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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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Vaniljekranse

Vaniljekranse

Vaniljekranse is a traditional Danish cookie made in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  I have very fond memories of helping my Mom and Dad make vaniljekranse when I was a little girl. It’s a fun process of the dough coming out of the grinder into strips, cutting the strips into pieces and forming them into circles. The cookies have a sweet vanilla flavor and are slightly crunchy on the outside. Making Vaniljekranse makes for wonderful Danish family “hygge” (coziness).

Vaniljekranse are not difficult to make, however, it took some doing to actually make it happen. The reason being, that in Denmark there is an attachment to your meat grinder that has a star shape on it. So the dough is run through the meat grinder with the star attachment. I could probably just have used a pastry bag with a star tip, I tried it, but it takes a lot of muscle to get the dough out. The other option would be to use a cookie press and you can get some sort of circle pattern, but I really wanted to show the making of this cookie the authentic way.

Vaniljekranse

Vaniljekranse

So I described the attachment to my wonderful husband Joe, he looked at the thickness of the meat grinder discs, and him being a Blacksmith and all, he was able to fabricate the disc for me…Yeah! My wonderful husband is so brilliant, I think I’ll keep him  🙂  He helped me make this cookie the authentic way. Thanks Joe.

Update: I have since then been able to buy a star attachment in Bilka in Denmark while we were home for a visit, it fits my KitchenAid mixer perfectly.

Star attachment for KitchenAid

Star attachment for KitchenAid

Star attachment for KitchenAid

Star attachment for KitchenAid

Vaniljekranse

Ingredients:

375 grams flour (13 oz)

125 grams cornstarch (4.4 oz)

375 grams salted butter (13 oz)

100 grams slivered almonds (3.5 oz)

250 grams sugar (8.8 oz)

1 vanilla bean

2 teaspoon vanilla powder

1 egg

Directions:

Place slivered almonds in food processor and blend until a powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl add flour and cornstarch, blend together. Cut butter into small pieces, add butter to flour mixture and blend together on low-speed with a handheld mixer until it starts to become crumbly. Cut open vanilla bean and scrape out seeds. Add vanilla seeds, vanilla powder, almonds and sugar, blend to combine. Add egg and mix to combine. Using your hands, press mixture together until it forms a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using the star attachment for your meat grinder, pastry bag or cookie press to form your cookies. Traditionally, you will use a star attachment for your meat grinder. Cut dough into small segments and load into the meat grinder. Run the dough through the star attachment into long strips, place dough onto floured surface. Then cut dough into 4 inch long pieces and form into circle. Place on prepared baking sheets.  Bake in the middle of oven for 8 minutes or until slightly golden. Cool on baking sheets.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Ground up slivered almonds

Dough coming out of grinder

Strips of dough

Vaniljekranse

Source: adapted from my Mother’s recipe

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