This year I did not prepare Christmas cookies, but know I really wished to prepare something special, something from my town (Basel, Switzerland) where it is popular in bakeries and even grocery stores.
I’ve already prepared Leckerli, or better in Swiss German “Läckerli” or “Läggerli”, several times, but it was long time ago as I prepared them. Once I also used this recipe to build a cute gingerbread house.
This year I’ve revised my old recipe and I’ve decided to propose these cookies into small bites for longer pleasure. I love to take one, let turn soft in the mouth and then melt!
These cookies are dense, quite dry and wonderfully flavored with honey (I used the honey of our bees!), spices, citrus and almonds. They are something like “hard gingerbread” combined with candied fruits; no candied ginger is included in this traditional recipe. You are free to add some if you wish!
Basler Läckerli date back to the 15th century as they were created at the time of the Basel Council (1431 to 1449) to sustain the assembled church dignitaries. The word “Läkerli” comes from “lecker” ant it meas “delicious” in German and “-li” is a diminutive suffix in the Swiss-German language.
See also the other Leckerli recipe.
Homemade Basler Leckerli - Swiss Gingerbread from Basel
- 500 g honey
- 300 g sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom ground
- 3 cloves, grounded with the mortar
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg ground
- 100 g candied lemon zest
- 100 g candied orange zest
- 200 g almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 lemon zest, grated
- 2 tablespoon “Kirsch”
- 600 g flour + about 100 g more if necessary
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
- 150 g sugar
- 100 ml water
- In a heavy pot, bring honey with sugar to boil. Remove from the heat.
- Add all the other ingredients except flour and baking powder. Mix well.
- Add half of the flour and stir to combine the hand mixer provided with dough hooks. Now add the rest of the flour and the baking powder, work with the hooks until well combined and the dough does not stick to the finger (be careful, it is hot). If necessary, add more flour.
- Turn the dough on a well-floured working surface and knead well.
- Sprinkle the dough with flour (in this way the dough will not stick on the rolling pin) and roll it out the dough out on parchment foil placed directly in the baking try. It should be about 6 mm thick. As the dough is very hard, it is easier if somebody helps you to hold the tray and the parchment foil.
- Let sit for at least one hour or best overnight.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes at 220°C in a preheated oven (or 200°C if using a convection oven).
- In the meanwhile, prepare the glaze: heat sugar with water until the sugar is melt, let simmer until the syrup turns thick and you see that at the borders of the pot the first crystals begins to form (this takes about five minutes).
- Remove from the oven and immediately cut the dough (I used the pizza cutter) rectangular pieces of about 3,5X5 cm (for the standard size) or, as in my case if you prefer into 1,5X1,5cm bites.
- Brush the still warm Läckerli with the hot glaze. At this point, the syrup should built crystals and a wonderful white shining cover will glaze the Läckerli.
- As soon as the glaze is turning white, separate the Läckerli again, let cool down and dry out completely.
- Store in airtight container up to 6 month.
Glaze (Modern variation): this replace the step “7” above!
- 250 g powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons “Kirsch”
- In while the cookies are in the oven, combine powdered sugar with water and Kirsch. If necessary, add one more tablespoon Kirsch (or water). Stir until well-combined and very thick.