Spread the holiday cheer and glad tidings with sugar, spice, and all things nice. These Danish Christmas cookie treats will certainly knock your stockings off. Why settle for the traditional, when you can opt to have a more exotic variety in your cookie jar this holiday season. After all, the people of Denmark have been known to celebrate the Yule Season with great fanfare. I should know – I live here! Now that this cookie list is in, all you have to do is check it twice. Buy the ingredients that you need and get that stove piping hot because Santa will be waiting for his plate of cookies and milk once he shimmies down your chimney.
1. Vaniljekranse or Danish Butter Cookies
This is the very original and traditional recipe for Danish butter cookies. In Danish, these are referred to as Vaniljekranse, which literally means vanilla wreaths. It is perfectly named so because they are piped with a star tip and shaped to look like a small round Christmas wreath. It is then baked to a crisp crust with a delicious hint of vanilla.
For best results, use vanilla bean and top quality butter. Some recipes call for adding a cup of milk to the dough. You will notice flecks of vanilla bean interspersed with this cookie. The added ingredient of almond also gives the cookie a nice crunch. These babies are traditionally served during the Christmas season, paired with a hot beverage, but they are great to be eaten all year round, too.
Butter cookies are pretty much the standard cookies in Denmark. They are also made popular around the world because of the Royal Dansk brand, which is available in many parts of the globe. These are great, simple cookies that aren’t too sweet but very nice and buttery. One good thing about butter cookies is that they have a long shelf life, so you can cook several batches and enjoy them in the coming days.
2. Brunkager or Danish Brown Cookies
Brunkager are Danish Christmas cookie treats that come with a delicious spice flavor and one of a kind crunch, making it a great addition to your cookie smorgasbord this holiday season. Brunkager literally means brown cookies, which is the perfect description for them because they are dark brown in color. They attain their brown hue from the combo of spices and brown sugar used for the recipe.
Spiced with cane syrup, allspice, cinnamon, clove, and ginger, along with ground almonds and pistachio kernels, these cookies have a “spicy” and nutty taste, that makes it addictive and oh so good. Some recipes call for making the dough ahead so that all the spice flavors would come together. You can make this log shaped and cut fair slices to pop in the oven for a freshly baked cookie treat. This is a pretty straight forward and no nonsense cookie that’s easy to make. It can be eaten during afternoon tea or served as dessert after the main meal.
3. Smør Bullar
This particularly cookie is referred to fondly as the classic Danish cookie no one has ever heard of. To me, the name sounds more Swedish, as “bullar” means buns in Swedish. These are small spherical cookies made out of butter, flour, powdered sugar, and nuts, and eventually dusted with more brown sugar. Their very shape and look evokes winter. They are also sometimes called snowballs. But really, smør stands for butter, and the literal translation of this cookie would be butter ball or bun.
You may have noticed that Danes have a lot of butter in their cookies. The reason is that we are famous farmers known for grazing cattle, which dates back to our Viking days. We are known for herding cows and operating dairy farms and creameries. This particularly cookie is made with generous amounts of butter, flour, powdered sugar, vanilla, and pecans. It is dusted in even more powdered sugar towards the end, making the smør bullar into decadent little ball that fits perfectly when popped straight into the mouth.
4. Pebernødder Cookies
These cookies offer the perfect blend of cinnamon and cardamom in little nuggets of shortbread made with simple ingredients of butter flour, sugar, and eggs. The word pebernødder literally means pepper nuts. It has the same size of a walnut and comes in a round shape. It is actually very easy and simple to make. It can be rolled with your hand or made with a mixer.
Even though these cookies are called pepper nuts, they do not contain any black pepper at all. Instead, one of the spices is white pepper along with cloves, cardamom, and ginger. Bake these yummy treats and enjoy the unique taste with your tea or coffee. Who would have ever thought that pepper would pair up well with coffee? Danes really do have an innovative way of preparing cookies, relying on spices and not mere sugar for a great depth of flavor.
5. Honey and Spice Cookies
These ain’t your grandma’s old butter cookies. This honey and spice cookie comes bedecked with warm spices to boost the cookie’s flavor. Think allspice, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. The best part about this cookie is that it is sweetened with honey and muscovado sugar. It is also packed with hazelnuts.
Once the dough is made, it can be cut out in different festive shades from stars to Christmas trees. Nothing screams Christmas more than these cute shapes. These holiday cookies are nice to enjoy as a snack or after dinner dessert treat.
6. Almond Sugar Cookies
These glittering almond sugar cookies make a fantastic treat when served alone. Decadently flavored with creamy butter and finely chopped almonds, the delicious Christmas cookies taste even better with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot cocoa.
The final step before baking the Almond Sugar Cookies includes brushing with egg wash and topping with more almond sugar. This creates a glittering look which catches the eye. More importantly, this captures the taste buds with its yummy taste. Some people have also decided to take things up a notch and use raspberry jam as a filling for these treats.
7. Grandma’s Klejner Cookies
This old fashioned recipe is also known as Fried Twists. This is one of the most famous Danish cookies and you can make them fresh and hot from the deep fryer. This is actually an old snack served throughout the month of December, made with the distinct notes of cardamom and lemon.
A Klejne actually means a small piece of dough that has been shaped and twisted like a small knot that looks like a diamond. Then it is deep fried to perfection until it is golden brown. The dough is pretty straightforward and easy to make. However, it takes an hour to make the dough rest and about another hour to give Klejner their twisted shape.
Even if it is traditionally knotted, you can still opt to make whatever shape you fancy, from circles and squares to stars. The most important thing to remember when you fry Klejner Cookies is to maintain a very hot oil temperature. People love to eat them when they are fresh and hot. But fret not, for they retain their goodness until several days later.
8. Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
This Danish cookie combines the best of a snickerdoodle and a sugar cookie in one awesome recipe, giving you the best elements of two cookies in one hearty bite. It is warmly spiced with ground cinnamon. After mixing all the ingredients, you can flatten the dough and cut out your favorite shapes. Of course, in keeping with the Christmas tradition, the best shape to use would be a star or Christmas tree.
This Danish cinnamon sugar cookie has a nice crunch with an interesting taste. It is not cloying in its sweetness, which somehow blends perfectly well with the butter that makes up a huge part of this recipe. The finished baked product is a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea next to a roaring fire place.
9. Citrus Twist Fritters
This unique cookie is made with cardamom. On top of that, what makes it extra special is that it is infused with both the zest of an orange and lemon. These cookies are then deep-fried to get their super crunchy rich texture. These Citrus Twist Fritters actually make a great counterpart for those rich and heavily spiced traditional butter cookies.
Be sure to include these Citrus Twist Fritters in your holiday arsenal of baked goodies. You and your kids will certainly have loads of fun sinking your teeth into these crunchy treats. The key to making them extra crispy is to make sure that your oil is super hot. This way, the dough won’t needlessly absorb the oil. This is the reason why this cookie is light and doesn’t feel like an oil slick when eaten.
10. Alternative Danish Butter Cookies
These are very rich cookies made with 4 egg yolks and two sticks of butter. These babies are rich, buttery, and chewy, similar to traditional butter cookies but with an added flair. This version can come with a cherry or jam topping in the middle, which gives a nice fruity, tart contrast to the sweetness of the dough. The center, of course, adds an extra touch making this butter cookie even more delicious.
The dough of this cookie may be pretty hard to mix because it is so thick. However, do not give up because it will all blend beautifully together in the end. Persistence is the key. Though Danish Butter Cookies are typically made during the Christmas Season, they can still be enjoyed all throughout the year.
11. Kjeldsens Danish Butter Cookies Look-Alike
If you love buttery and crunch textured cookies, this Kjeldsens Danish Butter Cookie recipe is a must do in your kitchen. These pretzel looking shaped cookies are super yummy. They have a fine crunch and a glittering sugar topping. Just be sure to use good quality butter and demerara sugar for the topping because this makes a world of difference to your finished product than just using ordinary coarse sugar.
This is a fairly easy recipe to make. You just cream the butter and mix in the yolks, flour, milk powder, and other dry ingredients, along with vanilla essence. These cookies need an egg wash coating before they get baked and a final sprinkling of dry demerara sugar. Baker tip: if the dough becomes too soft to be cut out and shaped, pop it back in the fridge for a quick chill. A dough that is cooler is easier to work with. Once everything has been shaped, pop it in the oven and wait for it to turn golden brown. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a warm cup of coffee.
12. Danish Chocolate Biscuit Cake or Kiksekage
This is a no-bake Danish chocolate biscuit cake also known as a Danish Kiksekage. It is made using vanilla biscuits and literally means biscuit cake. It takes 5 different ingredients to make this cake with butter, chocolate, sugar, egg yolks, and biscuits. This no-bake recipe means that it will not be popped into the oven. It is merely assembled in the pan and left in the fridge until solid.
People may be worried about getting salmonella from this dish. However, since the yolks are being added to the hot melted chocolate, it is akin to being cooked already. On top of that, the production processes of eggs these days are very sanitary, so bacterial contamination should no longer be an issue. Make this cake and enjoy its chocolatey goodness. The fine vanilla biscuit melds beautifully with the ingredients, so you get a rich decadent dessert that is a perfect break from your savory main course.
Let the Baking Begin!
As you can see, there are many different kinds of delicious Danish Christmas cookies. It is time to give them a try during this forthcoming holiday season. Have fun baking with your kids because there is something strangely satisfying when you watch the butter getting creamed, and there’s double the fun when the time has come to shape the cookies with various cutters out there. Baking cookies is a terrific activity that has always been a great way to bond because you get to pass on family heirloom recipes, while teaching cooking essentials that your children will use for the rest of their lives.