In 1957, the first Bärentatzen cookies appeared on shelves in the Migros, although this was far from the first incarnation of the chocolaty treat. With bears featuring prominently on the Bernese flags, their paws had been honoured in cookie form in the region for centuries.
For Sam, however, the Migros variety is the only version worth eating, no other brand, or lovingly prepared homemade version, will do. More about his love of these cookies, what kind of personal ad he would write, and a recipe for Bärentatzen cheesecake, here.
The French name, Coquillage, means shell, also speaking to the shape of the cookie. But the sweet image of the bear paw possibly helps make this a perennial favourite in the German-speaking realm.
This is Sam’s go-to tiramisu recipe, and it incorporates another classic Swiss product—Stalden cream (for its fascinating history, and how it is linked to the famous hotelier Cesar Ritz, see my post here).
It’s insanely quick and easy, and perfect for hot summer nights.
However, if it’s even too hot to make quick dessert but your craving for Bärentatzen is strong, Migros has you covered with their new Bärentatzen ice cream on a stick.
1 can vanilla Stalden Creme
500 g mascarpone
around 50 Bärentatzen
1 cup of coffee (around 250 ml)
a shot of booze
In a large bowl, whisk together the can of Stalden Creme and the mascarpone.
In a measuring cup, mix together the coffee and booze.
Layer the bottom of your serving dish with Bärentatzen. Douse these with the boozy coffee, then spread with some of the cream mixture. Sprinkle with cocoa powder. Repeat the layers until you run out.
Sprinkle with cocoa powder and arrange more Bärentatzen on top.
If you don't have Stalden Creme, a similar vanilla cream or pudding would probably work.
Cointreau is often used in tiramisu, or marsala wine, port, or brandy. Here I used a concoction of my own, the Emmentaler schnapps Brächere Brönnts. Add an extra shot to the mascarpone mixture, of desired.
Of course the size of the serving dish will determine how many layers you get. I used a tall, narrower one above, meaning a lot of layers, but you could also use a large shallow dish and just have a layer or two.