Traditional German nut pastries just like the ones at the bakeries in Munich! Nußschnecken (or a nut snails) are a traditional German yeasted spiraled breakfast pastry that are filled with nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts, as well as marzipan and raisins.
There is definitely some controversy over the type of dough these should be made from. Some people make them with a dough similar to that of croissant dough but, I personally prefer this one made from a simpler yeasted dough which is then semi laminated with a marzipan filling which adds a little extra flake to the dough!
I like to fill them with chopped pecans but using chopped hazelnuts would be more traditional; you could also fill them with almonds if you prefer! Schnecken come with many different fillings in Germany but these are one of the most common and traditional. My sister and I loved getting these for breakfast as well as an afternoon snack!
Don’t like Raisins or Marzipan?
1. You can’t taste the marzipan it just keeps the pastries moist, so I would recommend using it.
2. I highly recommend trying the recipe first with raisins because they add a little brightness and moisture but if you really hate them, you can leave them out. For a different flavor you could also sub in dried cranberries or tart dried cherries!
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour will work for these! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar in the dough and filling as well as powdered sugar in the glaze.
- Milk: The nußschnecken use milk as the liquid in the dough; however, they will also work with non-dairy milks such as almond or light coconut milk.
- Butter: The butter adds moisture to the dough!
- Eggs: I use standard large eggs from the store. There is one whole egg in the dough and one whole egg that is mixed in with the marzipan to add richness to the schnecken.
- Yeast: In this recipe, instant yeast is used. However, if you are using active dry, simply bloom the yeast in the milk alone first and then proceed with the recipe.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds flavor to the dough.
- Lemon zest & Salt: These both add flavor to the dough and balance out the flavor.
- Marzipan: This recipe uses fresh marzipan. You can make your own or use store bought but either way, make sure it hasn’t dried out because it won’t turn into a smooth paste. Marzipan is made from almonds, sugar, almond extract.
Nut & Raisin Filling
- Pecans: I like to use fresh pecans in this recipe, finely chopped. You can also use finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts.
- Maple Syrup: Make sure to use high quality maple syrup for the filling – you don’t need too much of it but it adds a delicious flavor.
- Brown Sugar: Light or dark brown sugar will work for this filling. It adds more warmth than white granulated sugar.
- Raisins: Raisins are traditional in nußschnecken; however, if you really hate them you can leave them out or replace them with dried cranberries or tart cherries.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds an extra depth of flavor to the filling. Always check to make sure your spices are fresh, they tend to lose flavor and potency over time.
- Milk: Milk is used to help add moisture to the filling as well as plump up the raisins.
- Butter: The butter for the filling is melted and stirred into the filling which makes it easier to spread over the dough.
How to make your own Marzipan?
- 60 grams almonds
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp water (more as needed)
- Blanche the almonds by placing them in a heat proof bowl, then pouring enough boiling water over to cover them. Let them sit for 20-40 minutes (the longer they sit the easier it will be to peel them). Then drain off the excess water and peel the almonds. Place the peeled almonds in a fresh bowl and pat dry.
- In a food processor, add in the granulated sugar and blend on high for 3 minutes until it has become light and powdery.
- Then add in the blanched almonds and blend again until it looks the consistency of crumbly sand.
- Add in the almond extract and the water and blend on high until you have a smooth paste. For this recipe, it’s ok if you can still feel some of the granules.
- Place the marzipan into a bowl and cover with an airtight lid. Exposed marzipan has a tendency to dry out so I always recommend covering it right after it is made.
How to make bakery style Nußschnecken at home
Make the filling
- In a medium bowl, stir together all of the filling ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic or a lid and set aside so that all of the flavors can meld and absorb together.
Make the Nußschnecken Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the flour and sugar – make a well in the center and pour in the yeast. Then pour the lukewarm milk over the yeast into the well. Using a spoon, mix together the milk and yeast and add in about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the sugar/flour mixture from the edges of the well.
- Cover the bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
- After the 10 minutes have passed, the contents of the well should be nice and bubbly. Give the contents of the bowl a quick stir with a rubber spatula so the yeast mixture is no longer “exposed”.
- Add in the rest of the dough ingredients and use a dough hook to knead everything together on low speed for 10-15 minutes until the dough has smooth edges and the bowl is clean.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl that is at least twice the size of the dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and place somewhere warm to rise for 45 minutes. The dough should double in size.
- Wipe out the stand mixer bowl, then add in the egg and remaining granulated sugar. Using the whisk attachment, on medium high speed, whisk until it becomes very light and airy.
- With the mixer running, slowly add pieces/chunks of the marzipan into the bowl until all of the marzipan is in the bowl and everything has been whisked into one smooth spread. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Assembling the Nußschnecken
- Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Roll the dough out to 30 x 60 cm – try not to use any flour at this step. Spread the marzipan filling over the dough – it should cover about 2/3 of the dough in a rectangle that is about 28 cm x 40 cm. You want to leave a 1 inch border around the edges.
- Fold the dough into thirds and if necessary brush edges with a little water to help the dough stick together. Before sealing the edges, make sure the dough is laying flat on the butter and that there are no air bubbles.
- Roll the rectangle out again lengthwise to a rectangle that is 20 cm x 60 cm – at this point, use as much flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. Spread the nut filling mixture over the dough and leave 2″ at one short end of the rectangle free of nuts.
- Start rolling up the dough from the short end with the nut filling. Roll all the way to the other end, squeezing as necessary to make sure the roll is nice and tight.
- Place the roll in front of you, seam side down and use a ruler and a sharp skinny knife to mark out 2 cm slices. After all the slices have been marked, start slicing the nußschnecken. As you slice them with one hand, hold the roll together with the other hand. Don’t worry if they don’t stay perfectly circular, you will reshape them later.
- Place 5 schnecken on each baking sheet. After you have sliced all of the shnecken, tuck the ends under each slice and slightly flatten the rolls by pressing down on them with the palm of your hand.
- Let the schnecken rest for 30 minutes, then bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pans after 12 minutes to make sure they brown evenly.
- While the nußschnecken are baking, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar and water to a thin and runny glaze.
- Immediately after the schnecken are finished baking, brush or drizzle the glaze over them. Allow them to cool for at least five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
More German Pastries!
Nußschnecken – German nut sticky buns
- Stand Mixer
Nut and Raisin Filling
- 50 grams brown sugar
- 75 grams raisins
- 150 grams pecans finely chopped
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 50 grams butter melted
- 60 ml milk
- 350 grams ap flour
- 15 grams instant yeast
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 125 ml milk lukewarm
- 1 egg room temp
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 grams butter softened
- 1 lemon zest
Marzipan Cream Filling
- 200 grams marzipan fresh- room temperature
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp water more as needed
- 350 grams powdered sugar
Make the Nut filling
- Finely chop the pecans (or your choice of nuts).
- Add all filling ingredients to a bowl and stir together. Cover and let sit while you prepare the dough.
- In a large stand mixing bowl, add flour, sugar and yeast, and whisk together.
- Add lukewarm milk, butter, egg, salt, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and knead together with the dough hook on low speed for 15 min or until the dough is a smooth cohesive ball of dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place, smooth side up, in a greased bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or proofing bag and set it somewhere warm to rest for 1 hour.
Assembling the Schnecken
- Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- After the 1 hr has passed, roll the dough out into a rectangle that measures 30 x 60 cm.
- Spread the marzipan over the dough – it should cover about 2/3 of the dough in a rectangle that is 28 cm x 40 cm. You want to leave a 1 inch border but the butter should take up 2/3 of the dough on one side of the rectangle.
- Fold the dough into thirds. If necessary brush edges with a little water to help the dough stick together. Before sealing the edges, make sure the dough is laying flat on the butter and sugar and that there are no air bubbles.
- Beginning gently, roll the dough out to a rectangle that is approximately 20 cm x 60 cm. Add flour to the dough and work surface as needed.
- Spread the nut filling over the rectangle. Leave a 2" border at one of the short ends.
- Roll up the dough starting with the one short side with the nut filling. As you roll, gently squeeze it to make sure the roll is nice and tight.
- Usually I would slice off one end and then measure my cuts from the clean edge but because the filling is spread all the way to the edges that isn't necessary.
- Measure out slices that are approximately 2 cm thick. Then cut at each 2 cm mark. Place the slices onto the prepared parchment, leaving at least 3 inches between each roll. There should be no more than 5 on a half size baking sheet.
- Tuck the ends under each roll and gently press each one flat with the palm of your hand. Leave the schnecken to rest for 30 minutes
Baking and finishing
- After the schnecken have rested for 30 minutes, bake them for 20 min until golden brown. Rotate and switch the baking sheets after the first 12 min to ensure even browning.
- While the schecken are baking, whisk together the powdered sugar and water to create a thin glaze.
- Once the schnecken are done baking, while still hot, brush with the glaze.
- After you have glazed them all, they should be cool enough to gently move to cooling racks where they should be allowed to cool fully.