Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Goodies

After Hjerl Hede we stopped to see our friends Mette and Søren and their kids Frederik and Agnete. They had us for coffee, tea, and the most terrific platter of homemade Christmas treats. Except for two, which her mother made, Mette baked and prepared everything.

I was intrigued by the cookies called Vanillekranse because we had just seen them rolled, pressed, and shaped at the Hjerl Hede bakery, so I knew they must be a traditional holiday staple. The Pebernødder cookies are little bite-sized buttons of goodness that are crunchy, spicy, and sweet. You see them practically everywhere throughout Denmark at this time of year. In fact, when we flew into the airport last weekend coming back from the U.S., I had a need to use the phone in one of the international rental car company offices. Sitting right there on the desk was a tin of Pebernødder for the taking. And I noticed a few days ago at a supermarket called Kiwi there was a box sitting at the cash register, again for customers to take as they please.

Mette also prepared some delicious candy made of chocolate and marzipan and another kind with chocolate nougat rolled up around marzipan that had been mixed with powdered sugar to make it less sticky and easier to work with.

I am so grateful to have such good friends here in Denmark, and even more so because they share such wonderful food, drinks, recipes, and more with us!

Vanillakranse Cookies
Recipe adapted from Dianasdesserts.com

1.5c butter, softened
2 1/4c granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
3.5c flour
1/2c finely ground almonds (almond flour preferably)

1. Cream butter and sugar.

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

3. Put dough into a cookie press to make a serrated strip of dough (see photo above) and shape into a wreath. If you don't have a cookie press, use your favorite cookie cutter.

4. Place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 325F for 8-10 minutes or until very lightly brown.

Note: If dough is difficult to work with, refrigerate 30 minutes.

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