Three generations of Christmas cookie-baking.

Our regular readers know that we are alternating a recipe and a fitness-related article every week but for Christmas we decided to give you one more recipe to have one more batch fresh cookies before Christmas. It is also a perfect match to the last week’s Hazelnut Kisses as you need only the yolks for this very traditonal Swiss recipe.

There is no better Christmas cookie to represent me than the “Mailänderli”. Mailänderli is a Swiss word meaning small Milanese and since I am a petite half Swiss, half Italian from Milan, it describes me perfectly. The recipe has been written half in French, half in German by my grandma who owned together with her sister two restaurants in Geneva and my mum has been baking them since I can remember. They have a very simple yet distinct taste of egg yolks, butter and lemon; the texture is in between a chunky biscuit and a crumbly shortbread. Simple but beautiful through the shiny egg yolk glaze: what better memory of my “nonna Mémé” (grandma) Blanche?

You can make the dough up to three months in advance, wrap it in cling film and tin foil and store it in the freezer. Thaw it in the fridge for approximately 24 hours before making the cookies.

You need the yolks only, therefore you have to separate the eggs. Use the three bowl system described in the hazelnut kisses recipe and you are safe . Do not omit the yolk-glaze, it confers a beautiful golden shine to the cookies and it is the distinct characteristic of the Mailänderli.

One more hint: do not overwork the dough but if you can, mix everything in a kitchen machine if you have one. Since they are extremly fast at mixing the dough, there will be not too much heat production.


  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 125g Sugar
  • 125g Butter
  • 250g Wheat flour
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Small egg yolk with 1tsp milk or water and 3 drops of a neutral vegetable oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the butter with a pinch of salt until creamy.
  3. Add the sugar, the lemon zest and one egg yolk after another while whisking.
  4. Whisk until the dough is fluffy and creamy.
  5. Add the flour and work the mixturte as less as possible until is a homogenous dough.
  6. Wrap the dough in cling film and either let it cool in the fridge for at least 30min or wrap it in additional alu foil and freeze it. Thaw in the fridge for at least 24 hours before proceding to the next step.
  7. Roll out the dough inbetween two sheets of parchment paper until it’s about 0,5 cm thick.
  8. Cut out as you wish.
  9. Glaze with the egg yolk-oil mixture.
  10. Bake for 10-12min in the pre-heated oven,

If you like, you can decorate the cookies even more with nuts, chocolate or whatever you like. Personally, I like them as they are.

No macros for the cookies, Christmas is no time for counting calories, even if I am doing it 😉 .

To be honest I have never experimented with this recipe but I can imagine using a different flour like spelt or whole grain flour or a mixture of wheat flour and rye. You could also try using a commercially available gluten-free mixture but if you use a flour like corn flour or a nut flour expect a complete different result. Nevertheless, whatever modification you try, be sure to share it with us!

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