Lurking behind many of those perfectly stacked cookies in festive tins in Swiss kitchens, is probably a recipe (or three) from Betty Bossi.
(Probably more if you’re my mother-in-law, at last count she was on cookie variety twelve with no intention of stopping soon).
It is from these books that many second-tier Swiss Christmas cookies come from. These are cookies that do not reach the ubiquity of Mäilanderli, Brunsli and Spitzbuben, but still have dedicated fans and are requested in families throughout the country.
Like these Orangenschnittli.
Over Christmas Apéro with a friend the other evening, we had a lengthy discussion about Christmas cookies (as you do) and she mentioned that these Betty Bossi orange slices were one of her favourites.
When I told Sam, he agreed and placed them in his Swiss Christmas cookie top five.
(What’s yours? I’m Zimtsterne, Brunsli, Spitzbuben, Vanillegipfeli, and Mailänderli, but only if my mum makes them. These Orangenschnitli would probably be number six…).
In any case, they’re easy, and you can even turn them into fancy dessert if you cut them in wedges.
The recipe is taken from Betty Bossi’s classic cookie book and is traditionally made in rectangular slices. I made the layers a little thicker and baked it as a round—any extra wedges can be added to your cookie tins.
400 g flour
125 g sugar
2 tsp baking powder
200 g butter, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
150 g almonds
150 g sugar
rind of one orange
125 ml orange juice (around 2 oranges)
3 tbsp marmalade
80 g icing sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
Preheat your oven to 200 C / 400 F / gas mark 6.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder.
Add the cold butter in pieces and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers until it is quite sandy. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until it comes together into a dough.
Split into two pieces and wrap in plastic. Keep in the fridge until you have your filling ready.
Mix together the almonds, sugar, rind, and juice.
Roll out each half of the dough into a round. Press one half into a 24 cm (9 inch) baking form. Spread with the marmalade, then the filling. Place the other round on top. Very lightly score wedges into the dough.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden.
Whisk together the icing sugar and juice. Pour over while the cookie is still slightly warm.
Let cool, then cut into wedges.
The marmalade is not included in the original recipe, but I think it gives a nice, slightly bitter bite to the filling.
The original recipe call for the cookies to be sliced into rectangles. If you’d prefer that, roll the dough out two large rectangles each around 25 x 30 cm (10 x 12 inches), place on a baking sheet, and fill as indicated above.