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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 – Spitzbuben

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baking / cookies / Switzerland

The literal translation of these biscuits is “rogues”, or “bratty boys”. These are two simple vanilla biscuits, filled with jam. The top biscuit has a shape cut out in the centre, through which the jam can be seen. The biscuits are very thin, and dusted in icing sugar. INGREDIENTS (makes 50-60) 250g butter 125g powdered sugar (or superfine sugar) 2 tsp vanilla sugar 1 pinch salt 1 egg white (lightly whisked) 350g flour Filling: 200ml raspberry, apricot, or […]

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 – 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 […]

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 […]

A Kashmiri curry

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cookies / food / recipe

Making homemade curry for beginners can be challenging. Ingredient lists can be long, and people can get scared of the myriad of spices needed. Yet there is nothing quite like a homemade curry. So this week I made a Kashmiri curry from the Hairy Biker’s book “Great Curries“. The result was a mild, exceptionally tasty curry. Si and Dave have an infectious appetite for creating great food, and their books are as good as their TV […]