Basler Läckerli (or Leckerli, if your keyboard doesn’t do umlauts) is a traditional Swiss spiced cookie bar that is just perfect on a cool autumn afternoon with a cup of tea.
This particular version comes from the canton of Basel, but plenty of other variations are out there. Whole or chopped almonds, hazelnuts, different spice blends… it seems that every village has their own way of doing it. But this is the one I fell in love with, and it will always have my heart!
Läckerli are quite hard and chewy right after baking, but soften with time. They will keep well for up to two months in an airtight container, and they just get better with age!
Makes about 30 pieces
Preparation: 30 minutes
Baking: 15 minutes
Cooling: 1 hour
300g (2 2/5 cups, spooned and scraped) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
225g (8 oz or 3/5 cup) liquid honey
150g (3/4 cup) granulated (white) sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
50g (4 Tbsp) finely chopped candied orange peel
50g (4 Tbsp) finely chopped candied lemon peel
100g (1 cup) ground almonds
zest of 1 lemon
50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 tsp) kirsch
75g (3/5 cup) confectioner’s sugar
45ml (3 Tbsp) additional kirsch or water
Preheat oven to 220°C / 430°F / Gas Mark 7 1/2, and grease or line a large baking sheet.
Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
Combine honey, sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, heat gently while stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved, then remove from heat.
Add candied orange peel, candied lemon peel, ground almonds, lemon zest and kirsch, and stir until well combined.
Add flour and baking powder, and mix together with a wooden spoon or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until combined.
While the dough is still warm, press it out onto the baking sheet approximately 7mm (1/4″) thick.
Bake for about 15 minutes in the centre of the oven until deep golden brown.
Mix confectioner’s sugar and additional kirsch or water (it should be quite thin), and brush generously over the top while still hot.
Trim the edges and cut into serving-sized pieces, about 5 x 3cm / 2 x 1 1/2″ (a lot of mine ended up square or close to it… but I don’t think it matters), transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Store for up to two months in an airtight container.