Basler brunsli are Swiss cookies made with finely ground almonds, chocolate, egg white and spices. The cinnamon and clove give them a gingerbread-like vibe, with a texture that transitions from slightly chewy right out of the oven to crisp after they’ve cooled. And – if there are dietary restrictions – they are gluten free! (That is quite the rarity on this blog.)
These are one of my favourite cookies to make during the holidays – they are spiced and chocolate-y but not too chocolatey (though that might only be a good thing to me), and the recipe makes a lot which is handy depending on how many people you’re planning to feed. That being said, while these are a favourite, they’re also one of the more troublesome recipes! After having made these cookies a couple times, I’ve accumulated a enough troubleshooting tips that this cookie recipe warrants its own post.
This dough is quite soft and a bit trickier to work with. If you’re having difficulty picking up the cut cookies (ex they are deforming, tearing or sticking to the parchment), try these troubleshooting questions:
- Did you sprinkle the parchment paper with granulated sugar? Just like flour, that acts to help keep the dough from sticking to the parchment.
- How thick did you roll out the dough? Try to roll the dough to about ¼” or approximately 0.5cm, but no thinner. Thinner than that is possible (especially if you sprinkle the parchment with plenty of sugar), but the cookies will be more delicate and difficult to pick up.
- Are you using a small offset spatula? Using an offset spatula really helps in loosening and picking up the cookies. In terms of technique, use a small amplitude back and forth sliding motion to slip the offset spatula blade below all the corners of the cookie to loosen them. Only then, try to lift up the cookie. This will prevent any torn edges!
- Is there dough building up on the edges of the offset spatula? The dough is rather sticky so it can be helpful to clean off the offset spatula occasionally.
Adapted from Saveur, with a bit of reduction in the sugar. These cookies have sold me on the combination of spices and chocolate! When first baked these cookies have a bit of a chew which then transitions to a snap.
- 112g almond meal
- 80g granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- pinch kosher salt
- 84g very dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 egg white
Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Process the almonds, sugar, salt and spices together briefly in a food processor to mix. Add the chocolate and pulse until finely ground. Add the egg white and process until a dough is formed.
Sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper with a spoonful or two of granulated sugar. Scrape the dough out onto the parchment. Top with a second sheet of parchment paper and roll the dough out to 1/8”.
Cut out shapes with a 4.5cm diametre star-shaped cookie cutter and transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. The dough is soft and sticky which makes this a bit challenging. Begin by using a small offset spatula to loosen the cookie from the parchment paper and use that to lift the cookies onto the parchment-lined tray. If you’re having difficulty transferring the cookies, consult the troubleshoot steps above in the blog post! The cookies do not spread so they can be arranged very close together in order to fit all of them.
Collect the remaining scraps of dough and roll them into a ball. Sprinkle the parchment paper with a bit more granulated sugar and roll out the ball of dough to cut out more cookies. Repeat until most of the dough is used.
Sprinkle the cookies with granulated sugar. Let the cookies dry, uncovered and at room temperature, for 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 300F. Bake the cookies for 12-15 min, rotating partway through the bake, or until they are slightly puffed, dry, and they lift away from the parchment paper below.