Basler Brunsli (Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies)

The winter holidays are here! Every one we know is decorating their houses, baking treats, and buying and wrapping gifts. The last two years, we went to Brent’s parents’ house to celebrate the season, so we didn’t decorate at all and it never really felt like holidays. But this year, we’re hosting both sets of parents. So, while we haven’t exactly finished our gift shopping or planned our Christmas dinner menu, we did put up our Christmas tree a couple weeks ago. As soon as we finished it, I got a little “warm fuzzy” in my heart.

Since that evening, I have been daydreaming of Christmas cookies from my childhood. I know, though, that most of them would leave us feeling sick. Most of them. One cookie (one out of the seemingly endless kinds of cookies we helped my grandma and mother make) is naturally gluten- and dairy-free. It’s called Basler Brunsli. Originally from 16th century Switzerland, it has long been part of the holiday tradition in Germany and Austria. The main ingredients are two of my favorite things—chocolate and almonds—and the complementing spices give it a warmth and complexity of flavor that I cannot resist. Brent said, “They taste like an Oreo and a gingerbread cookie had a baby.” Honestly, I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to make these cookies before! We hope you enjoy them as much as do.