Basler Brunsli – Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies

One of our friends is gluten-free.  This presents somewhat of a challenge to me as a baker since I am just fine with gluten and rarely give it a second thought.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and is off-limits for those with wheat allergy or celiac disease. It is also the magical ingredient that provides cohesiveness to dough and is easily taken for granted by me, the non-gluten-free baker.

Our gluten-free girl recently came to dinner and I decided to finally tackle this type of baking.  I had recently read an article in Saveur on favorite holiday cookies from around the world. Switzerland’s entry was for Basler Brunsli, also known as a chocolate-almond spice cookie.  No flour in this recipe – a cookie everyone can enjoy.

It certainly sounded promising– almonds, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and chocolate. Chewy texture and the “unmistakable flavor of old-fashioned Christmas cheer.” Well, alright then.

However, I cannot lie. This was one frustrating cookie and I almost scrapped it in favor of something, anything, that was not baked.

The dough is very tricky and needed, I don’t know, some flour to help hold things together. Determined not go give up, I found that working in small batches and keeping the excess dough in the freezer was the key to success.

Overall, the Basler Brunsli is actually quite nice and resembles a chewy chocolatey spicy brownie. A nice ending to a gluten-free dinner for a guest that I hope returns on many occasions in the near future.

Basler Brunsli – (Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies)

Saveur, Issue #134


8 oz. whole blanched almonds

1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for rolling

6 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

2 egg whites, lightly beaten


Finely grind almonds and sugar in a food processor. Add chocolate; pulse until finely ground. Add cinnamon, cloves, and egg whites; pulse to make a dough.

Sprinkle a large piece of parchment paper with sugar; transfer dough to paper. Lay another piece of paper over dough; roll dough to 1/8″ thickness.

Cut out cookies with star-shaped cutters; transfer to parchment paper—lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 1″ apart. Reroll scraps and repeat. Let dough dry for 3 hours.

Heat oven to 300°. Bake until cookies are slightly puffed, 12–15 minutes. Let cool.



1 Comment

Filed under Cookies

One response to “Basler Brunsli – Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies

  1. I couldn’t decide whether to comment on the delicious looking green chili or almond biscotti. These chocolate almond spice cookies are not only beautiful but sound delicious too. I will have to try this recipe sometime. Thanks so much for sharing!

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