This is it! Christmas is around the corner, only 19 sleeps left! In Alsace, we celebrate this special day – la Saint Nicolas – with manneles, men-shaped milk rolls which are served for the children’s goûter (4pm snack) traditionally with hot chocolate.

Since the 12th century, it is said that Saint Nicolas goes from houses to houses on the night from the 5th to the 6th of December to ask if the children have been good. Children expect his arrival in the same way that they expect Santa on Christmas day leaving him something to drink and sometimes some carrots for his mule. Good children receive little presents and treats – such as manneles – on the following day whilst “le Père Fouettard” takes care of the naughty children… (Brrr… you don’t want to be a naughty child!)

La Saint Nicolas is celebrated in numerous countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria… The legend says that Saint Nicolas raised from the dead three children killed by a butcher and so he became the patron saint of children. You can listen to the children’s song telling about this legend on the  blog Père Noël: naissance d’un mythe, it’s really nice :-)

Anyway, as you can see on the main picture I have made baby manneles for my little ones, their first manneles!!! And they L.O.V.E.D. them :-)

Please find below the instructions in pictures on how to shape your dough balls into manneles and the full recipe card. Enjoy! 

How to create Alsatian manneles by Croque-Maman 

Manneles SQ

Alsatian manneles

Course: Snack
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people

In Alsace, we celebrate la Saint Nicolas with manneles men-shaped milk rolls which are served for the children’s goûter (4pm snack) traditionally with hot chocolate.



  • 250 g plain flour
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp quick yeast check quantity required on packet, it differs from one brand to another
  • 125 ml full fat milk luckwarmed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50 g butter softened
  • 12 chocolate chips more if you want to do mini manneles


  1. Combine the flour, sugar and quick yeast (it is important that the yeast is evenly mixed).
  2. Mix the luck-warmed milk with the egg yolk and the vanilla extract.
  3. Pour the milky mixture over the flour mix and add the softened butter. Bring together into a rough dough and knead it for up to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  5. Split your dough into 6 dough balls and shape your manneles -as per the instructions in pictures in the above post- glazing the dough with milk and adding chocolate chips for the eyes.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden-brown.