Despite its Italian name, the Mailänderli (‘little cookies from Milan’) is by far the most popular and most baked Christmas cookie in Switzerland. I don’t like the shop bought ones as they taste quite bland and boring, but the homemade ones are delighful. Unlike other Christmas cookies, the Mailänderli are usually made with many different cookie cutters from hearts to stars to bells or Santa or anything else, much to the delight of the children helping make them.
- 250g butter
- 250g sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 4 fresh eggs
- 1 organic lemon
- 500g plain flour
Let the butter soften at room temperature. Add the sugar, salt and 3 eggs and stir until the mixture looks bright and pale.
Add the grated zest of the entire lemon and the flour. Only mix until combined, form a ball, cover with cling film and let it get firm in the fridge for about two hours or overnight.
Take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up for 15 minutes at room temperature. Then roll out the dough on a little flour to about 8mm thickness. Make your cookies using cookie cutters. Place them on a baking tray (covered in baking parchment) and using a pastry brush, paint them with egg wash from one egg.
Bake at 200 C for about 10 minutes.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight cookie tin for 1-2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2-3 months.