Swiss Mailänderli Cookies (Mailaenderli)

These cookies (pronounced ” ‘my-land-er-lee”) are one of the traditional Swiss Christmas cookies (along with Spitzbuben and Zitronmöndli), and are very similar to English and American sugar cookies, though they are less crumbly than the latter’s.

Mailänderli - Credit, Tagesanzeiger Newspaper

Mailänderli.  Image Credit: Tagesanzeiger, Swiss Newspaper

Swiss Mailaenderli

250 gr. whipped butter (9 oz.)
250 gr. Sugar (9 oz.)
3 eggs
3–4 Tbs. milk
1 pinch of salt
1 grated lemon peel
500 gr. Flour (18 oz.)

Mix together until smooth.
Roll dough to 3–4 mm thickness, cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
Paint with the egg yolk. *
Before baking, place in a cool place for ~ 30 minutes–1 hour.**
Bake @ 200 °C for 10 minutes, bottom rack.

*They are brushed with egg yolk before baking to give them the typical golden top, and are usually served plain, without icing, though if you want to top them with icing, add a drop or two of milk or water to powdered sugar to make a fairly stiff icing, and spread a dab on the top of each with a spoon.

**This is traditionally recommended, to help them keep their shapes better. If you don’t have the time, you can chill them ~10 minutes, or just bake straight away, though they tend to spread more if they go in the oven warm.

En Guete!

Swiss Zitronenmöndli (Little Lemon Moon) Cookies

Merry Christmas, everyone!

The Swiss Zitronenmöndli is one of the traditional Christmas cookies here (along with Spitzbuben and Mailänderli).  In High German they are called “Zitronenmöndchen” ; both the -li and -chen are diminutive forms for nouns in the two different dialects (at least in the dialect used around here, in the Zürich area).  These cookies, as their name suggests, are usually cut into the shapes of moons, and glazed with a simple lemon glaze; the finely-ground almonds replace the need for flour.  Sometimes you’ll see them decorated with chopped pistachio nuts, though that is a more modern addition to the traditional recipe; you could also sprinkle lightly-roasted almond slivers over the glaze.

Left to right: Mailänderli; Zitronenmöndli; Spitzbuben

Left to right: Mailänderli; Zitronenmöndli; Spitzbuben

Swiss Zitronenmöndli

350 gr. ground almonds (12 oz.)
200 gr. Sugar (7 oz.)
1 pinch salt
2–3 lemons, peeling grated
1½ fresh egg whites, lightly beaten

Stir all together gradually & thoroughly. On a bit of powdered sugar, roll the dough out to 7 mm thick (¼”). Cut out various sized moons, spread out onto a baking papered tray. Let sit 5–6 hours or overnight at room temperature, to dry out [This step is traditional, but unnecessary in my experience; if the dough is stiff enough to cut neatly, it should hold its shape in the oven fairly well].

Bake in the middle of a 325°F preheated oven, 8–10 minutes. To decorate, brush still–warm cookies with the lemon glaze, then sprinkle a bit of the grated lemon peeling over the top of the glaze while still moist.

Lemon Glaze:

~2 tsp. Lemon juice
150 gr. Powdered sugar (5 oz.)

Stir together until the glaze reaches a thick consistency. Go easy on the liquid, or you’ll need a ton of sugar to get the right consistency!

Swiss Spitzbuben Cookies

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 cuttersSpitzbuben 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.


250 gr. butter (9 oz)Spitzbuben
125 gr. sugar or powdered sugar (5 oz.)
2 tsp. vanilla sugar, or vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
1 egg white
350 gr. flour (12 oz.)


~ 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!

En Guete!




Coconut Macaroons with Cranberries

Coconut Macaroons with CranberriesThese are my husband’s favourite winter cookies, and he’s not a big sweets-eater so that means something!  I make these with slightly less sugar, but adjust it according to your own tastes.  The cranberries add a lovely tart counter-taste to the coconut.

Coconut Macaroons with Cranberries

4 egg whites

1+ 1/2 C. sugar

4 C. flaked coconut

1 C. finely chopped dried cranberries

More sugar for rolling

Beat the eggs until they form soft peaks when you lift the beater. You should save the egg yolk for later use.  Next add the sugar slowly, beating every time. Then mix in the coconut.  Sprinkle some sugar on your palms. Then take a small piece of dough & roll it into a ball ~ 1″ diameter. Continue doing that until there is no more dough left.  Or, as I do when I want even and neat macaroons, use a small melon baller.  Arrange the balls on the baking sheets. Bake @ 160°C (320°F) ~ 16 – 18 minutes on papered trays until they are light brown. The cookies should be soft on the inside so don’t over–bake them.  Cool on a wire rack.