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How To Make Tirggel (Honey Cookies From Switzerland)

4 from 2 votes
These honey cookies — or honey biscuits — from Switzerland are your answer to the overly-sweet holiday cookies around Christmas. Try my Tirggel recipe now!
A box of tirggel ready for shipping.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

Tirggel have been popular for generations — and it’s no wonder. You simply can’t go wrong with these crispy, honey biscuits. They’re perfect for grabbing and munching on or sitting alongside a cup of tea. They’re a simple cookie, but with all the rich food going around during the holidays, they may be exactly what you need.

These cookies are thin, very hard, with the perfect balance of spice and honey flavor. But they may be best known for their designs on top. You do need special molds to make them look traditional, but you can always use cookie cutters to cut out shapes instead. We’re not picky about the way things are traditionally done around here. 

These cookies are lovely to eat and have a fascinating history. It’s hard to believe, but they date back to around the 1400s. A cookie that has staying power like that? That’s no fad — it has to be good! 

What Are Tirggel?

Tirggel are traditional Christmas cookies from Zürich, Switzerland, made with simple ingredients like honey, rosewater, and warming spices. They’re very thin and hard, so they’re best eaten after they take a dunk in some tea or if you suck on them a bit to release the honey flavor. They’re a cook meant to be savored. 

Around 1460 or so, the first written record of tirggel was found — in a witch trial court document! Spooky. The accused witch was treating a sick boy and fed him these biscuits. Sadly, the boy died, and the witch and her cookies were blamed. 

The witch was executed, and people were dying to try the biscuits. Figures!

The molds are meant to tell a story, usually romantic or biblical. In this case, it’s whatever mold you prefer.

A festive box with Tirggel inside.

What You Need To Make Tirggel

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Molds (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MWDD8TZ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) or cookie cutters
  • Small saucepan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper

How To Make Tirggel

You don’t even need the fancy molds to make these perfect-with-tea cookies. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Warm the honey, sugar, rosewater, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar has melted. 
  2. Transfer this mixture to a medium bowl. Stir the flour in until a soft dough has formed. If it is too sticky, add a touch more flour.
  3. Place the dough in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 3 days until you’re ready to bake.
  4. To bake, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. On a floured surface, roll your dough out to ⅛-inch thick (4mm).
  6. Brush a little oil in your cookie mold and press onto the surface of the dough. Using a sharp knife, cut away the dough around the impression from the mold. Place the biscuit on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you have 5 or 6 cookies.
  7. Bake on the top rack of your oven for around 3-5 minutes. You want the cookies to be brown on top but still pale on the bottom.
  8. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely. Bake off the rest of the cookies.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Tirggel

  • The dough needs to rest to firm up and allow the flavors to develop before baking, so make sure to factor this into your baking schedule!
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before you roll it out, or it will be too hard to work with.
  • Watch the cookies carefully when baking – the temperature is very high, and the cookies may quickly burn. They should be brown on top and pale underneath
  • In addition to the spices in the recipe, you can add 1/8 teaspoon of ground coriander and anise if you would like.
  • The flavor of honey is prominent in these cookies – if you have access to a variety of honey, use the one you like best.
  • Tirggel molds can be found online (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MWDD8TZ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1), but if you don’t want to buy them, you can still make these cookies and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter

How Do I Store Tirggel?

You can keep these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 

Tirggel Recipe (Honey Biscuits From Switzerland)

4 from 2 votes
These honey cookies — or honey biscuits — from Switzerland are your answer to the overly-sweet holiday cookies. Try my Tirggel recipe now!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 15
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Chill for 8 hrs
These honey cookies — or honey biscuits — from Switzerland are your answer to the overly-sweet holiday cookies. Try my Tirggel recipe now!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 15

Ingredients

  • cup (7½oz/213g) honey
  • cup (1 ⅓oz/37g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 ¾ cup (8¾oz/247g) white pastry flour
  • Oil (for the mold)

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the honey, sugar, rosewater, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves until the sugar has melted.
  • Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the flour until a soft dough has formed. If the mixture is very sticky, add a touch more flour.
  • Place the dough in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • On a floured surface, roll the dough out to ⅛-inch thick (4mm).
  • Brush a little oil in the cookie mold and press onto the surface of the dough. With a sharp knife cut away the dough around the impression from the mold and place the biscuit on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you have 5 or 6 cookies.
  • Bake on the top rack of your oven for about 3-5 minutes, until the cookies are brown on top but still pale on the bottom.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely while you bake off the rest of the cookies.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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Rosemary
Rosemary
6 months ago

Can you substitute or omit the rosewater? And, can they be made with all-purpose or cake flour?

Hobby Cat
Hobby Cat
6 months ago

This recipe didn’t work out for me. The flavor is great, but the dough was far too sticky to use until I added lots and lots of flour. The cookies did not crisp up and were tough in the middle with large air bubbles.

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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