Cookies should bring delight and little surprises.
Vaniljekranse (Vanilla Wreaths)
Vaniljekrans or Vanilla Wreath is the quintessential Danish cookie. A crisp, buttery cookie filled with finely chopped almonds and vanilla (from the bean). It’s often made for Christmas but certainly not exclusively enjoyed at the holidays. I had not thought of adding it to my menu, but during a trip to the old Danish port town of Ebeltoft, I visited a small boutique where they sold small bags of cookies (småkager). They were baked by a Danish women who bakes and sell Danish cookies in small batches. I bought a bag of Vaniljekranse and they were heavenly. The taste sparked memories and an urge to bake them myself. So here they are!
Citron Hjerter med vanilje (Lemon Hearts with vanilla bean)
I love making cookies in the shape of a heart. It expresses the reason why I bake and what I want to give to everyone enjoying my baking. These lemon cookies are perfect for that because they appear so bright and happy to me. The recipe is based on one that a Danish magazine published, a magazine that my mom, sister and I still read and at times pull recipes out of. Of course I have made a few adjustments to the recipe to make them my own. The cookies are made with lemon zest and vanilla bean while the frosting is made with lemon juice.
Kokosmakroner med Chokolade (Macaroons with Chocolate)
I remember my grandmother often serving kokosmakroner, but they were without chocolate. In my mind this cookie has existed since the dawn of time, a bit of an overstatement yes, but it shows that it has withstood the test of time and has hardly changed. One day I was making them and decided to add chocolate chunks. It was very well received by family and friends, so now this is the way I bake them. It always amazes me how such a simple cookie can deliver so much to savor.
Hindbærsnitter (Raspberry Cookies)
This is a traditional Danish cookie, a delicate shortbread-like treat with a raspberry filling. The shape and decorations can vary. Mine has evolved. Sometimes I make the frosting pink by adding a little juice from berries. Most of the time I decorate with freeze dried raspberries. Funny enough, I didn’t like raspberries growing up so these cookies were never a favorite. That has definitely changed!
Svenske Chokoladebrød (Swedish Chocolate Bread)
I am not sure why these are called Swedish. I have family in Sweden but I cannot claim to have anything to do with the naming. They are made from an old recipe I have from my mom. She still makes them at times when people are coming over. As you bite into it, you will find the middle surprisingly fudge-like, and it will be gone in two or three bites. Have another one? Sure why not!
Havregrynskager (Oatmeal Cookies, flourless)
This is a rustic Danish oatmeal cookie, one I used to make with my mother all the time. It’s always been her go-to cookie because it’s easy to make and full of warm flavors. It’s light, it’s crunchy and oh so satisfying. Contrary to many oatmeal cookies you find in the States, this Danish version does not contain any raisins or dried cranberries, but it is made with shredded coconut, and I make it with gluten free oats.
Chokoladekager (Chocolate Cookies, flourless, low fat)
These are adopted and adapted, not Danish in nature. For inspiration, I like to try out different recipes, wherever they originate, and I found this to be such a good and rich tasting chocolate cookie, that I had to include it on my menu. It is full of delicious chocolate flavor, enhanced by a slight hint of coffee. The added bonus is that it contains no flour and is low in fat!
Finskbrød (Finnish Bread)
The naming of these cookies is also a bit of a mystery as they don’t seem to have root in Finland, and why we use the word brød, which means bread, for our cookies, I am not sure. I never gave it much thought until now that I have to translate the name. Finskbrød is a traditional Christmas cookie in Denmark. In fact, it simply wouldn’t be Christmas at my parents’ house if my mom didn’t bake them. Year after year, they have been one of the four or five cookies we always request. But why only enjoy this special cookie once a year! It is delightful with its hint of coconut and sweet frosting.