It’s time to dive into the season of giving once again, and there’s no better gift than one that brings joy — such as these homemade Basel Leckerli cookies, inspired by a Swiss classic! These have been featured once before on HBA, but we’re bringing their timelessness back to the table for the holiday season.
Basel Leckerli, aka Basler Läckerli (lecker being German for “delicious”), are traditionally in the form of spiced biscuits that incorporate almond, honey, and a touch of orange citrus. While this treat is seldom made at home in Switzerland, they are truly simple to create.
It’s important to not overbake these cookies, otherwise your leckerli will become dry and brittle, which takes the ‘lecker’ out of your leckerli — and you don’t want your leckerli to be lacking. This recipe substitutes honey for brown rice syrup, but the timeless flavor remains. A critical step not to miss is preparing your own candied orange peels; trust me when I say that everyone’s tastebuds will love you for it!
Make the candied orange peel – Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outer peel of each orange in long strips. Place the peeled strips in a medium saucepan. Add two cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and return the peel to the pan. Repeat. Note – This helps to reduce the bitterness of the orange peel.
Drain and return the peel to the pan. Add the 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Drain. Discard the syrup. Spread out the peels on a cooling rack to cool and dry. When the peels are dry, place in a bowl and dust with sugar, stirring to coat. Measure out ½ cup for this recipe. Store the extra peel in a zip-loc bag in the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 300˚
Make the leckerli – In standing mixer bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a food processor grind the almonds and orange peel until very finely ground. Add to the flour mixture.
In a large saucepan, add the organic brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and sugar. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the kirsch. Pour into the flour almond mixture and blend on low until combined. Let the dough cool for 5 minutes.
Press the dough evenly into an oiled 12″ x 17″ rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes, until firm, but not dry or hard. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Invert again onto a large cutting board so the baked cookies are right side up.
Make the glaze – In a small saucepan, add the water and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Brush the glaze over the baked cookie dough until the glaze crystallizes and whitens.
Trim off the outside edges of the baked cookie then cut the cookies into 1″ x 2″ rectangles.
makes 88 cookies
CANDIED ORANGE PEEL
- 4 navel oranges
- 2 cups of organic cane sugar
- 6 cups of water
- 3 cups, minus 2 tbsp, of organic sifted flour
- 2 tsp Korintje cassia cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp Maldon salt
- 1 ½ cups dry roasted almonds
- ½ cup chopped candied orange peel (see recipe above)
- ½ cup organic brown rice syrup
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 cup of organic cane sugar
- 2 tbsp kirsch
- 1 tbsp refined coconut oil, to grease the pan
- 1 tbsp water
- ¼ cup of organic cane sugar
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar