Friday, 18 December 2009

Basler Brunsli

These are not the most beautiful cookies in the world, but they are perhaps my favourite cookie of all time, although it's true that whatever cookie I'm eating tends to be my favourite cookie - at the time. At any rate, these have been a Christmas custom for at least 25 years now. They are also notable for being wheat-free and dairy-free (yay!). They should be crunchy around the edges, with a hint of chewiness in the middle.

The name translates, more or less, as Brownies from Basle. A good Swiss chocolate would not be inappropriate.

45 medium cookies
2 hours prep time

Basler Brunsli Cookies
2 cups ground blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
100 grams (3 ounces) unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
2 extra-large egg whites
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven. Line a couple of cookie trays with parchment paper.

Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves and salt into the bowl of the food processor. Process until well-blended and until the nuts have been ground to a fine powder; stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Add the chocolate, preferably broken into manageable chunks, and process again, until the chocolate is very finely ground.

Add the egg whites and almond extract, and process again, until the mixture is completely blended and forms a solid mass.

Remove the dough to a sheet of parchment paper, and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Brush your rolling pin lightly with oil, and roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick. It is a very sticky dough, so work carefully. You will likely need to use some icing sugar to prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin. I coat the rolling pin rather than sprinkling it onto the cookies, in the hopes of achieving evenly brown cookies instead of ones covered in white spots, but good luck with that.

Cut out cookies with cookie cutters, and move them to the prepared cookie trays. Re-roll and cut the scraps; the dough should be easier to work with the second time around, and the re-worked dough produces fine cookies.

Bake the cookies in the centre for 10 to 12 minutes, until firm and slightly puffed looking. Let them cool completely before removing them from the paper.

Last year at this time I made Cocoa Sponge Cake, with Rum Balls in mind. This year I've made them already. Also a favourite cookie - if that's what they are - of all time.


~~louise~~ said...

I'm not much of a baker, however, I do have quite a passion for Swiss chocolate and the thought of 3 teaspoons of cinnamon combined, just sends me over board.

Thanks for sharing...I'm really liking my visits:)

Ferdzy said...

Thanks, Louise. Chocolate and cinnamon is a typical Mexican combination but to me this doesn't taste Mexican at all... there's just enough cloves in there to make it firmly European.

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Ferdzy, they really do sound exceptional. I think I skipped right over the cloves. I have such an aversion to them except for when they are used on ham or orange scented pomander balls. I will try them though if I ever get to this recipe and report back. I've saved it for future reference. Thanks again...