Anybody starting to get sick of Christmas cookie recipes? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I can never get enough. I’ve seen enough recipes to make Christmas cookies every night between now and Christmas 2011.
And I still want to read about more. This is why when one of my favorite baking experts, Nick Malgieri, wrote up a piece for Saveur about Christmas cookies around the world, I had to read it. I was immediately drawn to the photos and description for the Basler Brunsli, an almond-based chocolate cookie.
I decided that I needed to give this a try, and picked up some blanched almonds at the store. Once home, I discovered that Kerrin Rousset, a gifted food and travel writer who actually LIVES in Switzerland (!), posted a very similar recipe in her post on Christmas cookies in Zurich.
If that isn’t an endorsement for this cookie, I don’t know what is. Besides, perhaps, my telling you that they’re delicious, easy to make, and gluten/dairy free to boot!
Basler Burnsli (adapted from Saveur)
8 ounces blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (Callebaut 60.5% cacao)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
Finely grind almonds and sugar in a food processor.
Now the weird part: The chocolate is just chopped, not melted.
This made me a bit uneasy. Would it really grind down properly in the food processor?
Oh ye of so little faith. Just grind up the chocolate, and then add the cinnamon, salt, and egg whites. You'll have a beautiful-looking dough.
Roll the dough about ¼ inch think between two sheets of parchment paper – I did this with my fancy new rolling pin bands to make for more precise thickness.
Use cookie cutters of your choice to shape the cookies - I used a snowflake cookie cutter. Let the shaped cookies dry on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet for three hours. The dough will be quite sticky before drying, but the cut cookies will be much easier to handle after the drying process.
Bake at 300° F for 12-15 minutes, when they should be slightly puffed.
Let the cookies cool before enjoying.
I promised my dad that he would get some of these when we all meet up for Christmas on Thursday night. I may need to make another batch to make that happen.
Do you have any cookies from other countries that you enjoy making around Christmas?