Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

Christmas Cookies

Almond Specier - Håkonskager

Cookies, Holiday, ChristmasTove Balle-PedersenComment
Almond Species - Håkonskager

Almond Species - Håkonskager

December 6th, and I finally started decoration the house for christmas, and the stress of getting gifts bought for the family is starting to get to me. A great cookie and a cop of coffee helps me stay grounded. 

My mom always baked cookies in december, so we would have homemade cookies for all the family gatherings during the holidays. Danes doesn't celebrate thanksgiving, so all the winter family get-together is around christmas and new years.

One of my favorite cookies was not on my moms list, but they should have been in my opinion. The cookies are called "Håkonskager" after a Danish prince (Carl), who became the King Haakon (Håkon) of Norway. 

You might know these cookies from the tin of Danish Butter Cookies, but the homemade kind is so much better than the store bought. 

This is my take on Håkon cookies.

Ingredients: 

  • 200 g butter (salted and soft)
  • 135 g confectionary sugar
  • 80 g marzipan (grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean 
  • 235 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • raw cane sugar (coarse)

Direction: 

Cream the butter with the confectionary sugar and marzipan till it's light and fluffy in a stand mixer with a paddle. Add vanilla paste and flour. As soon as the dough comes together, stop the mixing. 

Divide the dough in to 2 pieces. Roll each part into a log (2 inch in diameter), wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate over night. Make sure to have a smooth surface to get an even look on the finished cookies.

Whip the egg and pour the raw cane sugar on a big plate. Brush or dip the logs in the egg wash and roll them in the sugar until completely coated. Wrap the logs in glad wrap again and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Cut the logs into ¼-inch thick cookies and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden around the edges, about 12-15 minutes at 350°F. Cool cookies on the pan on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

 

The Danish version:

Håkonskager

Ingredients: 

  • 200 g blødt smør
  • 135 g flormelis
  • 80 g marcipan (revet)
  • 1/2 tsk vanilla paste eller  kornene fra 1/2 vanillestang 
  • 235 g hvedemel
  • 1 æg
  • perlesukker

Pisk smør og flormelis og revert marcipan til en luftig masse med en håndmikser eller røremaskine. Tilsæt mel og vanillesukker, og saml ingredienserne hurtigt til en smidig dej, pas på ikke at overmikse dejen.

Del dejen i 2 dele, og rul dem til stænger ca. 5 cm i diameter. Pak stængerne ind i plastfolie og opbevar dem i køleskabet til næste dag.

Pisk ægget i en skål, og kom perlesukker i en tallerken. Pensel stængerne med æg og rul dem i perlesukkeret.  Pak stængerne ind i plastfolien igen og lad dem ligge ca. 30 minutter i køleskabet.

Skær rullerne ud i 4-5 mm tykke skiver, læg dem på en bageplade beklædt med bagepapir. Læg ikke kagerne for tæt, da de flyder lidt ud. 

Bag kagerne midt i ovnen ved 175℃ i 12-15 minutter.  Afkøl kagerne på en bagerist og opbevar dem i en lufttæt kagedåse.

 

Danish Gingerbread Cookies - Brunkager

Cookies, Christmas, HolidayTove Balle-PedersenComment
Danish Gingerbread Cookies

Danish Gingerbread Cookies

December 3rd. Another day another cookie.

The Danish Gingerbread cookies aka "Brunkager" has a very long history dating back to the late 1400s. The name stems from Peberkager or Pepper cookies, but pepper is not meaning the spice pepper, but more likely meaning strong flavored cookies. Traditionally the cookie contains the warm spices we all  use in  fall, like ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. 

The tradition of baking gingerbread cookies for christmas, became more common, when it became easier to control the temperature of the ovens, back in the mid 1800s.  

Most families have their own recipe for gingerbread cookies. I never got my parents recipe. I was sad to see that it wasn't in my mothers little black recipe book, when I got it a few years ago. I remember rolling out the doug and using cookie cutters to make small men, women, hearts, stars and Yule Goats. We rarely decorate the cookies with icing, I think my parents didn't like the mess and the cookies became to sweet.

So I had to find one that I liked. And this one is nothing like the one my mom baked.  I love Mette Blomsterberg, so of course I found one of her recipes. This is how I made the cookies:

 

Ingredients: 

  • 250 g butter
  • 125 g syrup I use "lys sirup" from dansukker*
  • 250 g brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon Potassium carbonate K2CO3 (Potaske)**
  • 1 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 60 g candied orange peel
  • 25 g raw pistachios
  • 150 g Almonds
  • 500 g All-purpose flour 

Directions: 

Melt butter, syrup and brown sugar in a saucepan on medium heat, until it reaches 160 ℉ (70 ℃). Remove saucepan from heat.

Mix allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and flour and add orange zest, almonds and pistachios. 

Dissolve the Potassium carbonate (potasken) in the water and add it to the flour mixture. 

Mix it all together in a stand mixer, until the dough is uniform.

Dough pressed in the baking pan.

Dough pressed in the baking pan.

Put the batter in a baking pan lined with parchment paper.   Press well to fill the baking pan completely. Cover the dough with a piece of parchment paper. Let cool at room temperature until the next day. The dough should be about 1 inch high in the pan. 

Cut the dough into 3-5 logs with a sharp knife. Cut each log in thin slices and bake them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 355℉ (180℃) for 9-13 minutes.

Cool completely on a rack and store in an airtight container.

* You can get the syrup here

** You can replace potaske with baking soda, but the cookies won't be as crispy. You can get potaske here.