Bredalas Christmas Cookies – Bredalas de Noël

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Bredalas are little Christmas cookies whose preparation date back to the Renaissance. This is probably one of the best known Alsatian traditions.


The Bredalas (the spelling changes depending on local Alsatian dialects: Bredele, Bredela…) are small cakes cooked before Christmas, during the Advent period. They can have a multitude of different shapes and tastes. You will find in this page a selection of 6 of the best (and easy) to prepare. And remember the tradition: the bredalas are often offered as a gift to family, friends or work colleagues, beautifully packaged.

This is probably one of the best known Alsatian traditions. The Bredalas (the spelling changes depending on local Alsatian dialects) are small cakes cooked before Christmas, during the Advent period.
They can have a multitude of different shapes and tastes, and are often offered as a gift to friends and family, beautifully packaged.

The Bredala takes different name depending on the ingredients used and its shapes:
• Butterbredele (iced with lemon),
• Anisbredle (round biscuits perfumed with aniseed),
• Shwowebredele (with almonds and brushed with egg yolk),
• Spritzbredele (small shortbreads with lemon zest),
• Lebkuchen (little spiced cake fingers with satin frosting),
• Leckerli (diamond shaped, from Basel, Switzerland), and
• Springerle (aniseed bread).


HELENA SCHNITTEN

Ingredients for the dough:
150g plain flour
60g caster sugar
70g ground almonds
A little vanilla sugar (1 sachet) or a couple of drops of vanilla extract
100g unsalted butter – soft (room temperature)
30g grated chocolate
1 egg

Ingredients for the fillings:
70g ground almonds
1 egg white
70g caster sugar
A little water if needed

Cooking:
40 minutes at 150°.

Method:
– Put the flour in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter and add with all the other ingredients. Mix it to form a smooth dough. Leave it to rest for 1 hour wrapped in cling film or foil and then roll out into 2 rectangles (about 50cm by 8 cm)
– To make the filling, mix the egg white, almonds and sugar. If necessary add a little water so that you can spread this mixture on  one of the rectangle bases preiously rolled out. Use the other rectangle as the top and sandwich them together. Pinch the edges together to seal them and roll out a little with the rolling pin to flatten a little and sot hey stick together.
– Cook in the oven for around 40 minutes or until golden brown. When you take it out the oven mix some icing sugar with a little water to form a fairly thick paste and spread voer the top. Cut into strips.


SCHNEEKUSSCHEN

Ingredients for the dough:
Rice paper – cut into small disks
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g ground hazelnuts
50g candied orange peel
Hazelnuts to decorate with (optional)

Cooking:
25 to 30 minutes at 150°.

Method:
– Whisk the egg whites until firm and in peaks. Then add the sugar, hazelnut meal, candied orange peel, and then put spoonfuls on each rice paper disk.
– Cook at 150°c for 25-30 minutes.


BUNTE WEIHNACHTSTERNE

Ingredients for the dough:
350g plain flour
160g unslated butter
180g caster sugar
Pinch salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 egg whites
1 vanilla bean or vanilla extract

Ingredients for the icing:
2 egg yolks
1 dessert spoon water
Food colouring ie. red, yellow, green (optional)

Cooking:
12 to 15 minutes at 190°.

Method:
– Mix all the ingredients for the dough together until well combined. Roll out and using a biscuit cutter, cut out star shapes.
– Then mix all the icing ingredients together, colour with a little food colouring if you wish depending on the effect you would like. Spread onto the stars and then cook them for 12 – 15 minutes at 190°c.


SPITZGEBACK

Ingredients:
500g plain flour
375g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter
2 eggs
Vanilla sugar – 2 teaspoons (or 2 drops vanilla extract)
125g ground hazelnuts

Cooking:
12 to 15 minutes at 190°.

Method:
-Mix the vanilla sugar and the plain sugar together. The add the eggs and whisk until creamy and pale. Melt the butter and add to the egg mixture. Then mix in the flour and ground hazelnuts and make it into a ball.
-Using a biscuit machine or a piping bag with a large fluted nozzle, pipe biscuits of about 5cm long. Put them on a baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes at 190°c.


NUSSBREDELA

Ingredients:
100g dark chocolate (70%)
100g unslated butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
175g plain flour
Pinch of salt
½ teapoon baking powder
100g ground nuts

Cooking:
10 to 15 minutes at 175°.

Method:
– Melt the chocolate in a bowl of a saucepan of boiling water.
– Add the butter and mix in well. Then add the sugar, eggs, salt, flour sieved with the ground nuts and baking powder.
– Mix it all together then place in the fridge until firm. When you take it out the fridge make the mixture into small balls and then place on a baking sheet with baking paper on.
– Cook for 10-15 minutes at 175°c.


KOKOSRINGE

Ingredients:
Rice paper sheets
250g dessicated cocount
100g caster sugar
4 egg whites
Orange zest from 1 orange

Cooking:
25 to 30 minutes at 150°.

Method:
– Whisk the egg whites until firm and form peaks. Carefully mix in the coconut, sugar and orange zest. Then add some mixture to each rice paper disk.
– Cook at 150°c for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.


Suggestions

Be careful when cooking because if they are overcooked they will be too hard. Stay near the oven and check them regularly. When cooked they should be firm but give when pressed – as if cooking a dense cake.

When cooking use a sheet of baking paper, this will avoid having to grease the baking sheet and the mixture won’t stick.

To keep the leckerlis for a length of time and to stop them going hard, store them in a metal cake tin making sure the lid is tightly sealed. They will then keep well up to about 4 weeks … this means you can bake them in advance of Christmas!


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