Resting time: 1 hour
Baking time: Under 30 minutes
Läckerli were created during the Council of Basel (1431-1449) for the church representatives. The name, from the German lecker (delicious), came about in 1720, to refer to these little square cookies that are a cousin to gingerbread. In fact, they can be spice-based, containing cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, or made from honey, almonds and dried fruits. Usually served to celebrate the new year, they have become iconic in Basel. Aficiondados have a special technique for eating them: they break them into little pieces and let them dissolve on the tongue.
The läckerli can be stored for 4-5 weeks in a tightly-closed container if you like them hard and dry. If you prefer them softer, keep them in a lightly closed box, or add a slice of apple to the box for a day or two and then remove it.
- In a saucepan, stir the honey and sugar over medium heat. Add all the ingredients except the kirsch and flour; heat. Add the kirsch and flour. Transfer to a work surface and knead to form the dough.
- Divide the dough in two and roll out each piece while still warm on lightly floured parchment paper to a 6 mm thickness.
- Place each sheet of dough on a cookie sheet and let rest for 1 hour.
- Bake the two halves separately for 15-18 minutes in the middle of a preheated 220° C/450° oven, or together at 200°/400° F in a convection oven. Immediately cut the dough into 3.5 x 5 cm rectangles.
Icing and finishing
- Bring the water and sugar to a boil and reduce for about 5 minutes to form a syrup.
- Brush the warm läckerli with the hot icing. Allow to cool and harden.
Photo and collaboration: Swissmilk
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