To me, Christmas time is the best time a year. It is filled with joy, excitement and what the Danes call “Hygge”. Hygge is a cozy, happy and relaxed atmosphere. Live candles are an important part of creating Hygge and Christmas time is filled with candles. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from the days leading up to Christmas Eve. Being in the kitchen with my mom and dad baking cookies. Yes you heard me right, my dad always took as much a part of baking and cooking as my mother and they are both excellent in the kitchen. They would bake about 4 or 5 different types of cookies and I would do my best to get in the way to help them. Fedtebrød is one of those cookies which bring me back to Christmas in Denmark. It is a soft coconut cookie with a mild rum glaze on top.
Danish Christmas Tradition: Adventskransen (Advent Reef)
The Advent Reef is a round reef typically decorated with pine, pine cones, red berries etc and four candles. It is either free standing or hung with ribbons and the colors are typically a red and white combination. The first candle is lit on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, then the first and seconds candle is lit on the third Sunday before Christmas and so on, until all four Candles are lit on the last Sunday before Christmas. I should mention that Christmas is celebrated in Denmark on the Eve of December 24th. The Advent Reef has been a tradition in almost all Danish homes since the 1930’s and it’s a celebration of what is coming at Christmas, that being the Birth of the Jesus Child. Whether you are a religious person or not, it’s a beautiful tradition to make the reef and lighting the candles every Sunday in anticipation of Christmas. It brings a sense of joy, Hygge and excitement into those hectic days.
For cookie dough:
125 gram flour (1 cup 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
125 gram butter (9 tablespoons) cut into small pieces
65 gram sweetened coconut (3/4 cup loosely packed)
65 gram sugar (5 tablespoon)
100 gram powdered sugar (1 cup)
2 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon rum
1 teaspoon flour
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C ( 392 degrees F ) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place flour, baking powder, butter, coconut and sugar in a medium bowl and mix with a hand-held mixer. The mixture will be crumbly. Dust flour on working surface and on your hands. Then press mixture together using your hands until it forms a ball of dough. Divide dough into three balls of dough. Using your hands, form ball of dough into long rolls approx 9 x 1 inch long. Place on floured surface and using your rolling-pin gently roll dough into a 12 x 2 1/2 – 3 inch rectangle. Move the dough (with the help of a spatula) onto prepared baking sheet and using your hands and spatula press dough edges to make a more uniform edge. Repeat with two remaining dough balls.
Bake until golden brown, approx 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 4-5 minutes. While cookies are cooling, mix glaze together. While cookies are still warm, spread the glaze over cookies. Cool for another 4-5 minutes and then cut cookies diagonally. Complete cooling on baking sheet.
Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥
Source: adapted from my Mother’s recipe