Basel brunsli (basel chocolate-spice cookies)

Yield: 2 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1¼ cup Blanched whole almonds (about 7 ounces)
1½ cup Powdered sugar
3½ tablespoon Unsweetened cocoa powder
2½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon Ground cloves
3 ounces Bitterswet (not unsweetened) or swmisweet
Chocolate, chopped fairly fine
¼ teaspoon (generous) almond extract
2 larges Egg whites
2 To 5 Tbl confectioners' sugar for rolling out cookies

Heat oven to 325F. Line several baking sheets with aluminum foil.

In a food processor, process the almonds and 1 cup powdered sugar until the almonds are powder-fine but not oily; stop the processor and scrape down the sides several times. Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, cloves, and chocolate; continue processing until the chocolate is finely ground. Add the remaining ½ cup powdered sugar, the almond extract, and egg whites; process until the mixture is blended and just forms a mass. Set the dough aside for 5 to 10 minutes to stiffen slightly.

Generously dust a work surface with powdered sugar. If the dough seems too soft to roll out easily, dust it with more sugar and knead until the consistency is manageable, but avoid adding any more sugar than absolutely necessary. Roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness, lifting it with a spatula frequently and redusting the surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Cut out the cookies using a 2¼-inch heart-shaped (or similar) cutter. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

Bake the cookies for 9 to 12 minutes or until almost firm on top and slightly puffy. Let them stand on the foil lined baking sheets until completely cooled. Peel from the foil. Store airtight for 3 to 4 days.

Freeze, airtight, for longer storage.

Makes about forty 2 ¼-inch cookies.

[THE BALTIMORE SUN; November 25. 1990] Posted by Fred Peters.

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