A Swiss Childhood Favorite: Nuss-Stengeli


Wicked hard, but very tasty Nuss-Stengeli from Migros

Growing up in the United States, I dunked Oreo cookies in milk for a snack. If you grew up in Switzerland, however, it’s more likely you dunked a Nuss-Stengeli in your glass of milk. Known by several different names, these rock-hard little biscuits taste good on their own or paired with a drink, like cold milk or hot chocolate. Rather than making them at home, like Oreo cookies, you typically buy them at the supermarket.

Here are some quick facts about this well-known and well-loved Swiss biscuit:

Name: Nussstängeli (Swiss-German), Nuss-Stengeli (in German), Bâtons aux Noisettes (French) and Bastoncini (Italian). I have been told that in some parts of Switzerland — such as Basel and Bern — these biscuits are called Dootebainli or Totenbeinli, which means “dead man’s legs.” There’s even a special song, called a Schnitzelbängg, about this biscuit that’s performed during Fasnacht, Basel’s huge carnival.

Typical ingredients: Flour, sugar, hazelnuts, eggs and milk

Origin: These biscuits originally came from the canton of Graubünden, but now they are popular throughout Switzerland.

Where to buy them: You can find Nuss-Stengeli at major Swiss supermarkets, like Coop and Migros. Although, from what I have seen, the Migros brand, Midor, seems to make one of the most popular, if not THE most popular Nuss-Stengeli in Switzerland. Swiss legend has it that the prototype for Migros’ biscuits was based on a handwritten recipe from 1912 by Adele Duttweiler, the wife of the company’s founder Gottlieb Duttweiler. I heard from a Swiss expat that the durability of these biscuits makes them easy to pack in a suitcase for a souvenir, and for some, a way to relive happy childhood memories.

Making them at home: If you want to try making these biscuits in your own kitchen, I like the recipe for “Nussstängeli-guetzli” from Swissmilk (in French and German).

What’s your opinion of Nuss-Stengeli? Have you ever made them at home? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this very Swiss biscuit. Please leave a comment below or send me an email. Thanks!

9 replies »

  1. I spent a couple of years in Switzerland as a child (Fribourg, and then five years later Zurich), and Nussstaengeli – which my mother has indeed been known to bring me back in her suitcase from Migros after visiting friends – are absolutely Proustian for me. I can read recipes in French but not German, though, and I’m having trouble finding the recipe on the French side of the Swissmilk site (searching on “biscuits noisettes” brought up some other nice things but not these). It seems unlikely they just don’t bother providing it for French speakers, but maybe it’s just that.

      • The problem with the recipe is it doesn’t include the milk necessary to mix dough. Although it does give a little bit of milk for the glaze. I mixed in about a half cup of milk. Also to make the batons hard you have to double bake just like making biscotti, otherwise they will remain soft.

      • Hi Marc! Thank you so much for sharing this! I haven’t made these for a long time, and I should make them again with your recommendations. Thanks for sharing this! Hope you’re having a good weekend. -Heddi

  2. I have two questions.
    1) Do you have a recipe in English?
    2) Do you know if these can be purchased in the States?
    Thank you!

    • Hello Kris! Sorry for the delay in my reply. Just getting caught up after vacation. No, I do not currently have a recipe in English. And, unfortunately, I don’t know of where they can be purchased in the States. I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you… Best of luck!

  3. Hi,
    Hard to get anywhere in North America, unless you know a specific supplier. Here is an English recipe that works well.

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