typical Salzburger recipes for Christmas biscuits are usually easy to prepare. Recipes have been handed down from mother to daughter for generations and these tasty treats are not to be missed. These include Lebkuchen, a wonderfully soft gingerbread with almonds, and shortbread, which the little ones also help to bake. Family favourites include Vanillekipferl, small crunchy vanilla biscuits or Zimtsterne, cinnamon stars. Throughout the Advent season in SalzburgerLand there are numerous bakery workshops that you can join in and get into the spirit of Christmas.


Freshly Baked Apples and the best Pinzgauer Applewheels

The smell of freshly baked apples will get the taste buds watering. The taste of honey, nuts and warm juicy apples are a delight when the nights are long and the days short. The baked apple is a classic in SalzburgerLand and you will find this sweet delicacy at many a Christmas market. Not many ingredients are needed for this delicious recipe, which will fill your home with the aromas associated with Christmas markets. Also try out Johanna Rauchs recipe for the best Pinzgauer apple wheels – frequently served in her alpine hut in Bramberg in the Wildkogel-Arena.

She uses Pinzgauer Elstar apple. Read our recipe for a smoothdough (for six persons):

Cake flour and smooth flour every 15-20 days

4 eggs

1⁄4 litre of milk

1 packerl vanilla sugar

1/2 packerl baking powder

1 tbsp apple flour

1/8 l elderberry sect

All of this is mixed into a thick, liquid dough. Add the vanilla sugar and the baking powder and a pinch of salt. The peeled apple slices can then be immersed in the dough.

A reindl is half-filled with vegetable oil and heated at the stove. The fat has the perfect temperature when the apple wheel floats on top. all wheels are baked gold yellow. Then serve on a plate with powdered sugar.

Christmas Classic: Kletzenbrot

In addition to homemade Christmas biscuits, Kletzenbrot is another SalzburgerLand classic. Made from a recipe that has been used for centuries, it is somewhat like a fruit loaf. Filled with a soft juicy mixture of dried pears, raisins and nuts, it is covered by a crispy crust. Even today, the Kletzenbrot is still a traditional Christmas gift from godparent to godchild. Admittedly, it is a little complicated to prepare, so it is best to bake a few at a time. A fruity slice of Kletzenbrot is best served with Alpine butter!


Christmas is celebrated on December 24th in Austria and if you were to ask for a classic Christmas menu in SalzburgerLand, you might be surprised at what you receive. The main dish would more than likely be a strong beef broth with Frankfurter or Mettwurst (a special type of German sausage). This would be followed by a dessert called Bachlkoch, a very easy dish to prepare consisting of milk, flour, salt and butter and honey to sweeten. A filling dish, it is said that the people of the Pinzgau region say without “Bachl”, it just simply wouldn’t be Christmas!

Salzburger Lebkuchen

Just in time for Advent, we leafed through Grandma’s cookbook and discovered a recipe for wonderfully soft, fragrant and simply delicious Salzburger Lebkuchen (gingerbread). So, tie up your apron and head off into the kitchen.

Ingredients (for a tin):

  • 200 g walnuts
  • 100 g candied orange peel
  • 100 g raisins
  • 500 g rye flour
  • 300 g brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons gingerbread spice
  • lemon peel
  • 100 g runny honey
  • 4 eggs + 1 egg for coating
  • peeled almonds and glacé cherries to cover

Crush the nuts with the rolling pin. Mix all the dry ingredients together on a chopping board. Form a hollow in the middle, add the honey and eggs and knead until a smooth dough is formed. Roll it out to about 1 cm thick and place the dough on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Brush with the whisked egg, then cover with almonds and cherries. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 180°C. After it’s cooled down, cut into pieces and enjoy!

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