Austria: Vanillekipferl

200 g wheat flour
125 g soft butter
100 g ground almonds
70 g icing sugar
2 packet vanilla sugar

For sprinkling:
approx. 50 g icing sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar

Knead the ingredients for the dough well together. Then wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. In the meantime, sift the icing sugar into a large, sealable bowl and mix with two packets of vanilla sugar.

Shape the dough into rolls with an approximate diameter of 4 cm. Then cut into slices approximately 1 – 2 cm thick. Form crescents from these slices and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. They should not be too close together. Bake in a fan oven at 175 °C for approx. 10-15 minutes. When the cookies start to brown, they are finished.

Leave the crescents to cool for about 3 minutes. Then place them in the prepared icing sugar mixture and turn them over on all sides. If they are still too warm, they will break easily; if they are too cold, the icing sugar will not stick well. It is best to keep trying them to see if they are firm enough.

Italy: Amaretti

275 g skinned almonds
140 g sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 medium egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoon amaretto
50 g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 °C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Finely grind the skinned almonds in a food processor; alternatively, use already ground almonds. Mix with sugar and salt.

Beat the egg whites in a bowl until foamy but not stiff. Add the amaretto. Mix in the almond mixture well with a spoon until an even, slightly sticky dough has formed. Take walnut-sized portions of this, carefully form into balls between the palms of your hands and roll the balls in icing sugar until they are coated.

Place the dough balls on the baking tray, spacing them slightly apart. Bake for around 16-18 minutes. The amaretti are ready when the underside get lightly brown – but they will still be very soft.

Remove the amaretti from the oven and leave to cool on the tray and put them in an airtight tin.

France: Bûche de Noël

3 eggs
90 g flour
70 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 organic orange
250 g chestnut cream
300 ml cream
100 g dark chocolate
2 tbsp rum

Mix the sugar, egg yolks and water in a bowl with the whisks of a hand mixer for about 5 minutes until the mixture is frothy. Grate half of the orange peel into the mixture. Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until the beaten egg whites are glossy. Sift the flour, add to the mixture in layers with the beaten egg whites and fold in carefully with a rubber scraper. Spread the mixture into a rectangle about 1 cm thick on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for approximately 6 minutes in the middle of the 180 °C preheated oven. Remove the sponge cake, turn it out onto fresh baking paper, run a wet cloth over the top paper, carefully peel off the paper. Immediately cover the sponge with the inverted tray, cool. For the filling, whip 250 ml cream until stiff and stir in the chestnut cream. Drizzle the cooled sponge with rum and spread with the cream. Carefully roll up the sponge and place in the fridge. For the glaze, melt the chocolate with 50 ml cream in a bain-marie, leave to cool and brush the bûche with it.

Slovenia: Domači prijatelj

4 eggs
250 g sugar
250 g sultanas
200 g walnuts
400 g flour
1 packet baking powder
Vanilla sugar

First beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla sugar. Mix the flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture. Finally, add the sultanas and walnuts and knead into the dough. Shape the dough into two flattened rolls and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven at 180 °C for 25 to 30 minutes. While the dough is still warm, cut it into thin slices (about 1 cm thick). Leave the biscuits to cool and harden.

Switzerland: Brunsli

200 g sugar
250 g ground almonds
2 tablespoons flour
1 pinch of cinnamon
2 fresh egg whites
1 pinch of salt
100 g dark chocolate (85 % cocoa)
Water, boiling

Mix the sugar, almonds, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff, and then add to first bowl. Put the chocolate in another bowl, pour the water over it and leave to stand for about 3 minutes. Carefully pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the water, stir the chocolate until smooth and mix into the mixture. Roll out the dough in portions between baking paper or on a little sugar to a thickness of approximately 1 cm, loosen from the work surface with a spatula. Cut out various shapes, dipping the mould in the sugar every time, and spread on two sheets of baking paper. Dry at room temperature for about 6 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 240°C and bake approximately 4 minutes. Take out from the oven, cool slightly, move on a rack and let it cool.

Germany: Springerle

4-5 eggs, 220 g without shell
500 g fine white flour
500 g icing sugar
1 tablespoon lightly roasted anise seed
1 tablespoon Kirsch Schnaps, if desired

Beat the eggs and sugar well and for a long time until you get an airy cream. Knead in the anise seed and flour and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough, which is still slightly sticky, into four parts. To make the dough feel like silk, dust it again lightly with flour and roll it out to a thickness of 8-10 mm. The best way to do this is with a rolling pin. Now press the very thinly floured model evenly into the dough. Cut out the pattern with a suitable cutter. Place the Springerle on a baking tray covered with baking paper and leave to dry for 12-24 hours, depending on the size, in a place with a constant temperature and with no draught. Bake the Springerle at about 150-160 ºC at the very bottom of the oven, for about 12-15 minutes. The picture print should be nice and white and the bottom slightly browned. The drying process gives the picture firmness, which means that the lower part opens up during baking and the so-called „little foot“ is formed.

Liechtenstein : Mailänderle

500 g wheat flour
300 g butter
225 g sugar
5 egg yolks
lemon zest
1 pinch of salt
1 egg yolk to coat

Put the flour and butter (in cold slices) in a bowl and mix to a grated dough. Add the egg yolks and sugar to another bowl and mix with a hand mixer until the mixture is very pale. Add the lemon zest, salt and mix with the grated dough and knead by hand. The dough should no longer show any cracks. If the dough is too wet, add a little flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out to a thickness of 7 mm between 2 pieces of baking paper. Cut out different shapes and arrange them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush the Mailänderle with egg yolk and bake for 12 minutes until light golden.