Every December for as long as I remember, all the ladies in my family bake special Christmas biscuits or bredele. This tradition comes from Alsace, the region in east of France on the border with Germany where my family has roots. It is an important part of getting in the festive mood to prepare biscuits and this Christmas is no exception! This year, I am turning for the first time my favorite biscuits into gluten free versions, starting with the delicious Leckerli.
There are dozens of types of bredele, that come in all kinds of shapes and flavors, such as almond, lemon, chocolate, hazelnut or coconut. Leckerli is a soft type of biscuit made of almonds, hazelnuts, honey and candied citrus rind. Leckerli are originally from Switzerland, however the version we do in my family differs slightly in terms of ingredients and texture. Among other things, we use egg yolks and very little flour comparing to the traditional Swiss recipe. Not only the biscuits are turning out nicely moist (purist will claim that Leckerli must be hard), but they also are easy to adapt to a gluten free version, yey!I planned originally to use store-bought candied orange and lemon peels, as we do every year. However I eventually decided to make candied orange and lemon peels by myself, using exclusively honey. The candied peels turned out much more fragrant, on top of being healthier than their off-the-shelf version.
Now baking Leckerlis requires a bit of patience. The dough needs to rest overnight or even several days, if you manage to resist to urge to taste them as quickly as possible! Also once baked it is recommended to wait couple of days before eating them – oh well, no one can wait so long, right?
Leckerli are perfect for sharing during all the Christmas time and beyond. Now let’s start baking!
- 125 g almond powder
- 125 g chopped almonds
- 125 g hazelnut powder
- 125 g chopped hazelnuts
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp of rice flour (or GF mix)
- 200 g coconut sugar
- 4 tbsp local organic honey
- 2 organic untreated oranges
- 1 organic untreated lemon
- 4 egg yolks
- Icing sugar
- Rinse the oranges and the lemon. Cut the peel off the oranges and the lemon in long strips. Cut in tiny bite sizes (about 2 mm). Place in a saucepan with water and bring to boil. Drain and do it once more, to remove bitterness. Put the peel bits back to the saucepan, add water so the peels are just covered, then add the honey. Cook until the syrup thickens, about 20 minutes (add a little extra water half way if needed).
- In the meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the almonds, hazelnuts, coconut sugar, flour and cinnamon.
- Add the candied orange and lemon rind along with the syrup.
- Whisk the egg yolks until stiff and add to the mixture. Stir until well combined.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or better, couple of nights if you can wait.)
- The next day: take the dough out of the fridge half an hour before working on it.
- Preheat the oven 180 degrees.
- Spread the dough on parchment paper, about 1 cm thick.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Make a glazing with icing sugar and few drops of water (or Kirsch), and brush it right away on the warm biscuit.
- On a work surface, using a large, sharp knife, trim the edges then cut into square or diamond shape.
- Keep the biscuits in an airtight container or a metal box. They can be stored for several weeks.