Appezoeller Biberli - Little "Beavers" from Appenzell
The same dough and filling are often used to make large round or rectangular Biber, or others in the shape of elaborately clothed male and female figures.
Makes about 4 to 5 dozen cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup unsulphured, mild molasses
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment
1 cup (5 ounces) whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons Kirsch
- Combine flour, baking powder, soda and spices in a bowl and stir well to mix.
- Combine honey, molasses and sugar in a large saucepan and place over low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in water and lemon zest. Stir in flour mixture and allow dough to cool while preparing filling.
- For filling, combine almonds and sugar in food processor and pulse to grind finely. Add lemon zest and Kirsch and pulse until filling forms a ball. If it resists, add water, a 1/2-teaspoon at a time. Remove filling from processor and divide it into 3 pieces. Roll each to a 12-inch cylinder, using some granulated sugar on the outside if the filling is very sticky. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
- Divide dough into three pieces and roll each to a 12-inch cylinder. Press one out on a floured surface, to make a 12- x 2 1/2-inch rectangle. Brush very lightly with water and place a cylinder of the filling on dough. Pull dough around filling to enclose. Turn cylinder of dough seam side down and roll it with palms of hands until it is an 18-inch-long cylinder. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Make alternating diagonal cuts an inch apart on one side of the cylinder of dough and about 1/4-inch apart on the other side, to make trapezoid-shaped Biberli. Arrange on pans leaving about an inch apart in all directions.
- Place pans in oven and immediately lower temperature to 325 degrees. Bake the Biberli about 25 minutes, until well risen and firm. Avoid over baking or the filling will ooze out. Cool on pans and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Biberli taste better after a week or so when the flavor has mellowed.