Basler Brunsli might possibly be my favorite Swiss cookie during the holidays. Its name essentially means “little browns” from Basel in Swiss-German. Also known as the Brun de Bâle (French) or Brunsli di Basilea (Italian), they are one of Switzerland’s most popular Christmas cookies. Made with chocolate, cocoa powder or both, these cut-out cookies also contain ground hazelnuts or almonds. Additionally flavored with spices like cinnamon and cloves, you can’t eat just one.
Makes about 30 cookies
200 g dark chocolate (64%)
200 g sugar
200 g ground almonds or hazelnuts
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 egg whites
¼ teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons kirsch
1-2 tablespoons white flour (for dusting the rolling pin and work surface*)
- First, add the chocolate, broken into pieces into a heat-safe bowl and melt over a water bath (bain marie). Then, once the chocolate has fully melted, take it off the heat and let it cool slightly.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, ground almonds, cinnamon, ground cloves and white pepper until well combined. After that, add the melted chocolate to these ingredients and stir until well-combined. Set aside.
- In a third bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until they become fluffy and form stiff peaks. Next, carefully fold them into the chocolate-almond mixture with the 1-2 tablespoons of kirsch.
- Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in parchment paper, and place it in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes until it chills and become firm.
- When the dough is ready, use a rolling pin dusted with flour to roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment paper to a thickness of 1 cm (less than a half-inch). Cut out shapes in the dough with cookie cutters that have a diameter of about 3 cm (1 ¼ inches). For a gluten-free option, you can use rice or chestnut flour.
- Finally, place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for approximately 8-10 minutes at 200°C / 400°F. Once they’re done, cook them on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container.
Updated: January 9, 2023