|Chewy, chocolate-almond Brunsli originate from Basel, Switzerland|
The holiday season in Switzerland officially starts on December 6 - Saint Nicholas Day. Good children are greeted by Samichlaus (Santa Claus) who gives them sweets and nuts. Naughty children are greeted by Schmutzli, an alarming figure who carries them off in a big sack.
The Swiss take their Christmas cookie making (Guetzli) seriously and spend the month of December trying out different recipes. Each region has its favorites. One of the most popular is “Brunsli,” a chocolate almond spice cookie that originates from the town of Basel, located in the north, just across the border from both France and Germany. Brunsli cookies are typically heart-shaped, symbolizing the spirit of the season.
Ground almonds, sugar and chocolate are bound together with beaten egg whites to produce a satisfying, chewy texture and the spices give Brunsli a distinctive holiday flavor. Most recipes are low-fat and gluten free. Here are a few links to recipes: