What do you call a German biscuit?

Germans are remarkably restrained when it comes to biscuits (that’s cookies to any readers from over the pond). For eleven months of the year, that is. As soon as Advent comes around, this changes. Traditionally the Germans bake “Plätzchen” … a wide variety of different types of Christmas biscuits… and the entire month of December turns into one long gluttonous cookie-fest.

There are lots of different types… Lebkuchen, Zimtsterne, Streuseltaler, Mandelhappen, Spritzgebäck… so it was no wonder, I felt, that when I came across this pack in the local supermarket, that the product manager had somehow failed to come up with a name for this brand of biscuits. Maybe inspiration was in short supply… maybe the biscuits are rubbish…. maybe he or she was in a rush. But, honestly…. Butterzeug?

(For non-German speakers, Butterzeug translates directly as “butter-stuff”).

My favourite theory though, was that the product manager had sampled a little too much of one of the competitor’s brands.



Filed under food, Life in Germany

6 responses to “What do you call a German biscuit?

  1. My German teacher just talked about this yesterday but she kept calling them little cakes….finally I said do you mean cookies…ah! ja, ja cookies!

  2. Martina

    Butterzeug is actually high german for the old Franconian dialect word Budderzeich or Butterplätzchen. I`ve never heard it anywhere else, but if you try to buy Butterplätzchen in Nürnberg you`ll probably find nothing but Butterzeug. Since Wicklein is an old Nürnberg brand they`d never have dared to call there Butterzeug anything else.

  3. I am from that hillbilly area of Germany which Martina referred to.

    And yes, in Lower Franconia (Schweinfurt area),we always called them Butterplätzchen.

    And pronounced in Franconian: Budderblädzlich

    • Budderblädzlich sounds like you had a couple of Glühweins with them….

      • The Franconians always talk like that – there are no hard consonants such as t or p. That goes with Glühwein or without it….
        When spelling a name, they have to say hartes d or hartes b (the other ones are therefore identified as weiches d or b).

        A silly Franconian joke:
        Why do drunk Franconians run away when the see a car with the sticker “GB” on it?
        They read it as Griminalbolizei.

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