Christmas biscuits

Christmas baking in the Top of Denmark

When Christmas comes, the Christmas preparations considerably increase in the Danish homes. From childhood all children are taught that exactly these traditions are important to make a genuine old-fashioned Christmas. One of the Danish Christmas traditions is the Christmas baking that the family as a whole participate in. The last two weeks before Christmas a lot of traditional Danish Christmas bicuits such as brunkager, klejner (crullers), vanillekranse, honningkager and pebernødder are baked.

Old-fashioned cruller - the Danish klejne

The cruller is one of the oldest Danish Christmas biscuits. We know it from the Middle Ages. Back then people had no stove, but it was still possible to cook the cruller as it was boiled and not baked in the oven.

How to bake crullers (klejner)

200 g flour

50 g butter or margarine

50 g sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoonful cream

1/4 teaspoon baker's ammonia

½ teaspoon cardamom

Vegetable fat

The worked paste is rolled out in a thin layer and sliced, 3 cm wide and 6-7 cm long.

Cut a scratch lenthwise in each strip, put one end through the hole and draw the paste in shape of a cruller. Boil the cruller golden in the vegetable fat.

Must be hot enough to make a match sizzle when put in. Turn with a fork. Take up and put on a fat absorbing paper.

Pebernødder (Danish Christmas biscuit)

Also the Christmas biscuits Pebernødder are traceable back in time. The Danes used to call it a pepper biscuit. To pepper meant to season and give a sharp taste. No wonder that the biscuit now has the name pebernød (nut); small, round and hard as nuts and seasoned with e.g. ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. The biscuit is often used as stakes in Christmas games. Just as in old days the biscuits pebernødder must be there in several kilos - in order to have a enough for the entire family and guests - throughout Christmas.

How to bake pebernødder (ca. 200 pieces)

500 g flour

125 g margarine

200 g brown sugar

2 teaspoons baker's ammonia

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon cloves

½ teaspoon pepper

1 3/4 dl water

Spread out the margarine in small lumps in the flour. Add the other ingredients and mix. Work the paste well. Roll the paste in bars and cut these in small pieces. Roll them in small balls. Bake for about 10 minutes at 175 degrees C.

Brunkager (Danish Christmas biscuit)

125 g syrup

125 g butter

2 tsk potash

0,5 teaspoon baker's ammonia

1 tablespoon water

125 g brown sugar

250 g flour

1 teaspoon cloves

0,5 teaspoon allspices

2 tablespoon cinnamon

Syrup and butter is heated until the butter is melting. Stir potash and baker's ammonia and mix in the hot syrup with brown sugar. When hand hot, add the greatest part of the flour and the spices. The paste is worked well, roll out on a table sprinkled with flour and cut out as small figures. Put them on a baking sheet with baking paper. Or roll to thick bars, cool and cut in thin slices. .

Bake for 8 minutes at 160 degrees C.

Vanillekranse (Danish Christmas biscuit with vanilla)

Ingredients: (ca. 150 pieces)

500 g flour

½ teaspoon baker's ammonia

salt

400 g butter

1 vanilla pod

300 g sugar

125 g blanched almonds

1 egg

Sift flour, baker's ammonia and salt in a large mixing bowl. Chop the butter with a sharp knife and crumble between the fingers to a gritty mass.

Split the vanilla pods lenthwise and scrape the grains. Mix the grains with sugar and add to the butter and put in the mixing bowl with butter and flour. Save the actual vanilla pod and put it in the biscuit tin afterwards to add extra flavour.

Chop the almonds finely with a knife or in a parsley mincer. Mix these with the flour mass as well. Use 1 egg to work the paste. Work the paste until the consistency is as marzipan.

Afterwards the paste is run through af mincer mounted with a star plate or it is rolled out in long bars with a diameter of about 1 cm. Cut the paste on the bias in lenths of about 8 cm. Shape as wreaths and put them on baking paper on a baking sheet.

Bake on the shelf second from the top in a pre-heated oven at 225 degrees C., ordinary oven for 6-8 minutes until golden in colour. Cool and put in a biscuit tin with a split vanilla pod without grains.

Source: Alletiders Kogebog

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Recipes for Danish Christmas bicuits

Here you can find a selection of recipes for several delicious Danish Christmas bicuits.

Old-fashioned cruller - klejner

Pebernødder (Danish Christmas biscuit)

Brunkager (Danish Christmas biscuit)

Vanillekranse (Danish Christmas biscuit)

Christmas ornaments

Juleklip

Remarkbly, the old Scandinavian tradition with baking and making decorations has survived more or less untouched even in these modern times. Certainly Christmas has been commercialized like everywhere else but most peole from Denmark - even young and hard core computer freaks - give in to their heritage at this particular time of the year. Everybody tries to participate in the preparation for Christmas Eve with baking and making decorations. While the oven is working overtime all people are concentrated in creating Christmas decorations for the house or the tree.

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Other Danish Christmas traditions

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Another delicious Christmas activity for the family is the preparation of the traditional Danish Christmas candy or sweetmeats made by marzipan, chocolate fudge, almonds, hazelnuts and crystallized fruits and berries.

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