Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Swiss Christmas baking

First of a great big thank you to Elaina over at "A little bit country" for kindly mentioning my blog. There is so much kindness in blog world. A big welcome also to new readers that have popped in and said hello in the comments box. I cherish every single comment!

I am slowly getting used to being at home rather than at work and already I start to wonder how I managed all the Christmas baking in my spare time in the past..... I spent two mornings making traditional Swiss Christmas biscuits. I think they are biscuits? The English baking vocabulary is not one that I have mastered completely yet.

Must not get side tracked.

My list is always the same:
  • Spitzbuebe,
  • Mailänderli,
  • Brunsli,
  • Pfeffernüsse,
  • Zimtsterne,
  • Chräbeli, and
  • Gewürzplätzli.
There is really no good translation for any of those apart from maybe the Zimtsterne, which are cinnamon stars. The list is not exhaustive, there are many more recipes but these are my favourites.

I have the first 5 so far and might make the other ones tomorrow. My favourites are the Spitzbuebe. An approximate translation for these would be "naughty boys (but naughty in a nice way). They look like Jammy Dodgers but do not taste anything like them. They are so buttery that they melt in the mouth, literally, and I could eat my own body weight of Spitzbuebe any day (which is considerable btw). I made the dough yesterday, it is too soft to work when fresh and needs to be chilled for a while.

I like my Christmas biscuits to be small and dainty and I have a selection of special cutters for all of them. I have so many cutters that I don't know where to store them all... The cutter for the Spitzbuebe is circle with exchangeable middles. I have heart, round and cross shaped middles.

I like to eat the little hearts/rounds/crosses but was more restrained today than usual (or not as greedy?).

  After baking, I generously spread the bottoms with jam or jelly, depending on what is in the cupboard. Today I used redcurrant jelly I made in June. I prefer jelly over jam, it makes it easier to stick the two parts together and I don't like seeds and bits in those delicate biscuits.

The recipe for the Spitzbuebe is here:
  1. Cream together 250 g of soft unsalted butter with 150 g caster sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add one egg white (not beaten), a pinch of salt and 2 tsp of vanilla essence
  3. Mix in 350 g of plain flour
  4. Knead gently and then rest in the fridge for a good few hours (or until all the washing is folded, sheets have been changed, dishwasher emptied)
  5. Roll the dough out thinly (2 - 3 mm) on a little flour and cut into rounds.
  6. For the lid, cut a smaller shape into the rounds
  7. Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 8 to 10 minutes. The biscuits should still be pale. As they are really thin, they easily burn and it is best not to get distracted by children or pets or postmen
  8. Choose your favourite jam/jelly and add a small amount to the bottoms, place lids on top and squeeze together.
I am sure there is a source for this recipe somewhere but I can't remember, I have noted it down in my own recipe book ages ago. Maybe it was my mums?

And here are the other 4 beauties I made so far, flanking the naughties:

Brunsli, Zimtsterne, Spitzbuebe, Pfeffernüsse and Mailänderli. I really hate making the little stars but forget every year that I do and start all over again, remembering when it is too late to stop. They are terribly sticky and need to be painted with a meringue mixture...

I might just go to the kitchen now and make the dough for the Chräbeli. These are funny shaped things that need to rest over night once shaped to create a "foot" of sorts. I'll add a picture once they are made!

Have a lovely Wednesday evening! Cx


  1. Oh Christina your baking is to die for! I am going to try those Spitzbuebe - they look very moreish indeed! There is something absolutely wonderful about European Christmas baking - all those different types and shapes of spicy biscuits - yummy, if fiddly to make which is part of why they are a treat I suppose! E x
    Ps have you got my parcel yet?- I do hope so! Sorry it will in part be sending coals to Newcastle or Eulen nach Athen as I think the German version has it!

  2. Ooo these look scrumptious! I love the sweet heart ones.
    I've just popped over from Elaina's, it's lovely to meet you x

  3. Your biscuits look delicious! I wish I had more time to cook so many little dainty things. It's a lovely tradition to cook the same things every year x

  4. All of your cookies are beautiful and I am sure they are delicious. Thank you for sharing.


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