All in Swiss Christmas Cookies
Although these cookies take a bit of work, I can confirm that this recipe is easier than Rosina Gschwind’s recipe from 1892 that suggests beating the egg whites and sugar for an hour. It may take some fine motor skills to apply the icing, but at least your arm won’t fall off.
I know you only got your Samichlaus sack yesterday, but really, who can eat that many peanuts?
Though not quite as delicious as the Festive Special, these pretzel adorned Swiss Chalets are delightful to look at and fun to make.
Vanillegipfeli are tender, buttery, sweet, baby croissant-shaped cookies, dredged in vanilla-y icing sugar.
A lot of icing sugar.
Polar bears (Eisbär, "ice bear" in German) are majestic creatures that deserve more than just the classic 80s New Wave song by the Swiss band Grauzone (no matter how awesome that song is).
They deserve to be Christmas cookies.
Gingerbread for all!
These boozy balls are ones you'll actually want to eat.
Often rum balls are made with leftovers—stale cake and cookies—but these are purpose built, using ground nuts as the base. And why ever limit yourself to just rum?
You can make them gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, even booze-free—the variety is endless.
The result of all these Samichlaus sacks is that you sometimes end up with a glut of peanuts, chocolate, and oranges. If you get tired of eating them, don't despair, chop them up and make this easy recipe with the leftovers.
In November I did a hike in the beautiful Simmental. There is a trail called the Obersimmentaler Hausweg that leads to the most notable historic farmhouses and buildings in the valley. This hike inspired me to make these chocolatey Bauernhäuser or farmhouses.
Josy's Rosinen Guetzli
These are Sam's favourite Christmas cookies. Actually, they might be Sam's favourite cookies period. Josy, his mum, always keeps a big tin at the ready over the holidays. If you need to do some last minute baking, or baking with children, this is a great choice.
The jewel of the Swiss Christmas cookie tray is surely the Spitzbuben, with its elegant dusting of powdered sugar and bright ruby centre. According to the Kulinarisches Erbe, Spitzbuben are a relatively modern cookie in Switzerland, and were likely developed and named in the 20th century. The term Spitzbub refers to a mischievous boy, and the cookies may be so named because jammy faces were originally cut into the dough.
There is no one standard Brunsli recipe. Historically, the most luxurious and expensive part of the cookie was the ground nuts. It was only during lean times that the nuts were replaced with flour. There is debate over which nuts to use, whether almonds, hazelnuts, or even walnuts. Some recipes call for grated or melted chocolate, while others depend on cocoa (and some use both). Finally, some recipes suggest the cookies are baked low in the oven and some forego baking completely and just leave them out to dry.
Today, the man in front of me at the checkout in the Coop had about seven packages of Mailänderli dough, the stuff you can roll out and bake.
The cashier smiled at him, "it's really the best Christmas cookie, gäu?"
I think most of German-speaking Switzerland would agree.