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Sukkerkringler

In Denmark, the word Kringle refers to the knotted pretzel shape and Danes use this shape for many different baked goods like pastries, breads and cookies. The Kringle symbol has a long history in Denmark and it’s the guild sign for the Danish Baker. Even today, it is often displayed as a golden kringle outside the modern Danish Bakery Shop.

Form into ball the size of a walnut, roll to 6 inches long, shape as a pretzel and dip in sugar.

The Sukkerkringle is a Christmas cookie made in the traditional kringle shape. The dough is very quick and easy to make but the shaping of the cookies does require a little bit of patience (this would be a great activity for the teenager in your house :)) The cookie is soft and delicate and dipped in pearl sugar. The pearl sugar is a bigger sugar crystal which I have found online, however, if you don’t have it in your house you can use crushed sugar cubes and if you don’t have sugar cubes then just use a light coating of regular sugar…you get the idea.

Pearl sugar

Sukkerkringler

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Pearl sugar for decoration

Directions:

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Place flour, butter, baking powder, egg and whipping cream in a food processor or a large bowl. Mix until combined and a ball of dough is formed, careful not to over-mix. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place a small amount of pearl sugar onto a small plate and set aside.

Remove cooled dough from refrigerator and divide into pieces the size of a small walnuts, roll into balls. Sprinkle a very small amount of flour onto your work surface if needed and roll each ball into a 6 inch long rope. Take each end of the dough and curl them up onto the middle of the dough, forming a pretzel shape, gently press a finger into the seam to seal the edges. Lift up the pretzel and place upside down into the pearl sugar, press down gently to make the sugar stick. Place sugar side up onto baking sheet, reshape a little if needed. Bake in the middle of oven for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely before storing cookies in a cookie tin. Enjoy!

Source: The Great Scandinavian Baking Book

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Brunede Kartofler – Caramelized Potatoes

Brunede Kartofler is a classic Danish side dish which was always served with Christmas dinner when I was a child.  Of course it was also served occasionally at other times but I think probably most Danes associate the dish with Christmas in particular. The sweetness of the caramelized potatoes is wonderful with the other classic side dish Rødkål (sweet and sour red cabbage) which is slightly tangy and the two dishes are often found on the same table.

When making Brunede Kartofler make sure to watch the sugar so it doesn’t burn and when you add the butter it will bubble up briefly, so please be very careful.

Caramelized Potatoes

Brunede Kartofler

Ingredients:

potatoes (approx 20 small white)

1 cup sugar

5 tablespoon butter

Directions:

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place in refrigerator to cool. Once potatoes are cold, remove peel. In a pan over medium-low heat melt sugar. Watch sugar carefully so it does not burn. When sugar has melted add butter, please note that it will bubble up, stir to combine. Add potatoes and cook low and slow, gently stirring occasionally until potatoes are warmed through. Enjoy!

Source: My mother Åse Frandsen

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Red Cabbage

With the holidays quickly approaching it’s time to revisit some classic Danish dishes. Rødkål is a side dish that is always on the table for Christmas dinners and luncheons but of course it is also served at other times. For me though, the sweet and sour aroma with a hint of cloves in the background reminds me of Christmas and it will perfume your house in the most warm and pleasant of ways. The dish itself is very quick and easy to assemble and the remainder of the time is spent simmering away on the stove.

Sliced red cabbage ready for cooking

I have been experimenting with this recipe for some time now and I finally got it right (that’s according to my tastebuds of course :)). The traditional way to make Rødkål is to use Ribssaft (Red Currant juice) but it’s impossible to find it in any of the stores around here, so I am substituting it with 100% Pomegranate juice.

The first time I made Rødkål the ratio of vinegar to pomegranate juice was off with too much vinegar. The second time I could not find any pomegranate juice so I used cranberry juice instead…bad idea. It left a really dry taste in my mouth. In the meantime, my parents came to visit and they brought real Ribssaft with them but it was confiscated going through customs. (Still unclear as to why they couldn’t bring it in, maybe the size of the bottle?) Anyway, two cabbage heads later and with real pomegranate juice and less vinegar, we finally have a winner!

Rødkål

Ingredients:

1 head red cabbage

1 deciliter apple cider vinegar (3.4 oz.)

2 deciliter pomegranate juice (or red currant juice = ribssaft) (6.8 oz.)

3 – 4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 tablespoon butter

Atamon for rinsing glasses

Directions:

Remove outer leaves of cabbage, cut into quarters, remove the tough white core and discard. Slice cabbage into desired thickness. Place cabbage  into cooking pot and add vinegar, juice, sugar, salt and ground cloves. Let it simmer covered for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. At the end of cooking time add the butter and gently stir until melted. If cabbage is to be used fairly quickly, simply just sterilize jars and lids with boiling water. If cabbage is intended for storing away, rinse jars and lids with Atamon. Store in cool, dark place. Enjoy!

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Kringle

What is a Kringle? It is a Danish yeast cake which is traditionally baked in a pretzel shape. I guess that is why the portions of Kringle dough is so large because you would need a good amount to make it into the classic pretzel shape. However, it’s quite common for most people to shape them into a rectangle instead. The original recipe would have made 4 cakes which is too much for us here at home, although I could easily have followed that recipe and frozen the remainder down…they freeze well :) But I decided to cut the recipe in half. It worked out very well and the only little hick-up I encountered was that instead of having an odd measurement of 1 1/2 large eggs ?? in the recipe, I went with an even 2 large eggs instead. The result was that I had to add a wee-bit more flour and the outcome was a very soft and pliable dough and an amazing crumb in the final cake. As with any yeast cake it is always best served same day it is baked.

The folding process for making Kringle

Just wanted to share with you that this particular recipe comes from a lady named Anne Margrethe who lives in Hirtshals, Denmark. Her Kringle recipe was featured on a Danish television show hosted by Søren Ryge and he declared it “Denmark’s best Kringle”. I must say that it is super delicious!

Starting top left picture: Cubed butter in liquid, Remonce, Filling on dough, Finished Kringler

Kringle (makes 2 Kringler)

Ingredients:

For the dough:

1 deciliter water

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

150 grams butter, cut into small cubes, room temperature

325 grams all-purpose flour

For the Remonce:

115 grams butter, room temperature

115 grams sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Garnish:

50 grams raisins

25 grams blanched almonds, chopped

Pearl sugar

1 egg, for egg wash

Directions:

In a small saucepan heat water to 110 degrees F (no more than 110 degrees). Pour warm water into a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water and let sit for 10 minutes. Add sugar, eggs and butter to bowl and give a quick stir, let sit for another 10 minutes. Add all flour to bowl and using your hands, mix all ingredients until homogeneous. Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover with a clean and dry tea-towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

To make Remonce filling mix together butter, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.

Sprinkle work surface lightly with flour and give the dough a quick soft kneading. Dough should be soft and pliable. Divide dough into two portions and form each piece of dough into a log. Working with one log at the time, place a piece of parchment paper onto your work surface and, on the parchment paper, roll out the log to approximately 30 x 16 centimeter rectangle (11.5 x 6 inches). Spread 1/2 the Remonce filling down the middle of each dough rectangle and sprinkle with raisins and almonds. Fold the outer 1/3 of dough over the middle and then the other outer 1/3 of dough over the middle again. Fold the ends closed. Holding onto the parchment paper, roll dough rectangle over so it’s now placed upside-down. Place parchment paper with dough rectangle onto baking sheet. Repeat process with second piece of dough. Allow both dough rectangles to rise for another 15 minutes on the baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F). Lightly beat egg with a fork and brush dough with egg wash. Sprinkle with Pearl sugar and almonds. Bake for 12-14 minutes on middle rack in preheated oven. Allow to cool on baking sheet. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Anne Magrethe i Hirtshals via Søren Ryge

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Smørrebrød med Sild

It’s been a while since I’ve made a piece of traditional Danish Smørrebrød. This is marinated Herring which is not only super delicious but also high in Omega-3 fatty acids and therefor good for you. Herring is immensely popular in Scandinavia and it can always be found on a festive luncheon menu. You can buy Herring in different marinates such as mustard, cream, curry, wine or spiced sauces. For this particular Smørrebrød I used Herring in a wine sauce, which I adore, and I paired it with onions, capers and some wonderful fresh dill.

Smørrebrød – med Sild

Ingredients:

1 slice Rugbrød (dark Rye bread)

butter for bread, optional

Boston lettuce

marinated herring in wine sauce

red onion, diced

dill

capers

Directions:

Finely dice red onion, set aside. Butter bread if desired. Place lettuce on bread and top with marinated herring. Arrange red onions, dill and capers in a decorative fashion. Smørrebrød is enjoyed with a cold beer and Akvavit snaps. Enjoy!

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Lagkagebunde

When it’s a special occasion like a Birthday or an Anniversary or perhaps company is just coming over for a visit, what do you make for dessert? Well in Denmark Lagkage would be a very typical choice. And in Denmark it doesn’t take too much planning either because if you don’t have the cakes for the Lagkage you could just run to the grocery store and pick up a couple. However, living across the ocean, Lagkagebunde (individual cakes for making layered cakes) is not readily available in the stores where I live. I could buy some online and throw them in the freezer for a rainy day or I could bake them myself. When I came across Himmelske Kager’s write-up on making your own Lagkagebunde I figured it was worth a try. She has a really nice tutorial and a lot of helpful tips, not to mention that her cake is delicious.

Draw an outline of pan and place cut-out inside.

It is important that you use the correct size pan and that you follow the instruction not to grease the sides of the pan. This way you’ll get a really nice outcome. The cake itself is really easy to make, but do make sure that your eggs are at room temperature.

Lagkagebunde (makes 1 cake, cut into 3 thin cake layers)

Ingredients:

5 eggs, at room temperature, separated into yolks and whites

120 gram sugar

100 gram all-purpose flour

15 gram cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

Using an 8 inch cake pan, butter the bottom of the pan only. Do not butter the sides of the pan as this will ensure the cake rising straight up. Trace a circle of the bottom of the pan onto parchment paper and cut the circle out. Place the parchment paper circle onto the greased bottom of pan and set the pan aside.

Preheat oven to 340 degrees F (175 degrees C)

Making sure eggs are at room temperature, separate into yolks and whites. Place the egg yolks into a bowl, add sugar and beat until it becomes a pale yellow, thick mixture.

In another clean bowl or stand-up mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff.

Sift the flour, cornstarch and baking powder into the egg yolk mixture, beat until it’s homogeneous. Add the stiff egg whites and gently fold into the egg yolk mixture. You do this by cutting down the middle of mixture with your spatula and folding it over the other half, rotating the bowl 1/4 turn each time, repeat until fully incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. Do not open oven door the first 30 minutes. Careful not to over-bake the cake. It’s done when the cake feels firm to the touch or test by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake, the toothpick should come out clean.

Let the cake cool in the cake pan on a baking rack. Once cooled, run a small knife around the edges to loosen it from the pan and turn it out upside-down onto the baking rack. Make sure cake is completely cooled before cutting it into 3 cake layers. If you are not using the cake layers right away they can be frozen. Separate the three cakes with parchment paper and store in freezer safe bags.

Variations in taste:

Add 2-3 tablespoons of finely ground almonds to batter.

Replace 2 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa. Add cocoa with dry ingredients.

Add 2 tablespoons coconut to batter.

Add orange zest to batter.

Cake will fall a little while cooling, turn out up-side-down onto cake rack.

Source: Himmelske Kager

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Drømmekage

This Danish Drømmekage is like a sweet dream indeed. The cake itself is soft and spongy and loaded with vanilla beans while the topping is thick and soft with a caramel, coconut flavor that lingers on your taste buds. Note that the cake is even more dreamy the following day.

Drømmekagen is not a cake that I grew up with although it’s been around since the 1960′s. The first time I tasted it was one year my parents were visiting me here in the States and my mother and I made it for the Danish Ladies dinner party. At the time the only kind of coconut I had access to was the sweetened large chunky kinda coconut, which turned out OK but not the way it was supposed to be. So not too long ago I came across this wonderful shredded, unsweetened coconut in the grocery store and I have been thinking about remaking the cake ever since. So here it is and I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Drømmekage (9-12 servings)

Ingredients:

For the dough:

75 gram butter (2.6 oz.)

1 deciliter milk (3.4 oz. or 1/2 cup)

125 gram all-purpose flour (4.4 oz.)

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs, at room temperature

125 gram sugar (4.4 oz.)

1 vanilla bean, seeded

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

150 gram butter (5.3 oz.)

250 gram brown sugar (8.8 oz.)

1/2 deciliter milk (1.7 oz. or 1/4 cup)

200 gram shredded unsweetened coconut (7 oz.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 195 degrees C (380 degrees F). Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with baking spray. Add 1 tablespoon flour to pan, shake flour around pan to coat bottom and sides, discard excess flour, set pan aside.

In a small saucepan add butter and milk, warm over low heat until butter is melted, set aside.

Sift together flour and baking powder, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add eggs and sugar, beat on high until mixture is pale yellow and very thick (5-10 minutes). Add vanilla beans and salt and beat until well incorporated. Add 1/2 of sifted flour mixture to eggs and, with a spatula, gently fold the flour into the eggs until smooth. Add 1/2 of butter mixture to eggs and gently fold in. Add remaining flour and then butter, folding it into the eggs. Pour dough into prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prepare the topping. Add butter, brown sugar and milk to a saucepan. Melt while stirring occasionally, bring to a boil and then add coconut, simmer for 1 minute longer. Remove pan from heat.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, turn the oven temperature up to 210 degrees C (410 degrees F). Add tablespoons of filling to the top of the cake and smooth it out a little. (Do not pour all of filling onto cake all at one time). When oven has reached the new temperature, place cake back into oven and bake for another 4-5 minutes. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan on a baking rack. Enjoy!

Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

Source: adapted from Anarkistens Ægte Kogebog

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Brunsviger

Brunsviger is a classic Danish coffee cake of sorts. It comes from Fyn (Funen) in Denmark, the island where Hans Christian Andersen was born. It is a soft yeast dough topped with a generous serving of butter and brown sugar. It’s traditionally served warm in the morning or with afternoon coffee or tea and it’s always best the same day it is made. If you have some left-over cake you can heat it up a little and it’s still delicious.

The challenge I had making this cake was that the pan size called for, was an odd size (16×20 inch) which I don’t have. So the first time I made this coffee cake I made it “free style” if you will, simply just forming it onto a baking sheet. But it resulted in a lot of the topping flowing off the cake and making a big mess in my oven. After a weeks time of pondering I gave it another shot and this time I decided to use my 9 x 13 inch pan which is not the “correct” size but it does have tall sides as oppose to the baking sheet, and I am happy to say that it worked out great. The topping stayed on top and really seeped into the cake. Make sure to make plenty of finger dimples in the cake because this is where the yummy stuff hangs out.  :)

Brunsviger 

12-16 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk, warmed to 110 degrees F (43 degrees C)

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 eggs

2 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Topping:

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup butter

Directions:

Heat milk over low heat to 110 degrees F (100-110 degrees F) (37-43 degrees C), sprinkle active dry yeast over milk, give a quick stir and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile melt butter and set aside.

Pour milk mixture into the bowl of a stand-mixer. Add eggs, sugar, salt and melted butter, stir to combine. Using the dough hook start the mixer on medium-low speed and add the flour in small increments. Note: you may not need all the flour. Scrape down the sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed and continue to add the flour until dough is soft, elastic and slightly sticky. Grease a large bowl with a small amount of baking spray or vegetable oil, place dough in bowl, cover with a clean dry tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

Spray a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) baking pan with baking spray and line with piece of parchment paper extending up to the edges of pan. Deflate the dough and pour into baking pan. If dough is a little too tacky cover your fingers in a light dusting of flour. Press dough evenly out into the corners of the baking pan. Cover pan with the tea towel and let rise for another 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

To make the Topping: Over low heat melt butter with the brown sugar. Stir frequently to ensure sugar is completely melted and butter in fully incorporated. Do not boil! Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Pour 2/3 of topping over dough and spread evenly. Press your fingers into the dough to make deep dimples. Pour the remaining 1/3 of topping over dough and bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve Brunsviger warm. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from The Scandinavian Cookbook

This recipe has been submitted to YeastSpotting, a wonderful site filled with recipes containing yeast.

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Hyldeblomst Saft

Hyldeblomster (Elderflowers) has played a big role in Nordic mythology. It was believed that the goddess Freja lived by the Elderflowers and that the bushes provided protection from evil. The flowers were also thought to give relief from ailments such as toothaches, fevers, depression and insomnia. In today’s modern Denmark Elderflowers are still very popular but for different reasons. Today the mature flowers are used to make a wonderful tasty juice concentrate. The Elderflower bushes can be found growing wild in the woods, fields or parks and the time to harvest the fragrant flowers is in early June. I have never come across Elderflowers here where we live, then again, I haven’t really gone scavenger hunting for them either. In any case, I did come across some delicious Elderflower concentrate at my all-time favorite store IKEA and wanted to share with you this refreshing drink which is perfect for the hot summer days here in Virginia.

Hyldeblomst Saft – Elderflower Concentrate

Ingredients:

Makes 1 glass

Hyldeblomst (Elderflower) with Water

1/4 cup Elderflower concentrate

3/4 cup ice-cold water

ice cubes

lemon slice

Hyldeblomst (Elderflower) with Carbonated Water (and Rum)

1/4 cup Elderflower concentrate

3/4 cup carbonated water (such as Perrier)

ice cubes

1 shot Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum (optional)

Directions:

Making sure the water or carbonated water is ice-cold, mix with concentrate. Add ice cubes and remaining ingredients such as lemon slice and rum if desired. Enjoy!

Hyldeblomst Saft mixed in blender with ice.

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Kammerjunker – Twice Baked Biscuits

Kammerjunker is a small twice-baked biscuit which is served with the Danish summer dish Koldskål. I have been promising to write a post about Kammerjunker for quite some time now and with summer right around the corner I find myself day-dreaming about cold, sweet and tart delicious Koldskål with some crunchy homemade Kammerjunker. And so here they are!

Kammerjunker – Twice baked biscuits

I have to say that the home-made Kammerjunker completely beats the store-bought kind. These turned out crunchy and so tasty that I had to fight off my husband for them. Btw he told me to tell you that they are also great with a little jam and Nutella on them (shaking her head in disbelief). They are not overly sweet like the ones from the store, which I really like, besides I find the store-bought kind more like a cookie anyway. I hope you enjoy these as much as we have.

Kammerjunker – makes 48 whole or 96 half sliced biscuits

Ingredients:

250 grams all-purpose flour (8.8 oz.)

2 teaspoons baking powder

100 grams sugar (3.5 oz.)

1/2 vanilla bean

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

100 grams butter, room temperature (3.5 oz.)

1 egg

1/2 deciliter milk (1.7 oz.)

Directions:

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and mix with a small amount of the sugar to separate the seeds. In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, sugar, seeds from vanilla bean and cardamom, stir to combine. Cut butter into pieces, add to flour mixture and using your clean hands work butter and flour together until crumbly. Add egg, mix only until incorporated. Add milk and mix only until dough comes together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 345 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Roll small pieces of dough into approx. 2 centimeter (0.8 inch) balls and place on baking sheet 2 centimeter apart. Bake for max 10 minutes. Remove from oven and while biscuits are still warm slice into halves using a serrated knife. Place back onto baking sheet with cut-side down.

Lower heat in oven to 200 degrees F (100 degrees C) and continue to bake for another 45 minutes to dry biscuits out. Allow to cool completely before storing Kammerjunker in a cookie tin. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Det Søde Liv

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