A holiday tradition in Switzerland, these delicately spiced chocolate cookies are soft and chewy, unlike many rolled cookies that are crisp from edge to edge. Containing no flour and naturally gluten-free (for more gluten-free recipes, see here), basler brunsli are loaded with chocolate and ground almonds and bound with just a couple egg whites. To make our flourless dough drier and therefore easier to work with, we employed powdery-fine confectioners’ sugar in place of much of the granulated sugar. In addition, we skipped melting the chocolate; instead, we treated it like a dry ingredient, grinding it in the food processor along with the others. Three tablespoons of cocoa powder amped up the chocolate flavor without adding any moisture. It’s traditional to roll out basler brunsli dough on a counter sprinkled with sugar, but this method prevented us from being able to reroll the delicious scraps; instead we dunked each side of the cut cookies in a dish of sugar. Rechill the dough scraps if necessary before rerolling in step 4.
- Yield: 42 cookies
- 1¾ cups slivered almonds
- 1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) granulated sugar, plus ½ cup for coating
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Process almonds and confectioners’ sugar in food processor until almonds are very finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add chocolate, ¼ cup granulated sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt and process until chocolate is finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add egg whites and vanilla and pulse until dough forms, about 10 pulses.
- Transfer dough to piece of parchment paper and knead gently to form smooth ball. Let dough sit until no longer sticky, about 10 minutes. Top with second piece of parchment and roll dough ¼ inch thick. Transfer dough, still between parchment, to refrigerator and let chill for 10 minutes.
- Spread remaining ½ cup granulated sugar in shallow dish. Using 2-inch star cutter, cut dough into stars, gathering and rerolling scraps as necessary. Dip both sides of each star in granulated sugar to coat; space stars 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake until puffed and cracked but centers are still soft, 13 to 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving.