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This weeks recipe is Swiss Chocolate Spiced Biscuits otherwise known as Basler Brunsli. Traditionally they are made with cinnamon and cloves and a Swiss person will tell you that they should only be eaten at Christmas, however by changing the spices they can definitely be eaten all year round! As the name suggests they originate from Basel, 'brun' means brown and 'li' means little! They are naturally gluten free and dairy free as well as being satisfyingly chewy!
I stumbled across this recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's new book Ottolenghi Simple. With my dietary requirements, I often find recipe books slightly disappointing as a lot of the recipes are hard to adjust to be gluten and dairy free. But I was excited to discover that so many of Ottolenghi’s new recipes were naturally free from gluten and dairy or very easy to adjust - simple even!
I've only tried a few dishes from the book and I have a long list that I’m dying to make, but the best one I’ve tried so far has to be the cabbage with lemon and pecorino. It sounds strange but honestly, it is the most delicious side dish I’ve ever had! As a side note, I should probably tell you that I am one of those lucky people that while I cannot eat dairy from cows, I am able to eat sheep and goat dairy. This makes a lot of recipes far easier to adapt than for someone that can't have any type of dairy.
Unlike normal Brunsli cookies, Ottolenghi uses Chinese five spice rather than cinnamon and cloves which makes them a little less festive. I personally found the recipe is slightly too heavy on the Chinese five spice so I have cut back the amount in the recipe to let the orange shine through.
And now to the recipe itself…
Heat oven to 170° C
Put the almonds, granulated sugar, icing sugar, cocoa powder, orange zest, Chinese 5-spice and salt into a bowl. Using a a free standing mixer or hand mixer with a dough hook, mix on a medium speed until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Add the egg whites and vanilla and mix for a further 1-2 minutes until it comes together into a ball.
On a clean surface shape the dough into a 3cm thick circle, wrap in cling film and put it in the fridge for an hour to rest.
Unwrap the dough from the cling film and place between two bits of parchment paper (40 x 40cm). Roll out into a circle so the dough is 1 ½ cm thick. Using a 7cm star shaped cutter, cut out the stars and place on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Use up all the dough.
Sprinkle the stars with the 10g of granulated sugar then bake in the oven for 12 minutes. The bottoms should be crisp and the centre soft. Leave to cool.
To see the original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi click here