For Valentine’s Day 2015, my husband bought me an electronic waffle iron for making Swiss bricelets (in French) or bretzeli (in German). Yes, I know this might seem like a strange gift, but for someone who loves learning about traditional Swiss foods, I was thrilled. Bricelets are thin and crispy wafers that can be made sweet or savory. My very Swiss waffle iron imprints patriotic symbols on the bricelets, like the geographic shape of Switzerland or the cross from the flag.
According to Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse, the earliest documented evidence of bricelets in French-speaking Switzerland dates back to around the mid-16th century. Today, you can find bricelets throughout Suisse romande, as well as the canton of Bern. I first tried them as part of a dessert course at Festin Neuchâtelois. After that, I started noticing them at major Swiss supermarkets and at our local farmers’ market.
Bricelets can look like the flat ones I’ve been making at home, or they can be rolled into cylinders. I haven’t tried rolling them yet, since it takes more time and patience (two things I don’t usually have much of, especially with the kids running around). You must roll the bricelets while they’re still warm and pliable (and very hot, so you need to be careful!), otherwise they’ll crack and break.
A friend who grew up in Suisse Romande (i.e., French-speaking Switzerland) remembers making bricelets as a child at Christmastime. I recently tried her mother’s recipe, which calls for fresh lemon zest and a teaspoon of kirsch. Another sweet recipe I’ve seen from Neuchâtel calls for equal parts white wine and sour cream.
To make bricelets, you can use a more liquid batter that’s poured onto the griddle or a thicker dough that’s rolled into balls, for example. I’ve tried both types of recipes, and from my experience so far, the thinner batter makes crispier and more delicate bricelets.
While I love sweet bricelets, the savory version I made with whole cumin seeds and a pinch of white pepper was also excellent. My kids ate them up and kept reaching for more! Sesame seeds and poppy seeds are also used in savory bricelets.
There are many different variations for these thin and crispy cookie-crackers, and here’s my latest bricelet experiment with fresh limes that I’m taking along to a children’s birthday party today.
Lime Zest Bricelets
Recipe adapted from the book, Neuchâtel à Table, by Marcel North and Jacques Montandon (1973).
(Contains: milk, egg and wheat)
100 grams unsalted butter, softened
125 grams sugar
zest of 2 limes
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (or vanilla paste or extract)
250 grams all-purpose flour
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until well-combined.
2. Mix in the eggs, one at a time until the mixture is smooth and the eggs are fully incorporated. Then, stir in the lime zest, lime juice and vanilla sugar.
3. Stir the flour in two batches until a dough forms. Let the dough sit in the fridge for about an hour.
4. Remove the dough and roll it into small balls (follow the instructions given for your waffle iron). Follow the directions for your iron and cook the bricelets until very lightly browned. Please note: They cook quickly, so keep an eye on them. They get brown very fast!
5. Carefully remove the cooked bricelets from the iron and cut immediately into the intended shapes while still warm. Let them cool on a wire rack, so they are completely flat.
6. Store them for a week or two in a sealed container (mine never seem to last a week!).
What’s your favorite way to make and serve Swiss bricelets—sweet or savory? Do you have a favorite recipe to share? Please leave a comment below. Thanks so much for visiting my new blog!
Updated: December 28, 2022
Categories: Fribourg, Recipes, Swiss food, Switzerland
Makes me slightly homesick…
Thanks so much for visiting my new blog. Maybe you can find a bricelet iron in Australia?? 😉
These special type of thin waffles look utterly tasty!
Thanks, Sophie! The savory version with cumin seeds is also really good. May need to make some this weekend! Have a good day, H
I wish I could find this iron in the US. So lovely! These look delicious!
Thanks, Renee! There must be a place in the US that sells these?! If you happen to find a retailer, please let me know. I’ll be sure to do the same. Have a wonderful day, and many thanks. -Heddi
Hi there, FYI, Amazon sells them
Thanks, Nancy! 🙂
Tefal make an electric snack maker that has many interchangeable inserts including one for bricelets. It is widely available in Australia and probably in USA also. In fact it’s because I just bought one that I came to this page and I’m definitely going to try this lime recipe. Thank you for sharing it.
Hi Lyn! Thanks so much for sharing this. Hope this recipe works for you! Please let me know if you find any other good bricelet recipes. Many thanks for visiting my blog. -Heddi
Hi! I’m from Argentina and I really love bricelets! My grandma’s sister used to cook them for me and my dad, that reminds he when he was young and his Mom made it for him.. Now my aunt is gone and my dad is so sad, I’d like to have the recipe and make some bricelets for him! I’d really appreciate if you could share the recipe that contains cheese with me. Thanks for sharing and I love your blog! XO
Hi Virginia! Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ve never made bricelets with cheese before, but here are 2 recipes I’ve found: http://www.tefal.dk/recipe/Bricelets-with-gruy%C3%A8re-cheese/126221 (in English) and http://www.paysannesfribourgeoises.ch/recettes-de-cuisine-bricelets-sales.html (in French). Hope one of these can work for you! Many thanks, and hope you’re having a good weekend. -Heddi
Im looking for this electrodomestic for making bricelets, i really want one!! can you help me to buy it on te web?? Im from chile, south america.
Hello Anne, Thanks for visiting my blog! Hmmm… Sorry I don’t know of a good site for buying one of these online in South America… Another reader mentioned that Tefal makes these? Maybe that might help? Good luck!
These look so deliciously – I can almost taste them from here! And, the recipe is very allergen-friendly as you could substitute dairy-free butter, and the egg doesn’t need to rise all that much. I don’t know about the Swiss, but I know the French (where I previously lived) would die at that suggestion…
Thanks so much, Erin! Yes, I think you could adapt this recipe to be dairy-free and egg-free with a few minor changes. They are fun to make, and my kids love them. Hope you and your family are doing well. Best wishes, Heddi
My mother and grandmother have baked these cookies for almost eighty yrs.
I lost the recipe thru several moves and now have found you.
Hello Marianne! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a thoughtful note. I was just talking to my kids about how we want to make these again soon. Possibly tomorrow! Hope you like the recipe. Many thanks, and best wishes. -Heddi
Hello Heddi, What is the name and brand of the Swiss waffle iron for making the bracelets, please. I’d like to know if it’s possible to buy one in Amsterdam.
Kind regards, Catherine
Hello Catherine! Jura or Trisa are two brands with waffle irons. Hope you can get one of them in Amsterdam! Thanks for checking in. Have a great weekend, -Heddi
Oh! I would so much like to do that, but in Brazil it does not sell this waffle iron.
Hello! Oh, I wish you could find one of these bricelet irons in Brazil! I should start exporting them… 😉 Thanks for your nice message. Best wishes, -Heddi
Hermoso tenemos uno muy antiguo
Would a pizzelle iron work to make these cookies?
Yes! Although I haven’t tried it myself, I think it should work. Thanks for asking, and please let me know how it goes. 🙂