Valentine’s Day Cookies

So sweet of me, I know—to bake cookies and then ship them far, far away and beyond…to Lima. Little did I know that this modest, little Valentine’s gesture would cost $23 JUST TO SHIP.

I’m kind of worried that in the 10 days it will take these cookies to reach Peru, they will have hardened, broken and become almost inedible. When I think about the surprised look on his face when he finds this package from me, however, none of that really matters. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Super easy to whip up, I don’t have too much to say about this Swiss cookie recipe. The one thing I learned—the hard way—is to NOT OVERBAKE. They are egg white-based, so it seems only logical that they would bake up pretty quickly. Duh. Well, I didn’t think of that and was only watching for light browning. As a result, my cookies came out slightly firmer than I would have preferred. Then again, I’ve never made these before, so maybe they’re meant to be a little crunchy?

After baking and cooling, I iced some cookies with a simple frosting and also sandwiched a few together with a layer of blackberry jam.

Tasty, little cookies—I like the nutty-gritty texture from the ground almonds and the citrusy twang from the lemon zest, but am not in love with the crunch, though this is probably my fault for over-baking. (-_-“) I’m hoping the ones with frosting and jam will soften up over time. It is also summer in Lima right now, i.e. high humidity, so maybe by the time Dennis eats them, they’ll be a bit softer.

Btw, if you don’t happen to have empty cookie tins lying around at home—like me—make a trip to The Container Store. They have round and rectangular tins of various sizes. I also picked up a box and all other packaging materials from there. I heart The Container Store. (^_^)

Mandelleckerli / Swiss Almond Bites (adapted from

makes 60-65 smallish cookies



250 g butter, at room temp.

250 g sugar

375 g all-purpose flour

250 g ground almonds

2 egg whites, whipped until stiff peaks form

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

grated zest of 1 lemon

a pinch of salt

Simple Frosting (optional)

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup tbsp boiling water

a few drops vanilla extract

food coloring


For the Cookies

  1. With a stand- or hand-mixer, whip the butter until smooth and light. Gently fold in the sugar, lemon zest, almonds, cinnamon, salt and whipped egg whites. Lastly, gradually fold in the flour.
  2. Lightly knead the dough until it just comes together. Put in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next day, cut the dough into 5-6 pieces. Between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, individually roll out each piece of dough until ca. 3 mm thick and use your choice of cookie-cutter to cut out the cookies. (I used 2 rulers as measuring guides and between which I rolled out the dough, in order to ensure even dough thickness and later, even baking.)
  4. Dip an icing spatula (or butter knife) in flour and then carefully transfer the cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Place the tray in the refrigerator for ca. 10 minutes.
  5. While the cookies are cooling, pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
  6. Place the tray on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 10 minutes—not longer. (The dough is made with egg whites; they harden quickly.)
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in an air-tight cookie tin.

For the Frosting (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, boiling water and vanilla extract. If necessary, add more water— until the frosting reaches your desired thickness.
  2. Mix in a few drops of food coloring until the frosting reaches the desired coloring.
  3. Decorate the cookies to your liking. Allow to sit overnight on a wire rack before storing.
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