Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Christmas chocolate treat from Switzerland: Brunsli

In my previous post I talked about the cookies I used to decorate the dried fruits Christmas cake. These are Swiss cookies that are usually baked during Christmas time. They are easy to make yet really delicious and perfect for this season whether you want to enjoy them with your loved ones or to wrap them in a beautiful package and gift them to friends and family.

It´s almost natural to think about Chocolate when you talk about Switzerland. It´s the land of the finest chocolate and renowned manufacturers, and it's no surprise that this wonderful product is the star ingredient of Brunsli cookies. They are also spiced with cinnamon, ginger and many other aromatic ingredients. You can use your own mix of spices that you usually use for baking and that complement the taste of chocolate.

I often bake cookies and gift them to my friends, and for Christmas I couldn't think of better than Brunsli cookies as a personalized gift! I am sure that they will appreciate this sweet gesture.

You will need the following ingredients to make many small cookies using a variety of molds. You should get around 30 pieces:
  • 100 g sugar
  • 200 g almond flour (or 100 g of hazelnut and 100 g of almond flour)
  • 25 g flour
  • 25 cocoa powder
  • 55 g egg white
  • 80 g melted chocolate
  • 15 g kirsh (sour cherry brandy) 
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp of different spices: ground star anise, cloves, nutmeg and freshly grated ginger

Combine all dry ingredients and process in a food processor until well combined. Transfer them into a big bowl.
Whip the egg white until foamy. With a spatula or using the paddle attachment combine the eggs with the dry ingredients. When well combined add the chocolate then the kirsh and mix until incorporated. 
Flatten the dough and shape it into a disk, wrap in  plastic and leave it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or over night.

When you are ready to roll the dough, sprinkle icing sugar over your working surface and roll it until it is 0.6 to 1 cm thick. Personally, I opted for a thinner dough. 
Cut the dough into the desired shapes, put the cookies over a tray covered with parchment paper and leave them to rest and dry slightly for about 15 to 20 minutes, un-refrigerated or covered. Meanwhile preheat the oven at the high temperature of 220 C (428 F), and after 20 min you can bake the cookies. Put the trays in the oven for only 2 minutes and not more as you want the cookies to be really chewy in the middle. 

These cookies are delicious on their own but if you cut them using beautiful molds you can use them as decorative elements in festive cakes like I did with the dried fruits Christmas cake. If you are into cookie decoration using royal icing, fondant and more, these cookies form a wonderful base. 

All is left for me to say now is: MERRY CHRISTMAS to everybody and may your New Year be filled with love, peace and joy!

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