What I Learned About Baking Swiss Christmas Cookies

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I can throw a curry together anytime. But baking intimidates me and I had a cookie party to go to. And I can’ take curry to a cookie party now, can I?

And so while thinking about what I could take, I remembered the Swiss Christmas cookies my husband made two years ago right after the snowpocalypse we had in Seattle. He’s from Switzerland and since we weren’t going there for the holidays, he decided we’d bring Switzerland to Seattle instead. And then proceeded to make two kinds of cookies. He then followed that up with making Fondue Chinoise, the Swiss version of Chinese hot pot. And this is a guy that cooks twice a year. I was impressed!

This year though it was up to me to make the cookies and I went with Brunsli, cookies made with almond flour and cocoa.

I used this recipe and tweaked it based on what I had available at home. I also left out the Kirsch since, from prior experience, what is available as cherry liquor here tastes more like cough syrup and is better avoided. I left out the flour as I only had whole wheat flour and wanted to make the cookies gluten free.

Ingredients (made ~35 2″ cookies)

5 oz sugar
pinch salt
9 oz Almond meal/flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
2 cloves freshly ground
3.5 oz plus 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (mine had bits of dark chocolate in it)
2 egg whites
1-2 tablespoons slivered almonds (optional)

Recipe

Mix the sugar, salt, almond flour, spices and cocoa powder in a big bowl.

Add egg whites and mix to form a dough.

Divide the dough into 3-4 portions. Roll out a portion of the dough using a rolling pin into a sheet that is roughly a third of an inch thick. Sprinkle the slivered almonds on top and ‘fix’ them in place by going over gently with the rolling pin.

Line a tray (or two) with baking paper. Cut the dough into squares or use a cookie cutter. Place the cookies on the tray. Once all the cookies are made, leave the tray out, uncovered, overnight. *I didn’t have enough time and only left them out for an hour*. This probably affected the consistency a bit.

Heat oven to 480 degrees F and bake the cookies for 6 minutes.

Take out the trays and place the cookies on a plate in a single layer. If you’re not serving them right away, store the cookies in an airtight box.

Lessons

As much as I liked the taste of my cookies, I knew they were not perfect. So what lessons did I learn with my cookie experiment?

Follow the directions! They didn’t feel quite done after 6 minutes and I put them back in the over for another few minutes. They ended up a bit harder than I would have liked. As much as tweaking recipes is fun and often required, you should know when to tweak and when to leave alone. If its the first time with a recipe, follow it first. You can tweak it the next time.

Trying something completely new in the kitchen is exciting! Gladly, this was an easy recipe to start with and I knew there wouldn’t be any Swiss people at the party who’d know how the cookie was supposed to taste like.

And lastly, although I ‘share’ my recipes on the blog, sharing in person is sweeter. Way sweeter!

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Filed under Holiday, Switzerland

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