To find a better spiced cookie, we looked to central Europe, where they’re a staple of Christmas markets, along with roasted chestnuts and warm, spiced wine.
Our favorite was a chewy, chocolatey version from the Swiss city of Basel. Basler brunsli—little brown Basel cookies—are made by grinding together almonds, chopped chocolate and sugar, then binding the mixture with egg whites. The dough, which is traditionally seasoned with cinnamon and cloves, is rolled thin and cut into festive shapes.
To streamline a delicious but labor-intensive recipe, we used almond flour rather than grinding whole almonds. We also made a drop cookie dough. Happily, both changes yielded a more tender cookie.
To up the spice, we added ground ginger, cinnamon and cardamom to the almond flour, then toasted the mixture. We also mixed some of the spice blend with sugar, then dropped the portioned dough in it before baking. The resulting cookie was crisp at the edges and chewy in the center.