The White Shirt Project #8. Mailänderli

Back in the eighties when I was a kid, my originally Swiss great grandma lived in the ground floor of our house. Together we’d bake these wonderful Christmas cookies “from home”, as she said. First she’d roam around the markets for a few days and obtained some eggs, some flour, margarine and sugar. Sometimes she’d even get a lemon! For the zest.

She’d prepare the dough and leave it in the pantry overnight. Then we’d spend the whole next day in the kitchen kneading, rolling and cutting dough. We’d bake little stars, hearts and …plusses.
I later learned that the “plus” was actually the cross from the Swiss flag. Once cooled down, we’d put the cookies into 2 tin cans and I’d get to take one upstairs to my parents.
Once I came back downstairs and she asked me, “So, did mom and dad like them?
I like them” was my answer. Only then did she realize that not many cookies ever made it to my parents’.

The recipe:

250 g soft butter
225 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
3 fresh eggs
1 Bio-Lemon for the zest
500 g flour
1 fresh yolk
1 spoonfull of milk

  1. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Blend in sugar and beat until mixture is thick and pale, about 10 minutes. Mix in the melted butter and salt. Gradually fold in the flour and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or, preferably, overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 165° C. 
  3. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 6-7mm thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies on the cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg yolks.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until golden at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies on racks.