My husband grew up in Switzerland, land of mountains, Alpenhorns, and village mushroom experts. One Christmas early in our marriage, he mentioned how much he missed the Swiss biberli cookies he used to enjoy at the holidays. Without realizing exactly what I was in for, I excitedly offered to bake some for him.

Ten years and dozens and dozens of okay-but-not-quite-right cookies later, the food critic approved the recipe and now our kids get to enjoy Swiss biberli cookies at the holidays, too. And I’m even allowed to share them with the neighbors! Here’s the recipe. (They’re a little fussy to make, but so worth it. I usually double this recipe.)

Swiss Biberli Cookies

Cookie Filling:
1 7-oz tube almond paste or marzipan
2 Tbsp apricot jam
1 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp lemon oil in 1 tsp water (or 1 tsp lemon juice and rind of 1/2 lemon)

Mix all ingredients and chill in refrigerator or freezer.

Cookie dough:
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup white wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves

In large bowl, cream the butter then add sugar, egg and molasses. In separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add baking soda to boiling water, then alternate the addition of dry ingredients and water to the butter mixture until dough is smooth. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.

Drop dough by teaspoon onto cookie sheet and spread into 2 inch circles, leaving 1-2 inches between cookies. Add flattened spoonful of filling to top of dough circles, then cover with second spoonful of cookie dough, spreading dough around the edges to cover the filling completely. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies. Once cooled, serve with milk…or dip the cookies in chocolate…or add a sugar glaze…or drizzle melted chocolate over the tops (as in the photo above). Yum! Happy Holidays!

Swiss biberli cookies