German Mandelhörnchen (Baking Around the World #2)

🎄☃️✨ Welcome to Day 11 of Blogmas At Home! It’s 14 days until Christmas and I’m in love, I’m in love (with these mandelhörnchen) and I don’t care who knows it! ✨☃️🎄

And welcome to the second instalment in my new Baking Around the World series! This time, we’re heading to Germany for another festive cookie recipe.

Mandelhörnchen have become somewhat of a fixation of mine since I first learned about them last year. I can’t even remember how I came across them, but I was obsessed with making them. Unfortunately, no matter what recipe I tried, I just couldn’t get my cookies to look like the ones pictured- the majority turned out flat and crispy (not the vibe). Some recipes called for shop-bought marzipan, some called for homemade almond paste- I tried them all. I was confused and, after several unsuccessful and frustrating attempts, I rage quit my mandelhörnchen quest and gave up on my almond dreams.

But! The story does not end there! Though I had given up on my mandelhörnchen dreams, they stayed with me. I could not forget them. So, when I bought myself a new Christmas cookbook full of German recipes (Advent by Anja Dunk), I allowed myself to hope. In fact, one of the first photos that comes up in the reviews of the book on Amazon is of some homemade mandelhörnchen! My hope grew (3 sizes, just like the Grinch’s heart). As soon as I got the book (and read it cover to cover, obviously), I tried the mandelhörnchen recipe. They worked! They used shop-bought marzipan! They were magnificent!

I did make some small adjustments to the recipe (just to the chocolate/bake time/overall quantity of cookies, so I’m hoping the cookies are still authentic?), but, like with my last Baking Around the World post, the idea/recipe for these cookies is not original to me at all- I’m just trying them out to widen my baking horizons and sharing the process with you! You can read more about my disclaimers for this series on that last post.

Table of Contents

Mandelhörnchen: Explained

Mandelhörnchen (‘Almond Horns’ in German), are known by a variety of names in English- in my research, I’ve come across them referred to as ‘almond and marzipan crescents’, ‘chocolate-dipped almond horns’ and ‘almond paste cookies’, to name a few. They are essentially a chewy, flourless almond cookie, bent into a crescent/horn shape, rolled in flaked almonds and once baked, the ends are dipped in dark chocolate. I mean… yes please. Mandelhörnchen are a year-round treat in Germany, but are particular favourites at Christmastime.


  • Marzipan

Traditionally, mandelhörnchen recipes use marzipanrohmasse– an almond paste that is slightly different to the typical marzipan you would find in the store. It’s not easily accessible here in the UK though, so I was delighted that Dunk’s recipe was specially-formulated for the use of marzipan instead. I used shop-bought white marzipan (though apparently golden marzipan gives a nicer colour- I’ll have to give it a try!) and it worked perfectly. This makes baking these mandelhörnchen SO much quicker and easier.

  • Ground almonds

There is no flour in this recipe, just ground almonds- which makes the cookies naturally gluten-free!

  • Icing sugar

Unlike the pizzicotti from the last post, which used caster sugar, these mandelhörnchen use icing sugar, which makes for a softer, smoother and stickier (but that is unfortunately necessary) dough.

  • Egg whites

You don’t need the yolks, so you can save them for another recipe.

  • Flaked almonds

You roll each cookie ‘log’ in flaked almonds before baking, which makes the cookies extra tasty and extra pretty.

  • Dark chocolate

For dipping the ends of the horns in. The original recipe uses coconut oil to thin out the chocolate and make this easier, but I prefer the taste of the chocolate by itself. Dipping the horns is customary, but you can leave them plain to make this recipe even quicker and easier, if you prefer.

Many mandelhörnchen recipes also include almond extract, but Dunk’s does not- honestly, I didn’t even miss it! The ground almonds in the dough and flaked almonds on the outside of each cookie make these so deliciously almond-y, as Dunk says, there’s really no need for the extract.

Making Mandelhörnchen

First up, you need to preheat your oven to 150°C. This is a lower temperature than most cookies, but it’s perfect for obtaining mandelhörnchen that are perfectly chewy and just slightly golden. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper, then spread the flaked almonds out into an even layer on a plate and set everything aside until later.

Next, grate the marzipan. I know, I know- grating marzipan sounds weird, right? Don’t skip it though- it really helps to incorporate the marzipan into the dough, and it’s actually pretty easy- marzipan is soft (but not so soft that it can’t be grated!), so it won’t take long at all.

Place your grated marzipan into a large bowl, along with the ground almonds, icing sugar and egg whites. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together.

Once the mixture has started to come together, switch to your hands and bring the dough together into a smooth ball. The dough will be super sticky, but this is a necessary evil- it needs to be sticky so that the flaked almonds stick to it later. I found that the best way to deal with this was to rinse my hands off in cold water after shaping each cookie and only partially dry them, so they are still a little damp. Not only does this remove any sticky almond build-up on your palms, but having damp hands helps to keep the dough from sticking to you as much in the first place.

Now, you’re ready to shape your mandelhörnchen! Start by pinching off a walnut-sized piece of the dough (it should be about 25g- I like to weigh cookie dough so that all my cookies are the same size and bake evenly). Roll the dough into a smooth ball between your hands.

Once you have a smooth dough ball, open up your palms and continue rolling it between your hands to form a log- you want it to be about 9cm long.

Roll the log in the flaked almonds, until it is fully covered. Bend the coated log into a crescent (or ‘c’) shape, then place it onto one of the prepared baking trays. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Once you have all of your cookies rolled and shaped, you can bake them in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until just golden. Allow them to cool on the baking trays for a minute or so, to firm up, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies are cool, you can dip them in chocolate. I like to melt the chocolate in the microwave (1 minute bursts on the lowest setting, stirring in between each one until the chocolate has completely melted), but you could do it over a bain-marie if you prefer. I didn’t bother tempering the chocolate either, which made this even quicker (and the cookies still looked and tasted delicious!).

Once the chocolate is melted, dip the ends of the cookies into it, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl, then place the dipped cookies onto a tray lined with baking paper. Leave them at room temperature to set for about 1 hour, until hard.

As you use up the chocolate, it will get harder to dip the cookies. At this point, you can either start spooning the chocolate over the ends instead, or you can panic-drizzle the remaining cookies with the dregs of the chocolate like me (not strictly authentic, but just as tasty and far less soul-destroying).

Once the chocolate, however you choose to add it, has set, you can peel the mandelhörnchen off the baking paper and serve them. Alternatively, you can transfer them to an airtight container, where they will keep for about 3 weeks if stored at room temperature, in a cool, dry place.

Final Thoughts

I am obsessed with these cookies. I don’t know if it’s because I waited so long to find the perfect recipe, or just because they are SO DELICIOUS, but I really, truly love them. They were also incredibly easy to make- the hardest part was dipping them in chocolate and that’s optional! Just like the pizzicotti from the last instalment of Baking Around the World, these are festive almond cookies, with very similar ingredients, but they are actually very distinct. While the pizzicotti were soft and clementine-y, these mandelhörnchen are chewy, chocolate-y and intensely almond-y. I like both very much, but the mandelhörnchen have a special place in my heart.

I hope you enjoyed this second instalment of Baking Around the World, and the 11th post of Blogmas At Home! Tomorrow we’ll be halfway through- can you believe it? Let me know if you try making some mandelhörnchen of your own- I’d love to hear what you think!



P.S. This entire post was basically my love letter to Anja Dunk. Thank you for making all of my mandelhörnchen dreams come true!




These classic German almond cookies are curved into a crescent shape and rolled in flaked almonds before baking. Traditionally, the ends are dipped in dark chocolate, but you can leave them plain if you prefer.
Course Snack
Cuisine German
Keyword almond, Cookie, Dark Chocolate, German
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Setting time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 28 cookies


  • 100 g flaked almonds
  • 330 g marzipan, grated
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 130 g icing sugar
  • 2 egg whites

For dipping:

  • 180 g dark chocolate


  • Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper and set aside. Spread the flaked almonds out into an even layer on a plate and set aside, ready for rolling the cookies in later.
  • Place the grated marzipan, ground almonds, icing sugar and egg whites into a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to clump together. Use your hands to knead the mixture, so that it forms a smooth, sticky dough.
  • Take a small amount of dough (about 25g) and roll it into a ball (see Note 1). Roll the ball between the palms of your hands to form a log, about 9cm long. Roll the log in the flaked almonds to coat it, then bend it into a crescent shape and place it onto one of the lined baking trays. Repeat this process for the rest of the dough.
  • Once you have all of your mandelhörnchen rolled, bake one tray at a time in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the tray before dipping (if you choose to do so)/serving.
  • To dip the cookies, melt the chocolate in the microwave (see Note 2, or use your preferred method for melting). When the chocolate is melted, dip the end of each crescent into the chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off, back into the bowl, before placing the cookies back on the baking paper to set.
  • Once the chocolate has set, you can transfer the biscuits to an airtight container- they will keep for about 3 weeks at room temperature.


  1. The dough will be very sticky- it needs to be, so that the flaked almonds stick to it. I found it helpful to rinse my hands off after shaping each cookie- this helps to prevent the sticky dough building up on your palms. I also left my hands ever so slightly damp, which helped to prevent the dough from sticking as well.
  2. I find it easiest to melt chocolate in the microwave and I don’t bother tempering it for this recipe. Just break up the chocolate and put it into the microwave, on the lowest temperature, for 1 minute at a time, stirring well between each burst, until it has completely melted.
Adapted from ‘Advent: Festive German Bakes to Celebrate the Coming of Christmas’ by Anja Dunk.

Sources Used

Dunk, Anja, ‘Advent‘: Mandelhörnchen, p.131.

In Jennie’s Kitchen: Luisa’s Mandelhörnchen (Chocolate-Dipped Almond Crescents).

My German Recipes: Almond Crescents or Horns/Mandelhörnchen.

Serious Eats: Chocolate Dipped Almond Horns.

The Daring Gourmet: Mandelhörnchen (German Almond Horns).

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