Mürbeteig – German Shortcrust Pastry Recipe

Mürbeteig, also called “1-2-3-Teig” (1-2-3-Dough) is a German Shortcrust Pastry used mainly for baking cookies and baked pastry cases. It gets its name from the proportion of the main ingredients, respectively sugar, fat (usually butter), and flour. To these, salt, vanilla, and lemon peel are usually added. Depending on the region, egg yolk, respectively whole egg may be also added. No water or baking products are needed, nor allowed.

There’s a controversy going on if eggs should be added to the dough or not. I noticed that in German recipes, people tend to add eggs to the dough because it is easier to work with. In Austrian ones, the tendency goes to excluding the egg to get a more crumbly texture.

The main ingredients for Mürbeteig – Sweet German Shortcrust Pastry are 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat (usually butter), 3 parts all-purpose flour, salt, and flavors of your choice (vanilla, lemon peel). To this, you can also add egg yolk or whole eggs. The best part: you don’t need to knead your dough, you can easily mix the ingredients by hand so no kitchen appliance is needed. You can use any of the recipes below and bake a lot of delicious cookies.

Vanilla Shortcrust Pastry Recipe (Mürbeteig basic recipe):

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 300g flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar (8g ~ 2tsp) or 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1-2 egg yolks or one whole egg (optional)
  • peel of half a lemon (optional)
  1. All ingredients should be cold, especially the butter.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, lemon peel. You can use vanilla bean or vanilla extract if vanilla sugar is not available.
  3. Add the cold butter cut into cubes and the egg/egg yolks.
  4. Mix everything until the ingredients are combined. Do not overmix because the butter will start melting.
  5. Wrap the dough in a foil and keep it in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 1 hour.
  6. If you want to use the dough right away, you can use powder sugar instead of caster sugar. It is however recommended to keep the dough minimum of half an hour in the fridge so that the ingredients properly combine and it’s easier to roll.

Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry Recipe (Schokomürbeteig):

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 280g flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 30g cocoa (Dutch-processed cocoa powder which is the standard cocoa type in Europe)
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar (8g ~ 2tsp) or 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1-2 egg yolks or one whole egg (optional)
  • peel of half an orange (optional)
  1. All ingredients should be cold, especially the butter.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, orange peel. You can use vanilla bean or vanilla extract if vanilla sugar is not available. Use a sieve for the cocoa since it tends to get clumpy. Orange peel goes very well with cocoa.
  3. Add the cold butter cut into cubes and the egg/egg yolks.
  4. Mix everything until the ingredients are combined. Do not overmix because the butter will start melting.
  5. Wrap the dough in a foil and keep it in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 1 hour.
  6. If you want to use the dough right away, you can use powder sugar instead of caster sugar. It is however recommended to keep the dough minimum of half an hour in the fridge so that the ingredients properly combine and it’s easier to roll.

Nut Shortcrust Pastry Recipe (Nussmürbeteig):

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 250g flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g ground nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.)
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar (8g ~ 2tsp) or 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1-2 egg yolks or one whole egg (optional)
  • peel of half a lemon (optional)
  • cinnamon (optional)
  1. All ingredients should be cold, especially the butter.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: flour, ground nuts, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, lemon peel, and cinnamon. You can use vanilla bean or vanilla extract if vanilla sugar is not available. A pinch of cinnamon goes very well with the nuts in this dough, especially for Christmas cookies.
  3. Add the cold butter cut into cubes and the egg/egg yolks.
  4. Mix everything until the ingredients are combined. Do not overmix because the butter will start melting.
  5. Wrap the dough in a foil and keep it in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 1 hour.
  6. If you want to use the dough right away, you can use powder sugar instead of caster sugar. It is however recommended to keep the dough minimum of half an hour in the fridge so that the ingredients properly combine and it’s easier to roll.

From this Nut Shortcrust Pastry Recipe (Nussmürbeteig) you can make delicious cookies like Vanillekipferl – German Vanilla Crescent Cookies which are typical Christmas Cookies (Weihnachtskekse or Weihnachtsplätzchen) in Germany and Austria.