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!