All posts filed under: biscuits

Swiss biscuits – Berner Honiglebkuchen

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biscuits / cookies / Switzerland

This is a Bernese honey gingerbread that is unfilled, rectangular, or shaped using cutters. This form of gingerbread is often molded with an image of a bear, and decorated with icing embellishments. Gingerbread, which consists of honey and exotic spices was produced in the medieval monasteries. In Bern the gingerbread dates back to the early 19th century. A recipe appearing in “Neuen Berner Kochbuch”, written by Lina Rytz in 1835 listed a gingerbread recipe very similar […]

Swiss biscuits – Zimtsterne

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biscuits / cookies

The zimsterne is a star-shaped Christmas biscuit made of ground almonds, sugar, cinnamon, and egg white. The surface of the biscuits is smooth, slightly shiny ad white to light beige. The egg white glaze forms a thin crust, the biscuit itself is soft. Zimtsterne can be found in cookbooks from the 18th century, although the concept may have originated from the far east. The recipe is gluten-free. INGREDIENTS 3 egg-whites 300g icing sugar 1½ tbsp cinnamon […]

Swiss biscuits – Basler Brunsli

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biscuits / Switzerland

The Brunsli is a Christmas cookie similar in composition to the zimtsterne. It consists of a coarse dough from egg white, chocolate, sugar and almonds. It likely originates in the 1700’s and has had a varied history. In the early 1900’s either chocolate or cocoa were used, but almonds were likely the most expensive ingredient (which hasn’t changed). During WW1, the almonds may have been replaced with flour. In some recipes the Brunsli are made […]

Swiss biscuits – the Palmier

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biscuits / cookies / Switzerland

Though technically a French biscuit, the palmier, (French for “palm tree”) is one of the easiest biscuits to make. It is basically puff pastry rolled out in sugar, and then scrolled in to form palm leaves. The sugar used can be anything you like. I use plain granulated sugar, but it could easily be substituted with demerara, or brown sugar. You can of course also make the puff pastry from scratch, but given that all my other Christmas […]

Swiss biscuits – Mailänderli

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biscuits / Switzerland

Mailänderli (MY-LAND-DER-LI) are the quintessential Swiss christmas biscuit, made of flour sugar and butter. They may have existed since the 18th century, and are simple to make. In many of the recipes to follow, you could also substitute margarine for butter, but I don’t think this is the right thing to do. Classically, this biscuit has an egg-yolk wash applied prior to baking, but provides a nice base for a number of different biscuits. INGREDIENTS (makes […]

Swiss biscuits – Planta-Herzli

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biscuits / cookies

Planta-Herzli, or Orange hearts are a delicate, thin, “shortbread” type biscuits covered in orange glasur. INGREDIENTS (makes 50-60) 125g butter 80g sugar 2 egg yolks a pinch salt 1 tbsp orange juice 1 orange, grated 1 Messerspitze* baking powder 250g flour *Messerspitze = knife point 1. Cream the butter and sugar, until it transforms into a pale colour (3-4 minutes). 2. Add the egg yolks and mix until well integrated (1-2 minutes). Add the salt, orange juice and […]

Glasur for biscuits

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baking / biscuits

One thing you will notice is that European biscuits are very often left plain, or coated with what in Swiss we would call a glasur, or glaze. Even carrot cakes are usually covered in such an “icing”, often containing Kirsch. The basic recipe for powdered sugar glasur is 150g of powdered sugar, and 2-3 tbsp. water. Other possibilities where the water is substituted for another liquid include: ∗ Citron glasur – 2 tbsp. lemon juice + ½ tbsp. […]

Swiss biscuits for Christmas

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biscuits / cookies / food

Posts over the next two weeks are related to the yearly foray into baking Swiss “guetzli”, or cookies, or biscuits if you’re British. Traditionally many of these guetzli are made only once a year – sometimes 600-700 cookies. Which sounds a *lot* but really isn’t. These are classic European type biscuits, and as such, they are not decorated, and usually have very simple ingredients. So I will be posting recipes and hints on baking some of my […]

Spices for gingerbread

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biscuits / cookies / food

For Christmas there are many different spice mixes for gingerbread (or Lebkuchen if you prefer). The smell of spices is one of the quintessential features of Yuletide. Yet what is the classic set of ingredients to make gingerbread spice? I would say there is no specific set of ingredients, but it may include cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg (or mace), cloves, black pepper, star-anise, and cardamom. The core ingredients in all the recipes are definitely cinnamon […]