Vanillekranse

eimg_1973The Danish have given us so much. Legos, breakfast pastries, Hans Christian Andersen, Aqua, and vanillekranse. Vanillekranse, aka “vanilla wreath,” are THE holiday cookie in Denmark.

My friend and old co-worker, who I like to call “The Great Dane,” allowed me the privilege to try her grandmother’s vanillekranse – homemade and shipped straight from Denmark. Ever since that day, these cookies have always been in the back of my mind, taunting me because I have neither the Danish granny nor the skills of one to recreate the recipe. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try…

As Americans, I can bet that most of you have had vanillekranse before. Heck, I grew up on them. “Hey wait, I’d remember such a weird cookie name if I’ve had it before,” you say? Well here, you might remember them better in this form:

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Ah, now you know. So let’s see how my homemade version stacked up!

I basically looked up a recipe for the cookies and made the first one I came across on Diana’s Desserts, which also appears to be the same as the one found on the NY Danish Consulate website.

I halved the recipe and that gave me about 55 cookies. The recipe says a full batch yields 150. That’ll be an important point later.

After making the dough, I rolled it out into a rope and shaped 3″ long pieces into a wreath shape and pressed them into some clear sanding sugar.

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The recipe didn’t state a baking time, but for me each batch took 25-30 minutes.

So straight out of the oven, this cookie was to die for. After they cooled off, I realized a couple things. 1) I should’ve rolled my ropes thinner thus making closer to 75 cookies instead of 55, and 2) baking until “slightly browned” means baking until barely brown.

Vanillekranse are crispy cookies, so they need to be flatter/thinner than what I put out on the baking sheet. This cookie at the right thickness would just snap under light pressure from your teeth, but since mine were a bit thicker, they required quite a bit more jaw power to bite through. Overcooking these guys by just a minute or two will also result in a tough cookie. They end up being too dry if you let them brown.

All in all, the flavor was there for these cookies but the execution needed some work. I’ll probably be revisiting these little fellas in the future since they’re a total comfort food for me. I may not be a Dane, but I still grew up on these cookies and I’ll be happy once I can perfect them.

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Vanillekranse

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

Directions

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until dough is smooth. Put dough in a cookie press ( cut out cookies with wreath shaped cookie cutter, or any type christmas design cookie cutter) and place wreaths onto greased cookie sheets. (Vanilla cookie wreaths should be about 1 1/2-inch in diameter). Bake at 325 degrees F, or until very slightly browned, about 25-30 minutes.

Makes approximately 150 cookies.

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4 Responses

  1. Hey, good job! We had a similar can of butter cookies in the lab, but all of us got scared after looking at the nutritional values. I think one guy ate most of them, but surprisingly he did not get noticeably fatter, hmm.

  2. LOL, not bad 😉 I can tell you that my grandmother’s recipe does not include almonds, so you might want to rethink that for the next batch. Also, the best way to roll these out is to put the dough through the Kitchen Aid meat grinder attachment. If they have gotten a bit soft, the best way to store them is in an airtight container with a few sugar cubes. Just another of grandma’s tricks 🙂

  3. fffaaaaaantastic! send some down!

  4. Dear Butteredblasphemy

    I have to leave a reply since, as you say, vanilla wreaths are an Integral part of Danish Christmas. Baking time 20-30 min. Oh dear. I’ve found you a better recipe. Try the link below.

    http://ifood.tv/vanilla/280150-vanilla-wreaths

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