I like to make cookies to give to family and friends around this time of the year. They must be easy, delicious, and wildly appreciated as well!vSo here is probably my favorite cookie recipe that comes from my husband’s hometown of Basel, Switzerland. There are so many different recipes for these “Basler Brunsli’s,” but this one is the one I like because it is so simple to make, and everyone just loves to get it, including those people who cannot eat gluten. To note, these traditional Christmas cookies date back to the 15th century.
There is a bakery in Basel that sells them the whole year, and when I lived there, I would often pop into the shop during the dreary months of February and get a small bag. All little fat hearts that I loved to pop in my mouth.
One thing that thrilled me and I found so special about the Swiss is that no matter how much or how little one buys, they will always ask if you want it gift wrapped, and they will do it so beautifully for you.
The translation of “Brunsli” is “little brownie”, but really this cookie tastes nothing like the typical American brownie…it is made with ground almonds (which, if you are lucky, can be bought in bulk at your local grocery store, or online at Bob’s Mill (www.bobsredmill.com) ), or you can just grind your own almonds. Oh, and make sure that you put lots of good wishes and love into them when you make them…I always like to say, “Anyone who eats these will have a good life feel loved!”, or something like that. It can’t hurt, and I do believe those wishes get transmitted through the cookies to those that eat them. Happy Holidays!
SADHVI’S FAVORITE “BASLER BRUNSLI” RECIPE
1 cup (225 g) finely ground almonds (with the shell)
1 cup (225 g) powdered sugar
3.5 T. (50 g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 vanilla beans
2 egg whites
1 pinch salt
2 T. Kirsch
1. Put the ground almonds in a big bowl.
2. Get a big sieve and measure out the powdered sugar & cocoa and press it through the sieve with a spoon into the bowl w/the ground almonds, or use a sifter, if you have one!
mix it with a wooden spoon.
3. Split the vanilla beans and put the seeds into the big bowl w/ everything.
(You can substitute some good quality vanilla extract or a pack of vanilla sugar as well)
4. Put the egg whites with the pinch of salt in a little mixing bowl….whip up so it is starting to get foamy, but not stiff!
5. Add the Kirsch to the egg white mixture, and then add it to the almond mix. Quickly make a dough, imagining that everyone who eats one of these will have a wonderful life.
6. Put the whole bowl in the refrigerator, covered, for an hour or so.
7. Roll out dough, kind of thick (½ inch) and make into shapes and forms.
My favorite is heart-shaped, and this is the traditional way.
8. Place onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper
8. Let them sit over night at room temperature, to dry out, covered, with a dish drying towel.
9. Preheat oven to 480 F on the next day and bake for 4-5 min.
That’s it. Enjoy!