Chocolate–Almond Spice Cookies (Basler Brunsli)

Specialties of Basel, in northern Switzerland, these chocolatey confections are often described as Swiss brownies. Almonds, sugar, and chocolate are ground fine and bound together with egg whites to create a satisfyingly chewy texture, while cinnamon and cloves impart an unmistakable flavor of old-fashioned Christmas cheer.

Chocolate–Almond Spice Cookies (Basler Brunsli) Chocolate–Almond Spice Cookies (Basler Brunsli)
Often described as Swiss brownies, these naturally gluten-free Christmas cookies are bound together with egg whites to create a satisfyingly chewy texture.
Yield: makes about 4 dozen


  • 8 oz. whole blanched almonds
  • 1 12 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 12 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 12 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten


  1. 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 18” 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.