Saturday, December 29, 2012

Swiss Walnut Cookies in Interlaken for Christmastime

I planned to ski for the first time in Switzerland in Grindelwald on a day trip, as soon as I discovered a late and unexpected snow had covered the small town. "If you buy this ticket, you can go where the professionals do, and even go to the highest point of Europe to boot," the attendant tried to entice me to purchase it. I imagined sliding down a steep mountainside, and performing slaloms around pine trees.
After renting not only equipment but an entire ski suit to avoid getting more icewater through my tennis shoes, I was headed for adventure! My rosy-cheeked competitors bravely slid down the slopes without any sticks, nor warm coat. I stood next to a lifesize sign of a monkey as I tried to ski a few meters, before I stumbled and lost balance. I had chosen a free ski park in the town, in hopes of starting at a safe beginners' level, and it turned out to be one for kids!

In addition to winter sports, you can also take a boat through the picturesque Thienzersee and Brinzersee lakes. After walking past a chocolate factory and statues of Heidi story characters, you can step on a boat that will take you on a sky blue lake past gingerbread houses and numerous miniature waterfalls generated by melting snow or ice. The best part of the trip, however, is the sight you receive when you first walk off the train: the Alps themselves.

Swiss Walnut Cookies
(adapted from Eat Little Bird and Betty Bossi's Original Recipe)
1 egg white
110 grams of granulated sugar
150 grams of finely ground and sifted walnuts
Whole walnuts to decorate

Beat the egg white until stiff. Stir in granulated sugar and walnut flour until it becomes dough. Roll out the dough and cut out pieces with a linzer cookie cutter (I used a round one). Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Cool, then cover with glaze and set a walnut half in the center, on the top of the cookie to decorate.

1 egg white
150 grams powdered sugar
1 tablespoon brandy (original recipe mentions Kirsch)
Beat the egg white and sugar. Add brandy, then pour over cookies. You can alternately try the following recipe, adapted from Eat Little Bird if you prefer not using egg whites:
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of almond extract


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