Danish Christmas cookies – Brunkager
I am really getting into the Christmas spirit here on Frederiksberg. I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen baking and making holiday candy, with my iPod blasting Christmas music, everything from Mariah Carey to Ray Charles – Love it! The holidays are always busy and full of wonderful events, but I love having a day off, where I can just be me in the kitchen doing what I love.
Today I baked a batch of the traditional Danish Christmas cookies, Brunkager. They are a variation of gingerbread cookies, full of different spices such as ginger, cloves and allspice and candied oranges. The name, directly translated is not great – brown cakes. I don’t know why anyone has chosen that name for such a wonderful cookie, but it is the name and has been for a hundred years. Nevertheless, it is a yummy Christmas cookie and one that I will be baking every Christmas.
The recipe I used this year is from a known pastry chef here in Denmark, Mette Blomsterberg.
250 g butter
125g light syrup
250 g of brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
500 g of wheat flour
60 g candied orange, diced
150 g whole almonds
25 g of unsalted pistachios
2 tsp potash
1 tablespoon cold water
Melt butter, syrup and brown sugar in a pan on medium heat until it is about. 70 degrees. Remove from the heat. Mix cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice and flour, add the candied orange, almonds and pistachios. Add the butter-syrup-sugar mixture. Finally stir the potash and water together in a little cup and add to the dough. Knead the dough in a mixer
Put the dough in a container, 15×10 cm (or whatever size you have, this is just the size I had that I thought fit for the recipe) lined with baking paper on both sides and bottom – pressing firmly into the mold and cover the top with baking paper. Finally cover with plastic wrap to keep out any air. Cool in the fridge until the next day *
Cut the dough into 3 logs.
Cut each log into thin cookies and bake on cookie sheet at 180 degrees approx. 9-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack and store in an airtight tin.
* You can keep the dough in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks before cutting it into cookies and baking them. As long as you make sure they are tightly wrapped with baking paper and plastic wrap.