Though not quite as delicious as the Festive Special, these pretzel adorned Swiss Chalets are delightful to look at and fun to make.
This post describes the cookie baking and gives some tips for decorating, but isn't a step-by-step guide—structurally you can make templates in whatever shapes and sizes you would like. The cookie recipe is Martha Stewart's Dark-Chocolate Cutout Cookies, which makes stable and delicious cookies.
180 g flour
70 g cocoa powder
1 tbsp ground coffee
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
165 g butter, soft
170 g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, coffee, and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and beat well. Beat in the vanilla.
Add the dry to wet and gently stir together.
Separate the dough into two discs and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
You will need some very simple cardboard templates to cut out the pieces—these can be in any shape you'd like. One square template and one pointed template are enough to make a house—you will need to cut out two pointy sides (front and back of the house) and four squares (sides and roof). See below for an example.
When ready to roll and bake
Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / gas mark 4
Roll out dough to desired thickness (the thinner you roll them, the harder the cookies) and cut out the cookies with your templates.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until you can smell them and the tops are firm.
Use this as glue to decorate and assemble your house on your chosen base (the upside down lid of a cookie tin works wonderfully). Often it is easier to decorate the pieces first, then glue them together. Decorate at will.
- The pictured template squares are 9cm by 9cm, and the pointy bit is 14cm tall. The cookie dough in this recipe is enough for two little chalets at this size.
- Toasted almonds make wonderfully authentic looking roof shingles. I find it easier to cover your cookies before assembling the house.
- Use long, stick pretzels for the shingles along the sides. I find it easier to cover your cookies with pretzels before assembling the house.
- The best base to assemble your chalets on is the overturned lid of a cookie tin. First glue down your house with icing, then flood the rest with royal icing.
- I used actual cuttings from pine boughs, turned upside down, to make the pine trees.
- Pearl sugar can be sprinkled over everything at the end.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog figurine was part of my daughter's Swiss farm animal set that she got from her Gotti in her Advent calendar. Perfect watchdog for a Swiss Chalet.