Here in Switzerland, if you only bake one cookie around Christmas, this is likely to be the one! Its name – Spitzbuben – roughly translated, means “Cheeky Boy”, and is taken from the word that originated in the 16th century meaning “trickster” or “con-man”.
My husband and I had a baking time together today, and this is one of three traditional cookies we made; I’ll share the others with you over the next two weeks.
Spitzbuben dough needs to be rolled out fairly thin, because the final product will be double-layered; we rolled it out to 3mm. Half of the cookies are then cut out whole, and half are cut out with a hole in the centre – a “window” to see the filling through. There are special cutters for this procedure here, but you can simply use a larger and a smaller cutter, well-centred, if you don’t have such cutters available or on-hand.
~ 200 gr. Clear jelly or jam (7 oz.)
Whip the butter until smooth, then add the sugar, vanilla & salt, & whip until the mixture is light. Beat the egg, & add to the mixture, & then slowly add the flour while stirring, until the mixture is light & smooth. Cover, & chill 1 hour. About 10 minutes before rolling, remove from fridge. On a lightly-floured surface, roll dough flat (3 mm). Cut with forms of Ø 4–5 cm. Half of the cookies should have a design cut out of their centres (for the top half of the cookies). Lay the cookies on a papered–tray. Bake @ 200°C ~ 6 – 8 minutes, cool for 15 minutes. (They should be fairly pale; it doesn’t take much for them to become too dark, as this dough doesn’t tend to go “golden brown”.)
The dough will rise slightly; turn the bottom halves over once they’re cooled, and they have created natural little “bowls ” to hold the jelly! Spread a bit of the jelly (make sure it’s clear, without chunks of fruit in it) on the bottom half (~1 tsp.), and set aside. When the top halves are ready, dust them with powdered sugar, and then place one top on each prepared base.
Serve with a glass of cold milk!