Mailänderli – Lemon Scented Swiss Christmas Cookies
Mailänderli are one of the quintessential Swiss Christmas cookies. The are just slightly sweet and appeal also to the folks in your life that don’t particularly have a sweet tooth. As kids we would eagerly await when my Mom would make these, and we’d help, help making the cutouts, mainly in the center of the freshly rolled out area (I am sure to my Mom’s delight) and of course, help eat the dough 🙂 To this day, my favorite cookie dough ever. It’s an awesome cookie to make with your little ones, just chill the dough well in between rolling out, since little helpful fingers and the extra time it takes doing this with kids, will warm it up and the Mailänderli dough gets sticky when warm.
Traditionally these are just brushed with egg yolk, hence the pretty yellow color. But you can also bake them as is, and decorate them after they are cold (I used to do this with my babysitting kids, just like my Mom used to with us) by brushing them with a glaze made from a couple of tablespoons confectioners sugar and a few teaspoons lemon juice or water, and a squeeze of beet juice for color (or food coloring, your choice). Add chocolate coffee beans, sprinkles or silver decorating pearls.
- 2 sticks butter, unsalted
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 lemon, grated peel
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 1/4 cups + 1 tbsp flour
- 1 egg yolk for glaze
- Stir butter until soft and creamy
- Add sugar and stir until well mixed and there are little ‘bubbles’ forming on the bottom of the bowl
- Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until mixed
- Add salt and lemon zest, then sift flour into mixture, stirring between additions. (The dough will seem rather soft for rolling out at this point) From into a ball, cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight
- Roll half the dough out on a little flour until a little over 1/4″ thick. Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on lined baking sheet
- Place the sheet in the cold for a few minutes (specially if you are making cookies with kids) then brush the surface with the egg yolk and bake 6-10 minutes in the middle of the 400°F oven, or until just lightly golden brown on the bottom and the tops are shiny and yellow.
For a list of some other ones to try go to Traditional Swiss Christmas Cookies.
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