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Archive for November, 2012

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 salted 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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Mandelmusslor

Mandelmusslor is a Swedish dessert which is a delicate little morsel but big enough to satisfy your sweet craving. The shell is crisp and has a wonderful sweet almond flavor which is nicely contrasted with the soft and cool whipped cream and strawberry preserve. I choose to use a strawberry preserve here but you can certainly use any flavor you like.

Pressing dough into shells

This is not exactly a quick and easy dessert to make. It is a bit tedious pressing the dough into the tins, however, the Mandelmusslor can be made ahead of time and stored in a cookie tin so when you are ready to serve them, it’s very quick to whip up the cream and top with a teaspoon of jam. Viola, dessert anyone?

Let Mandelmusslor cool upside down

Word of advise, make sure tins are greased very well and when you go to remove them from the tins try to “bang” them straight down onto the baking sheet to release them. It may take just a couple of tries.

Mandelmusslor (makes 18)

Ingredients:

100 g margarine (3.5 oz.), at room temperature

150 g unsalted butter (5.3 oz.), at room temperature

150 g sugar (5.3 oz.)

1 teaspoon almond extract

30 g ground almond meal (1 oz.)

360 g all-purpose flour (12.7 oz.)

Filling:

1 pint (16 oz.) heavy whipping cream

Strawberry preserves (or use whichever is your favorite flavor)

Directions:

Beat margarine, butter and sugar until soft and smooth. Add the almond extract and the almond meal. While continuing to beat the mixture, add the flour in small increments until the dough comes together.

Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C)

Prepare tins by generously spraying them with baking spray. Pinching off a ball of dough the size of a small golf ball and press the dough into greased tin. You want the dough to be a pretty thin layer. Place tins on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden.

After tins are pulled out of the oven, using your oven mitts or a tea towel, turn the tins upside down on the baking sheet and let sit for a couple of minutes. Then lift tins up (careful tins will still be hot) and drop them firmly down onto the baking sheet to release the Mandelmusslor from the tins. Let the pastries cool upside down to maintain their shape.

For the filling: beat the whipping cream just until the cream starts to thicken. Serve Mandelmusslor with whipped cream and a teaspoon of preserve. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Anne’s Food

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