This is a traditional specialty sold in many different stalls at the Herbsmesse (Autumn Fair) in Basel Switzerland.
I love to prepare this exactly during this period my family appreciate this very much! I know, the quantity sounds oversized, but it is the right portion I need for us and small presents. That gives at least 200 pieces!
The Lenten period before Christmas traditionally corresponded with the end of the Herbstmesse on Martin’s day.
During Lenten period meat and milk products are prohibited and as in old times no chocolate (with milk) was available, this recipes suits with the prescriptions.
For the preparation you will need 4 big trays to let the pieces dry until following day.
I will give you here the original recipe with metric and US converted measures.
Basler Magenbrot (Swiss Soft Gingerbread with Chocolate Glaze)
- 1000 g flour, you can use a mix with whole wheat flour (35 ounces, 8 cups)
- 1000 g sugar, white or brown sugar (35 ounces, 4 1/2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa, optional (I don’t use it)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
- 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 800 ml water, cold (3 1/3 cups)
- 300 ml water (1 1/3)
- 800 g icing sugar (28 ounces, 6 1/2 cups)
- 700 g chocolate, dark cooking chocolate broken in pieces (24 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1 pinch cardamom, ground
- 1 pinch star anise, ground
- 1 pinch nutmeg, ground
- 1 pinch cloves, ground
- Preheat the oven at 190°C
- In a big bowl combine all ingredients and mix with a blender until smooth.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper, poor the dough and spread evenly.
- Bake at 375°F/190°C for 30-40 minutes.
- Remove tray from oven, let cool down completely, cover loosely with baking paper and let sit for 8 hours or overnight.
- Cut the dough into pieces 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide.
- For the glaze combine all the ingredients a saucepot heat slowly until chocolate melts and a thick smooth chocolate sauce is formed. Reduce to minimum heat while you are coating the pieces.
- Dip your pieces of dough into the glaze in portions, remove from the glaze with a skimmer (I use an Asian one as I found out this work best, let drop for example on a grid and transfer on a tray prepared with baking paper. This step can be performed also pouring the glaze over the pieces, stirring gently to coat them well and transferring on the tray (I never tried this method!). Remaining glaze, if any, can be kept in fridge and used for cakes.
- Let dry for some hours until the glazy is dry; turn once if necessary.
- Enjoy fresh or store in an airtight containers for a few day.
Specialties from Basel: