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Vaniljekranse a la Blomsterberg

Vaniljekranse a la Blomsterberg

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.

Making Vaniljekranse using a pastry bag with a star decorating tip.

Making Vaniljekranse using a pastry bag with a star decorating tip.

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).

Creamy Danish Lurpak butter

Creamy Danish Lurpak butter

Vaniljekranse (makes about 35 cookies)

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Star attachment on KitchenAid meat grinder.

Star attachment on KitchenAid meat grinder.

Source: adapted from Mette Blomsterberg

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Nougatmandler

Nougatmandler

Nougat is a sinfully delicious paste that is used quite often in Denmark. Nougat can be made from sugar or honey, toasted almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and/or pistachios. There are a number of different variations of nougat but the one I am using here is a soft nougat made with hazelnuts.

The melted Nougat is added in three additions and then gently tossed and separated with confectioners sugar.

Nougatmandler is quick and easy to make. Make sure the ceramic bowl you’re using is chilled all the way and be aware that you may have to place the bowl back in the refrigerator for a few minutes, in-between each addition of the warm melted nougat. The final outcome is a crunchy toasted almond  hidden in a soft shell of sweet nougat. Makes for a perfect little snack.

Nougatmandler – Nougat Wrapped Almonds

Ingredients:

100 grams whole almonds with skin on

100 grams nougat

50 grams confectioner sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Remove almonds from oven and place in a ceramic bowl in refrigerator until completely cold.

Place confectioner sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Over a waterbath melt the nougat. Bring the cold bowl with almonds out of refrigerator and add 1/3 of melted nougat, stir with a small rubber spatula until nougat starts to set and thicken. Add the second 1/3 of nougat and repeat stirring. Place bowl back into refrigerator between nougat additions if needed. Finally, add the last 1/3 of nougat and repeat stirring. Pour nougat almonds into bowl with confectioners sugar and gently, using your fingers, work the confectioners sugar around each almond. In the end, place almonds into a sieve and gently tap the excess sugar off the almonds. Store almonds a covered container in a cool location. Makes for a wonder snack, enjoy!

Source: Mette Blomsterberg

Soft Nougat

Soft Nougat

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Shrimp Salad With White Asparagus

Shrimp Salad With White Asparagus

For a beautiful, warm spring day like today I think we need a light and delicious Shrimp Salad served on a small slice of French bread. I’ve had my eye on this Shrimp Salad for quite some time now, and today is the perfect day for it. The most important thing about making it, is to make sure that you get as much liquid out of the shrimp and asparagus as possible and that is difficult to do with the fragile marinated asparagus without squashing them. I still ended up with a little too much liquid in mine but the salad was still wonderful and very fresh tasting. Perhaps next time I’ll try in addition to gently patting the asparagus dry, also letting them sit for awhile on some paper towels to try and absorb some more liquid. This is a really nice, refreshing Shrimp Salad with a hint of lemon. Enjoy!

Shrimp Salad With White Asparagus

Ingredients:

200 grams small shrimp (peeled, deveined and cooked)

16-18 thin white asparagus (marinated in water)

1 deciliter Hellmann’s mayo

1 tablespoon ketchup

a small sprinkle of fresh lemon juice

a pinch of ground chili powder

Directions:

If using frozen shrimp, defrost, drain and thoroughly pat dry the shrimp. Remove asparagus from marinade water, place on paper towel and gently pat dry. It is important to remove as much liquid from shrimp and asparagus as possible to avoid a wet shrimp salad. Cut asparagus into bite size pieces. In a small bowl add mayo, ketchup, lemon juice and chili powder, stir. Add shrimp and asparagus to mayo mixture and gently mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve with French bread. Enjoy!

Source: Dalsgaard i Skivholme

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Makroner

These are Danish Makroner cookies and I use the word cookie here very loosely. They are not really the kind of cookies that you snack on, well I guess you could, but they are very sweet. These cookies are crispy and airy and they are meant to be crumbled up and used in the making of other desserts such as Danish Æblekage (apple cake), Lagkage (layered cake) or Chocolate Amaretto Pudding.

This recipe calls for Hjortetaksalt which is a common leavening agent used in Denmark. Hjortetaksalt is Ammonium Bicarbonate also called Baker’s Ammonia or Hartshorn. The Ammonia gives a lighter and crispier result but can be substituted with baking powder or baking soda. A word of advise about baking with Hjortetaksalt. Do not keep your head directly over the door when opening the oven because the fumes will be very strong initially when the door is first opened, however there will be no after-taste at all from the Hjortetaksalt in your cookies. I did not have any Hjortetaksalt on hand and so I tried it with baking soda and the result was very good. The cookies were crisp and tasted exactly right. They did not rise much and I am wondering if they would have risen more with the Hjortetaksalt?

Makroner

Ingredients:

100 gram blanched almonds (3.5 oz)

100 g confectioners sugar (3.5 oz)

just a pinch of Ammonium Bicarbonate (called Hjortetaksalt in Danish) or baking powder or baking soda

2 egg whites

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 340 degrees F (170 degrees C).

Place blanched almonds in food processor and blend until a fine powder. Combine ground almonds, confectioners sugar and Hjortetaksalt in a bowl. Beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the almond mixture in increments, this may require a bit of patience.

Place teaspoon size dollops of dough onto baking sheet and bake in the middle of oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet before storing in baking tin with a tight fitting lid. Enjoy!

Source: Bente Kilian – Maduniverset

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Jødekager

Jødekager is a Danish cookie which was always a part of the traditional Christmas baking at our house while I was growing up. It’s a small round cookie sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, reminding me of the American Snickerdoodle. There is some confusion as to where Jødekager originated from but most sources believe that the cookies were sold in Jewish bakeries in Copenhagen approximately 150 years ago and I guess that is how they got their name? In any case, they are wonderful little cookies and they are so easy to make. Prepare the dough the night before and then it’s just a matter of slicing, sprinkling and baking, and your kitchen will be filled with the smell of Christmas 🙂

Jødekager

Jødekager (makes 55-60 cookies)

Ingredients:

For the dough:

330 gram flour (11 3/4 oz.)

250 gram butter, cold (8 3/4 oz.)

200 gram sugar (7 oz.)

2 egg yolks

For garnish:

1 egg white

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Crumble flour and butter together until it has the consistency of grated Parmesan cheese, this is best done using a food processor. Place in a large bowl and add sugar and egg yolks. Using your hands, knead the dough quickly until dough comes together and it’s homogeneous, careful not to over-knead. Divide dough into 2 or 3 portions and roll each portion into a 2 inch (5 centimeter) log. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours or overnight.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 395 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Lightly beat egg white with a fork to break it up. In a small dish, mix sugar and cinnamon, set aside. Cut logs into 0.2 inch (the thickness of three quarters put together) (5 millimeter) thick slices and place on baking sheet. Brush each slice with egg white and sprinkle a generous layer of sugar/cinnamon mixture on top. Bake in the middle of oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Jødekager dough rolled into logs

Source: adapted from Claus Meyer

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Hvedebrød aka Franskbrød

Hvedebrød aka Franskbrød

When my parents learned that I was going to move all the way to America, my mother gave me this wonderful baking book. This book has so many wonderful recipes in it and I have read the book from cover to cover many times. But imaging that in the past 27 years I have been living in this country, I have never actually baked a recipe from it…until today 🙂 The excuses as to why not, are many but the main one has always been conversions. Well by now I am finally comfortable with metric to US conversions and so I picked up this great book once again and decided that the time had finally arrived.

Lademanns Brødbagebog - a gift from my mother

Lademanns Brødbagebog – a gift from my mother

I wanted to pick something very familiar that I grew up with and Hvedebrød, aka Franskbrød as we called it, was always my favorite. I know that this bread is probably very outdated since today’s popular breads tend to be very healthy and loaded with seeds and different types of whole flour but this Franskbrød still holds a special spot in my heart ♥

Hvedebrød aka Franskbrød

Hvedebrød aka Franskbrød

Ingredients:

1/2 liter water (5 deciliter or 17 fluid ounces)

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 25 gram cake/fresh yeast)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoon salt

750 gram all-purpose flour (25.5 ounces)

Directions:

Heat water to 100-110 degrees F (37-43 degrees C). Sprinkle active dry yeast over warm water and give a quick stir, let sit for 10 minutes. Pour water/yeast mixture into mixing bowl, add sugar and salt. With the mixer on medium-low add flour in small increments, you may end up holding back a little of the flour . Mix until dough starts to let go from the sides of the bowl. Place dough into a clean bowl sprinkled with a little flour and cover with a clean, dry tea-towel. Place in a warm location and let rise until double in size, approx 45-55 minutes.

Spray a 9 x 5 x 3 inch baking pan with baking spray and dust pan with flour, set aside. Sprinkle work surface with a little flour and give dough a quick knead to deflate. Shape dough into a log and place into prepared baking pan. Cover with tea-towel, place in a warm location and let rise for another 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Fill an oven-proof bowl with hot water and place in oven on the lowest rack.

If desired, once the dough has risen, cut slits into dough with razor blade or a very sharp knife. Brush top of dough with a little milk or water. Place dough on the middle rack in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Bread is always best when eaten fresh but is also very good 1 or 2 days old and toasted. Enjoy!

Source: Lademanns Brødbagebog

This post has been submitted to YeastSpotting

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Tarteletter with Chicken, Peas and Carrots

Tarteletter with Chicken, Peas and Carrots

Tarteletter is a classic Danish dish. It can be served as an appetizer or as the main course. The Tartelet shell is delicate, flaky and buttery. I have tried to make the tart shells in the past but so far I have not been successful. In the meantime, I purchased these tart shells online and amazingly enough they arrived without a single crack, imagine that 🙂

Tarteletter was probably my all-time favorite meal when I was a little girl and it was the dish I always requested for my birthday.  The way my parents prepared it was with a filling made up of diced ham, carrots and peas in a Béchamel sauce.  For today’s post, however, I chose to replace the ham with chicken, since I was making a chicken stock anyway. When you heat the Tartlets in the oven, make sure it’s done at low temperature and just until they are heated through. These Tarteletter turned out super delicious and it’s still one of my favorite meals.

Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Stock:

2 large split chicken breasts

4 carrots

4 celery sticks

1 large onion, quartered

2 bay leafs

10-15 pepper corns

1 small tablespoon salt

water to cover by 1 inch

Ingredients for Filling: (makes filling for 10 tarteletter)

homemade chicken stock, approx 2-3 cups

small bunch fresh parsley, chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

8-10 oz. frozen peas and carrots

1-2 cups cooked chicken, cubed

salt and pepper, to taste

Tarteletter

Direction for Homemade Chicken Stock:

Place all ingredients in a large cooking pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to medium heat and simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Strain stock through a sieve, making sure to reserve the stock for later use, refrigerate. Discard vegetables. Allow for chicken to cool completely before cutting into bite size cubes.

Directions for Filling:

Place chicken stock into a saucepan with chopped parsley and bring to medium-low heat, turn off heat and let sit.

Place butter into saucepan and melt over medium heat. Once butter has begun to bubble, add flour and stir vigorously. Allow to simmer for two minutes while stirring often. Add warm chicken stock a little at the time to butter mixture while stirring until desired consistency (a somewhat thickened bechamel sauce). Adjust taste with salt and pepper if needed. Add frozen peas and carrots, allow to heat through. Add cooked cubed chicken and allow to heat through.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place tarteletter on foil and warm in oven for 2-3 minutes.

Fill warm tarteletter with filling and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Source: My Danish Kitchen

Tarteletter

Tarteletter

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Svensk Pølseret

Svensk Pølseret

Svensk pølseret is a well-known Danish stew that I think most Danes have had on occasion. It is not a Swedish dish, as the name would have you believe, but rather it seems to have come from a summer camp experience in Sweden and was created by using up the last bits of foods in the pantry. And that is what makes this dish so great, it allows you to use up your left-over potatoes and it’s quick and very easy to make on a busy weeknight. I made it many years ago and then forgot about it until my family came to visit. Traditionally Svensk pølseret is made with paprika but in my sisters version she is using curry instead which taste absolutely wonderful and adds a nice heat to the dish.

Making Svensk Pølseret

Making Svensk Pølseret

My sister Jonna making Svensk Pølseret

My sister Jonna making Svensk Pølseret

Svensk Pølseret (6 servings)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium onion, diced

6-7  hot dogs, sliced

2 1/2 lbs left-over cold cooked potatoes, cubed

1 cup ketchup

2 cups milk

2-3 tsp curry

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper (optional for extra heat)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Chives, for garnish

Directions:

Potatoes are peeled, cooked and drained, placed in refrigerator overnight.

Dice onion and hotdogs. Cut cold potatoes into cubes. Mix ketchup and milk together and set aside. Cook onions in a small amount of olive oil until translucent, add hotdogs and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add curry, salt, pepper and garlic powder, cook for another minute. Add potatoes and ketchup/milk mixture, stir gently to combine. Turn heat down to low and continue to simmer very gently for another 30-45 minutes. Garnish with chives and serve with warm dinner rolls and enjoy.

Source: my sister Jonna Pedersen

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Karrysalat - Danish Curry Salad

Karrysalat – Danish Curry Salad

I never liked Danish Karrysalat until I made a homemade version to serve at my Danish Christmas luncheon. You may ask, why did I make it in the first place if I knew I didn’t like it. Well traditionally Karrysalat is a classic topping for marinated herring and marinated herring is a “must” at any self-respecting Danish Christmas luncheon table. And when I tasted my homemade Karrysalat I was instantly hooked because it is so much better than the store-bought kind. Like I mentioned, it’s is served with marinated herring on top of Rugbrød (dark Rye bread) but I could eat it on top of just about any kind of lunch meat. This is super delicious and I recommend that you whip up a batch immediately and enjoy. 🙂

Karrysalat

Karrysalat – Curry salad

Ingredients:

3 hard boiled eggs, diced

5 sweet Gherkins, diced (Cornichoner in Danish)

1 tablespoons minced red onion

1 small apple, diced

2 deciliter mayonaise

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

1 teaspoon curry

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Dice eggs, gherkins, onion and apple into small pieces. Add remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine. Allow salad to rest in refrigerator for at least a couple of hours before serving. Will keep for about 1 week in refrigerator. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Beretninger fra et autentisk landbrug

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Mona's Rejesalat - Mona's Shrimp Salad

Mona’s Rejesalat – Mona’s Shrimp Salad

Once a month I get together with a group of wonderful Danish ladies. We’ll meet for afternoon coffee or dinner and we will talk and catch up on what’s going on in our lives and the world. We take turns hosting the party and there is always something delicious to eat on the table…and oh yes, we sing! 🙂 I guess that deserves an explanation. Well, at Danish parties when the company is good, conversations are stimulating, the food is delicious and maybe (or maybe not) the alcohol is flowing, we lock arms and we sing funny Danish drinking songs. It’s a riot.

Mona Eisenbaum

Mona Eisenbaum

This is the Shrimp Salad that my Danish friend Mona use to serve as an appetizer and it would always disappear very quickly. Mona has since then passed away but her Shrimp Salad lives on at our meetings. Mona was an excellent cook and she would prepare the most delicious dishes for us. She never followed recipes and she told me what was in the Shrimp Salad but no specific amounts. I had tried making it but something was missing and my other Danish friend Kaja finally helped me out with the missing ingredient…pineapple. With this recipe you can choose to turn up the pineapple flavor or the curry, it all depends on your taste buds. I like to be able to taste the curry a little.

Making Shrimp Salad

Making Shrimp Salad

When I make this I use small frozen deveined cooked shrimp. Make sure they are fully thawed and pat them dry with a paper towel, otherwise the salad will be too watery. I hope you try this delicious Shrimp Salad and enjoy!

Mona's Shrimp Salad

Mona’s Shrimp Salad

Mona’s Rejesalat – Mona’s Shrimp Salad

Ingredients:

450 gram cooked, deveined small shrimp (16 oz.)

4 thin slices canned pineapple, diced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 – 1  teaspoon curry

Directions:

Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel. Dice shrimp and pineapple into small pieces. Add mayonnaise, ketchup and curry, stir gently to combine. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before serving. Serve on freshly baked white bread. Enjoy!

Source: my late Danish friend Mona Eisenbaum

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