BREDELE, Miracle Holiday Cookies*
Happy New Year!
Every holiday season since I have lived in the U.S. I have made cookies with friends at home. There have been cookie parties with friends who are Swiss, French, Italian, German, Swedish… and I have enjoyed tasting and learning about each of their delicacies and the stories behind them.
Bredele, an Alsatian holiday cookie, is the one I always enjoy the most. The recipe is very simple with only a few ingredients, but they are very tasty and I never get tired of them. They are good with tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cider, spiced wine and of course with Cremant d’ Alsace, a sparkling wine of this region in the northeast of France. I have been in Alsace only once – in summer. I will never forget the great wine and food, the beautiful landscape and polite people.
I have heard many stories about Alsatian food and wine – the sausages, bacon, cheeses, wine, onion/potato tarts… and of course the many rustic but bold sweet creations. I must visit there again, but next time it should be at Christmas. Until then, I will enjoy baking Bredele while thinking about my next visit.
BREDELE, Alsatian Cinnamon-flavored Cookies
Bredele recipe adapted from The Daily Meal (12/15/2010)
Makes about 60-70 cookies
Makes about 60-70 cookies
3 ¼ cups (480g) unbleached all-purpose flour
9 ounces (250g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces at room temperature
1 ¼ cups (265g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Zest of one lemon
2 large eggs (100 g) lightly beaten in a small bowl with a pinch of salt
2 large egg whites
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
Juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the butter. With your fingers, mix the butter and flour until sandy. Add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and whole eggs. Mix well until dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 4 logs, wrap with plastic and allow to rest overnight, or refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
When ready to bake the Bredele, preheat oven to 325°F. Roll out the dough on a cold, floured surface to about 3/16-inch thickness. Cut dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies on sheet pans lined with parchment paper or silicon mats. Bake about 13-15 minutes. Remember that the lower rack in most ovens bakes faster than upper racks.
To prepare the icing:
Beat the egg whites until peaks form, but not too stiff. Add the sugar, one cup at a time, until well combined. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix well. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites, if it’s is too thin, add more sugar. The icing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days.
Note: I have been using this recipe for many years. The flavor and consistency always come out just right, however you need to roll out and cut the cookies quickly, because the dough tends to get soft fast. The cookies’ taste stays good for 3-4 days at room temperature.
*The “miracle” is a story for another time… or email me for the details ;-).