Though traditional Brunsli are made with almonds, occasionally I like to substitute hazelnuts, or a combination of hazelnuts and almonds.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups whole, unblanched almonds
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 cup egg white (about 2 large egg whites)
Granulated sugar for rolling the dough
Two cookie sheets or jelly roll pans with parchment or foil
Place sugar and almonds in food processor fitted with metal blade. Pulse repeatedly until finely ground. Do not over process or the mixture will become warm and melt the chocolate in the next step, making the dough excessively soft.
Cut the chocolate finely and add to the work bowl. Pulse to grind the chocolate and mix with the almonds and sugar. Add the spices and pulse once or twice to mix in. Add egg whites and pulse to mix rapidly, until a fairly stiff dough forms. (If the mixture does not form a dough, add 1 teaspoon water and pulse again.)
Cover work surface with sugar and press the paste out about 1/4-inch thick. Using a table fork, held tines up and away from you, and touching the surface of the dough at approximately a 60-degree angle, streak the surface of the dough: Pull the fork across the dough toward you in a series on parallel vertical lines about 1/16-inch deep.
Cut the Brunsli in hearts, stars or cloverleaf shapes and place on paper-lined pans. Press scraps back together and continue cutting cookies until all the dough has been used. Allow to dry several hours, uncovered, at room temperature.
Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Place pans of cookies in oven and immediately lower heat to 300 degrees. Bake the Brunsli about 10 to 15 minutes, until they are slightly firm. Do not overbake or they will be very hard.
Cool on pans, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.