Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Also known as “Milanais“ (in French) or “Milanese” (in Italian), these biscuits were originally native of Italy (Milan). The original “MAILANDER” had been adapted and modified in order to meet our limited choice of ingredients as well as our cultural habits. The Italian version was prepared with almonds and candied fruits, but as we weren’t used to have such ingredients in our traditional Swiss confections, they were taken away. And contrarily to us, the Italians ate those biscuits all year round and not uniquely for Christmas like we do in Switzerland.

“MAILANDER” are magnificently crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and are very seducing taste-wise although they are simple cookies. The addition of lemon zest gives them a beautiful and delicate perfume, thus adding a little fancy twist to their delectable roundness of taste. You’ll find out that they go very fast and will not last very long, so you’d better try them out now as you’ll not regret baking such heavenly biscuits…

Makes around 40 biscuits

250g Unsalted butter
240g Castor sugar
A pinch of salt
3 Eggs (~50g)
The zest of 1 lemon
500g Plain white flour
1 Egg yolk
1 Tsp water

1. Cream the butter, add the sugar and eggs one after another. Beat well the mixture until it is smooth in consistency.
2. Add the salt and lemon zest.
3. Incorporate the flour until you get a soft dough.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic cellophane and refrigerate for a few hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
6. Roll out the dough (7mm thickness) on a lightly floured surface.
7. Cut out shapes with the cookie cutters of your choice.
8. Place cut out shapes on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
9. Brush the tops with the egg yolk and water mixture.
10. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Do not knead the dough, otherwise the biscuits would be too hard. You have carefully to work the dough like shortcrust pastry (see the shortcrust recipe in the “sweets” category of my blog).
The “MAILANDER” should not be rolled out too thinly nor too thickly, therefore you should rigorously respect the instructions.
If you wish you can cut out the biscuits with a hole in the center so that you can hang them on the Christmas tree.

Serving suggestions:
Eat these "MAILANDER" with a good cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate at any time of the day.

(Mailander -Pic by www.gastronomias.com)
(Milan -Pic by Letizia Falini
(Milander Getting Brushed -Pic by www.cooperation-online.ch)


  1. I make these for Christmas but I frost them with a simple powdered sugar frosting made with the juice of the lemon you zested and some powdered sugar. I color the frosting and drizzle it on. It adds a nice lemon pop!