A gluten free Christmas cookie that looks cute and super simple to make. This chewy chocolate orange spiced cookie recipe was first spotted in my Ottolenghi  Simple cookbook. I have since discovered (thanks Google) it is a traditional celebratory Swiss cookie called Brunsli (meaning little brown cookie) from Basler, Switzerland, dating back to 1800's. Popular and most loved at Christmas but delicious to bake and eat all year round. Having experimented with what spice I had in the cupboard, my mixed spiced version tastes delicious. Great to make as Christmas gifts for friends or co-workers. They keep for 5 days in a sealed container, but I doubt they will last that long (unless you hide them). The dough is suitable for freezing for up to a month, if baking still frozen add a little extra time.

Makes 18 large stars or 30 small stars

Ingredients

  • 270g ground almonds
  • 250g castor sugar (plus extra to sprinkle)
  • 40g sifted icing sugar
  • 40g sifted cocoa powder
  • 1 orange - grated to get zest 1 tsp
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • pinch salt (optional)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Place all the dry ingredients in your large bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Add the vanilla and egg whites, and mix on a medium speed for a few minutes until the biscuit dough forms.
  3. Remove the dough from your bowl, shape it into a flat disc, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, until firm.
  4. Take the plastic wrap off your dough and place between two sheets of parchment paper and  roll the dough to roughly 3mm thick. You may need to remove the paper on the final few rolls to check if the dough is even. Tip - Sprinkle your hands, and or the dough and your rolling pin with cocoa powder to avoid the dough sticking.
  5. Cut the cookies with your star cutter or another desired shape.
  6. Place the cut cookies onto a lined baking tray, spaced evenly apart. Re-roll the scraps of dough until all your dough has been used.
  7. For decoration - sprinkle the top of the cookies either before or after baking.        (I have done both ways and they both end up looking similar).
  8. Preheat your oven to 170˚c fan.
  9. Once heated, bake the cookies for 8 minutes if you like them chewy and gooey or 10-12 minutes for a crunchier cookie.
  10. Allow the cookies to rest for 10 minutes before munching.
  11. If you're lucky to have any leftover, store the cookies in an airtight container for 1 week. (you can freeze your dough for up to a month)

*Tip - the second time I baked these they were thinner, so I reduced the cooking time to 8 minutes and they were perfectly crispy on the edges and still soft and gooey in the middle. It is better to under cook than over cook.