almond

basler brunsli | chocolate almond spice cookies

Hi there friends! It’s officially the holiday season.
When did that happen?

basler brunsli | chocolate almond spice cookie | Brooklyn Homemaker

I feel like it was mid-summer when I went to bed last night, and I woke up in early December.
Yeesh.

So, to try to force myself into the December/holiday spirit, I decided some holiday cookies were in order.

basler brunsli | chocolate almond spice cookie | Brooklyn Homemaker

I have a healthy cookbook collection, including some old historic cookbooks, but usually when I’m looking for recipe inspiration I tend to leave the cookbooks on the shelves to collect dust and look to the world wide web instead.

When I was trying to find a new cookie recipe for the holidays this year, I started poking around online at first, but then I remembered a book my mom gave me for Christmas a couple years ago. I’m sure that by now you know this about me already, but when it comes to holiday baked goods, I friggin love an old school German recipe, especially one with a healthy dose of spice in it. The book is titled, appropriately enough, Classic German Baking. There’s even a “Christmas Favorites” section, so this was a no brainer.

basler brunsli | chocolate almond spice cookie | Brooklyn Homemaker

I can’t tell you how much I love this book. I could just flip through the pages and drool for hours. I did, in fact, just a few days ago!

The recipe I chose actually originates from Switzerland, but is very traditional and well loved in Germany. The main ingredients in these cookies are finely ground raw almonds and dark chocolate, with a few additions to bind the dough together and add a bit of flavor. The dough is surprisingly simple to bring together if you have a food processor, but without one, I think it’d be pretty difficult to grind the almonds & chocolate finely enough.

By the way, while raw almonds and dark chocolate aren’t exactly difficult to find, they can be pretty pricey depending on where you go. I just want to mention that Trader Joes is a really great source for affordable nuts and chocolate. Three cheers for the Pound Plus bar! You’re welcome.

basler brunsli | chocolate almond spice cookie | Brooklyn Homemaker

Rolling the dough out and cutting out the shapes is a little more challenging than making the dough, but no more difficult than any other rolled cutout cookies.

This is a pretty sticky dough though, so my biggest piece of advice here is to be generous with the sugar you’ll use to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface. If the dough is sticking to your counter, it’ll be almost impossible to pick up your cutouts and transfer them to your baking sheet without messing up their shape. I used plenty of sugar before rolling out the dough, and once it was rolled out to the thickness I wanted, I gently lifted the dough to make sure it wasn’t sticking anywhere before I started cutting out my shapes. If it does stick in places, try to gently release it from the counter and add more sugar before you start cutting out your shapes.

Sugar is used to prevent sticking rather than flour because, oddly enough for an old world European recipe, these cookies are actually gluten free! Woot woot.

basler brunsli | chocolate almond spice cookie | Brooklyn Homemaker

Once you’ve finished cutting out your shapes you can totally recombine the dough and re-roll it, but it will get sweeter every time since you are using sugar to keep it from sticking. I noticed that by the time I’d recombined and rerolled a third or fourth time, the cookies started to spread a little more in the oven from the extra sugar.

When it comes to the cookie cutters you’ll use, the author says that they’re traditionally cut into heart shapes, but if you want to do something else you should try to avoid any shapes with a lot of fine detail because the dough is too coarse and sticky to hold a detailed shape. The dough doesn’t really spread very much in the oven, but it’s just too hard to get this coarse sticky dough out of a cookie cutter with a lot of fine detail without messing it up. Even the snowflake cutter I used was a little fussy and I did find that some of the detail got slightly muddled.

basler brunsli | chocolate almond spice cookie | Brooklyn Homemaker

No matter what shape you decide on, these cookies are crazy delicious. They almost taste like a nutty, subtly spiced brownie. It has the perfect balance of deep chocolate, warm spice, and chewy ground almonds. Heaven.

Since this recipe was so unfamiliar to me with the lack of flour and the addition of ground chocolate rather than melted chocolate or cocoa powder, I was really worried that the chocolate would just melt and turn into a mess in the oven, but my cookies kept their shape really well, so never fear y’all!

They’re soft and tender and delightfully chocolatey. Russell said they taste like a candy bar.
Better yet, they keep for up to a month, so they can be made well in advance and stored, making your holiday season a little less stressful. Just don’t store them with other, crisper cookies, or the crisp cookies will absorb their moisture and get soft.

Happy baking, and happy holidays!

basler brunsli | chocolate almond spice cookie | Brooklyn Homemaker

Basler Brunsli

  • Servings: makes about 30 cookies
  • Print
adapted, just barely, from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

1 2/3 cups raw almonds
9 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate (60% to 72% cocoa)
1 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dark rum (or Kirsch if you have it)
Granulated sugar, for rolling

Add the almonds to the bowl of a food processor and grind until they’re very very fine, but be sure not to go too far and let them turn into almond butter. If they start to bind together, stop!
Transfer them to a separate bowl and break the chocolate up into the food processor. Pulse until finely ground, but don’t let it melt. If it’s warm in your kitchen you may want to refrigerate your chocolate first.
Add the almonds back in with the chocolate, along with the salt, spices, egg whites, and rum or Kirsch.
Pulse until the mixture comes together in a stiff, sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Preheat your oven to 300F (150C), and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Sprinkle your clean work surface with a generous layer of granulated sugar to prevent the dough from sticking. Place the dough on the sugared surface and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Roll the dough out 1/3″ to 1/4″ thick, and check to see if the dough is stuck to the surface (*see note). Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter (**see note) and transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets leaving 1/2″ space between them. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 18 minutes. The cookies should look dry to the touch, but soft. Repeat with remaining baking sheet. Cool cookies completely before trying to remove them from the parchment, or they’ll fall apart.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container or cookie tin, for up to a month.

Cooks notes:
*If the dough sticks to the work surface in a few spots, I found that it was easier to gently lift the dough and add more sugar underneath before cutting, rather than trying to lift stuck-on cutouts. Otherwise the cookies will lose their shape when you try to pick them up. If all of the dough is entirely stuck to your work surface, you might want to ball it back up and start over with more sugar on the surface next time.

**This dough is coarse & sticky, so avoid shapes with too much detail. Hearts are the traditional shape for these, but any simple shape will work.

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rocky road bundt cake #bundtbakers

Guess what time it is…
It’s bundt time y’all. That’s right.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

This is actually my #bundtbakers anniversary. My bundtiversary? No, I won’t do that to you.

Anyway, this time exactly one year ago I had just joined the #bundtbakers and published my very first post as part of the group. The theme that month was “breakfast” and I whipped up a crazy amazing maple bacon bundt cake with an even crazier amazinger bacon pecan streusel swirl.

Finding the bundt bakers was the beginning of something truly magical, and I like to think I’ve come up with some really special, really creative bundt cakes along the way. I’ve also watched the group grow and change over the months and I couldn’t be happier to have found such a special bunch of bundt lovers.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

This month our host, Laura of Baking in Pyjamas, chose Rocky Road as our theme. Can it get any better than that? I mean, chocolate, nuts, marshmallows… What more could you want?

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

But then I noticed something in the theme’s description that seemed, to me at least, to be out of place. The list of ingredients for traditional Rocky Road contained, “marshmallows, chocolate, biscuits (cookies in US English), & dried fruits.”

Wait.
What?
I’ve never had anything called Rocky Road that contained either cookies or dried fruit. And what happened to the nuts?

As it turns out, Rocky Road means different things in different countries. In Laura’s home country of England, Rocky Road traditionally includes the ingredients listed above.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

As you may or may not already know, American Rocky Road is usually an ice cream flavor containing chocolate, marshmallows, & nuts. In England, it’s a dessert usually eaten in small individual cupcake or brownie sized portions. After a little research I found out that Australia also has their own version that also contains coconut, glacé cherries, and turkish delight.

Who knew?
(certainly not me.)

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

After learning about all the different variations on Rocky Road, I asked Laura if it’d be okay if we expanded the theme to also include the American and Australian versions.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

After some significant consideration and much hemming and hawing over which variation to go with, I decided that the American version was the most familiar and sounded the most appealing to me. I came really close to trying to marry the English and American versions by adding cookies but skipping the dried fruit, but then I couldn’t decide what kind of cookie to use so I just scrapped the idea and decided to keep it simple and traditional.

I find the creativity of the group and the wide range of flavors and variations on this theme incredibly inspiring, not to mention mouth watering. You really need to scroll down past the recipe and see what everyone came up with this month. Before you do though, you’ll probably want to grab a towel to wipe up all the drool.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

My original idea for this cake was to add miniature marshmallows to the batter and bake them right into the cake, but they didn’t cooperate. The marshmallows floated to the top of the batter and melted into a sticky mess when baked so I had to rework my recipe. I decided to put the marshmallows on top of the cake in the form of a glaze instead.

In the end, this cake was a real winner. I brought it in to work and my coworkers haven’t stopped talking about it yet.

As if the super moist, super flavorful chocolate cake base for this bundt weren’t perfect enough, it gets a melty chocolate boost in the form of mini chocolate chips mixed into the batter. Thinly sliced toasted almonds and a touch of almond extract go in too, and take things to an even more amazing level of deliciousness. Just when you though it couldn’t get any better, a sweet gooey marshmallow glaze gets poured over the top and even more chocolate chips and almonds get sprinkled over that.

Insanity.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Rocky Road Bundt Cake with Marshmallow Glaze

adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (plus more for pan)
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup peanut oil or any neutral vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Marshmallow Glaze:
1 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Liberally butter a 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan and dust with a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to evenly coat the inside. Tap out excess cocoa and refrigerate pan until ready to use.

Whisk water and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature.

Spread sliced almonds in an even layer on a small cookie sheet and toast at 350 for about 8 minutes or until they smell like nutty heaven on earth. Be careful that they don’t burn or they’ll become bitter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low for just one minute. Add the buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix on low again for another minute.
Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes more.  Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. The batter will seem quite loose and liquid. Reserve 2 tablespoons each of the sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips and set aside for the topping. Stir the rest into the cake batter until well distributed. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 55-65, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack.

To make the marshmallow glaze, mix sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Melt the butter along with 2 tablespoons of water in a nonstick sauce pan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and immediately add in marshmallows and stir until completely melted, about 1–2 minutes. Whisk into sugar mixture until free of lumps.
Pour glaze evenly over the top of the cooled bundt and sprinkle with your reserved toasted sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips.

Cake should keep, well wrapped in an air tight container, for about 3 days. If refrigerating, let come to room temperature before serving.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

The bundt bakers really knocked it out of the park this month. Get ready to drool and check out all of these amazing bundts!

BundtBakers
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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BundtBaker home page here.