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Brunzlis, Swiss Chocolate Cinnamon Balls

A thin baked layer on the outside which contrasts with the lovely soft texture inside. The heady smell of cinnamon is lovely around the house while they are cooking and as soon as you open the tin. These are wonderful biscuits that I have made batches of regularly since receiving this authentic family recipe - it is a privilege they are willing to share it. Follow the recipe amounts to adhere to the balance between the cinnamon and chocolate - regardless though whether more cinnamon or chocolate are used all variations are fantastic! The recipe makes a huge batch so might be an idea to freeze half but they are great to pass around and do get eaten up easily, and are also a lovely present.

"It's the chocolate balls, and usually we only give this recipe away to family members but we shall make an exception for Chelsey" – Felix Egli’s mother.

Pictured: Brunzlis Swiss Chocolate Cinnamon Balls, fresh out of the oven

500g ground almonds
500g sugar
250g dark chocolate, grated or chopped finely
3 soup spoons cinnamon
4-6 soup spoons plain flour
6 eggs, separated
Icing sugar for dusting - need almost a cup

Almond Version - do not include the yolks (can use to make ice-cream or custard etc) replace cinnamon, chocolate and flour with 1 tbsp whisky, 1 tsp vanilla essence and 1 tsp almond essence. Use only 300g sugar. Press a whole almond onto each biscuit prior to baking. Bake 180°C, 10 minutes til lightly browned.

Preheat oven 150°C.

Mix all ingredients well, apart from the egg whites, i.e. include the 6 egg yolks.
Whisk 6 egg whites til fluffy and add to the mixture gently. Work this dough by hand till well mixed.
Form small balls by hand, a bit smaller than walnut size, roll through icing sugar and bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 - 30 minutes, depending on your oven, until the balls go flat and slightly rip apart.
They should be dry outside but still a bit wet inside.

Dough freezes well.

Makes 75 – 80

Pictured: Tin of brunzlis batch

TasteTip – Cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree native to Sri Lanka, distantly related to the bay laurel. As the bark is cut it curls. It is then dried and rolled up to make a tube. Ceylon and Sri Lankan cinnamon coil into a single spiral, whereas cassia or Southeast Asian/Chinese cinnamon (the stronger flavoured) coil into a double spiral. 

It is a warm, sweet spice sold dry as sticks and as a powder - trying to grind your own from the bark is difficult to get fine enough, and it is best to buy ground cinnamon in small quantities because the freshness and flavour disappear quickly.
It's a classic in baked goods like pastries,  buns, cakes, and puddings. Mexicans use cinnamon to flavour chocolate in cooking and in drinks. Balinese like to stir their coffee with a cinnamon stick. Cinnamon bark is used to flavour meat, poultry and vegetable stews and it can be added to marinades or rice dishes. Break a stick in half and add to a poaching syrup for fruits such as pears, apples or use it to infuse wine or punch.