This year I wanted to try a different Vaniljekranse recipe for Christmas, although my Mom’s recipe still remains my favorite. When I saw Mette Blomsterberg’s recipe I wanted to try it because, #1 she is a very talented Danish pastry chef and #2 this recipe says you can use a pastry bag with a star shaped decorating tip to press out the cookies. This is of particular interest for those of you who don’t have the traditional star attachment for a KitchenAid machine (which I know is a great fustration to many Danes living outside Denmark). And so I tried it out and it is possible to press the cookies out using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, however, I didn’t have the muscle to continue on with it. So unless you have a very strong and preferably handsome mountain man handy to help you out, I think you might have a hard time.
Lets talk a little bit about butter. This year I was lucky enough to find real Danish Lurpak butter at a local high-end grocery store. It is expensive, but the result is a wonderful, very creamy buttery taste to your cookies. Is it worth the extra cost? To most people, probably not, but it sure is a fantastic creamy butter. Also, I want to point out that when you bake in Denmark it is a given that you use salted butter, whereas in the US you typically bake with unsalted butter, unless otherwise stated, and then a little salt is built into the recipe on the side. Just worth noting (it actually took me 28 years to realize this, ha).
Vaniljekranse (makes about 35 cookies)
1 whole vanilla bean
180 grams sugar
200 grams salted butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
75 grams almond meal/flour
250 grams all-purpose flour
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and press the seeds into a tablespoon of the sugar. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds until smooth and creamy (4-5 minutes). Add the egg and continue mixing until fully incorporated. In small increments, add almond meal and flour, mix until dough comes together.
If you plan on using a piping bag with a star tip to press out dough and form into circles, roll up your sleeves and use dough immediately.
If you plan on using a star attachment for you KitchenAid mixer, wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigeator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut dough into small segments and load the dough into the meat grinder attachment on your KitchenAid machine. Run the dough through the star attachment into long strips, place dough onto baking sheet and cut dough into 4 inch long pieces and form into circle. Bake in the middle of oven for 10-14 minutes or until just turning golden. Cool on baking sheets for a couple of minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Once cookies are completely cooled, store in an airtight cookie tin.
Merry Christmas and Enjoy.
Source: adapted from Mette Blomsterberg