Tuesday, December 20, 2005


“BRUNSLIS“ or "bruns" (in French) are the pride of the people from Basel (Northern Switzerland) and are the obligatory traditional Christmas biscuits that people bake during this period of festivities.

Their warm chocolaty flavor is very sweet to the palate and the kirsch adds a lovely and unneglectable perfume to the dough. With their sugar coating that crunches under the teeeth and their soft chewy texture that melts beautifully in the mouth, “BRUNSLIS” are a delicacy which will overwhelm you with intense pleasure…

Makes about 30

2 Egg whites (~50g eggs)
A pinch of salt
100g Castor sugar
150g Dark cooking chocolate (40-60% cocoa)
250g Ground almonds
2-2 1/2 Tbs Kirsch
A bit of sugar to coat the biscuits

1. Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they are stiff, fluffy and standing up in well-defined peaks.
2. Progressively incorporate the sugar while still whisking the mixture.
3. Slowly melt the chocolate over a bain-marie.
4. Add to the egg white mixture.
5. Incorporate the almonds while lifting the mixture.
6. Add the Kirsch and mix carefully.
7. Wrap the dough with plastic cellophane and put in the refrigerator for a few hours.
8. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
9. Roll out the dough (1-1,2cm thickness) on lightly sugared surface.
10. Cut out shapes with the cookie cutter of your choice.
11. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
12. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

You can replace the Kirsch by an other type of distilled alcohol (ex. Cognac, Bourbon or Brandy).
Don’t worry if the dough is quite wet, that’s the way it should be.
In reality, the biscuits should dry rather than bake. Test them after 8 minutes. They should be soft and chewy in the center, so don’t overbake them.
If you wish you can also shape the “BRUNSLIS” in order to get 7-10cm long and 1cm thick sticks/logs.

Serving suggestions:
Like for all Christmas biscuits, “BRUNSLIS” are always fine at any moment with a good hot beverage.

(Brunslis -Pic by
(Xmas In Basel -Pic by


  1. Encore une recette de petits gâteaux que je garde dans mon petit tiroir.. en ce moment, comme beaucoup de gens, je fais des gâteaux différents à tour de bras.. mais ça ne va pas m'empêcher de tester ceeux-là (je ne connais pas du tout même de nom!!)

  2. Merci pour ton intérêt! Les "Bruns de Bâle" sont vraiment délicieux et pas trop compliqués à faire...

  3. mmmm, haven't tried these yet. i think when christmas rolls around i'll have to take some in to work. the genevois should appreciate them even if the cookies are from bale, right? :)

  4. RAI: I really recommend you this speciality! I'm sure the genevois should appreciate them, since they are popular Xmas cookies that you can buy in all food stores...

    DAYBYDAY4-2DAY: You are right ;-)!

  5. Rosa, my grandmother was from Switzerland, and she taught me how to cook. I make these every Christmas, only I give them an American twist - I use butter cream frosting and make them into sandwich cookies! They are everyone's favorite!!!

    Can you help me find any information on another dish I learned from my grandmother? She made rösti all the time, but she also made something that sounded like "I-rösti" or "eye-rösti". I have searched and searched the internet for any reference on this savory dish, which is made with leftover (stale) bread and egg, and can not find one - but without any idea of the correct spelling that is not surprising. (When I was a child I assumed the word rösti was spelled "Rershtey"!)

    My grandma was from Biel/Bienne, and spoke both French and German.


  6. Rosa, I just checked a German translator online and I see that ei means egg! So is this osmehting that was just adapted by my family, or do others in the canton of Bern make Ei Röschti? I Googles it and couldn't find a single recipe! E-mail me at missravennablack - at - yahoo - dot com, okay? Let's see if we can figure this out! If we can find any references or recipes, I will write down what my grandmother taught me and send you mine. :-)

  7. Je ne connais pas du tout!
    Ca à l'air vraiment bon!