Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dennenkoeken

Crispy, crunchy, and oh so delicious, this Danish cookie is perfect
for cool Autumn days!
I love those "Danish" butter cookies in the tins that populate store shelves during the Christmas season. The crunchy sugar on top, the buttery taste - it all just screams "Holidays!" to me. So, recently when I was browsing websites, I was intrigued to find one from Denmark that listed a number of traditional Danish cookies.

Looking through them, I discovered one from the north of Denmark called Dennenkoeken. It features butter, brown sugar, and a variety of spices topped with that nice coarse and crunchy sugar. It sounded yummy so I thought I'd give it a go.

The first thing I realized was that whomever had translated the recipe from metric to English measurement had some math problems. So, after adjusting the measurements I set out to create this little Danish cookie.

The original recipe called for the cookies to be brushed with beer before being sprinkled with sugar. Of course, not being a beer drinker there was none in the house. So, I finally hit upon a rather unusual but tasty (and attractive) way to stick those sugar crystals to my cookies. I took about 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and one egg and created an "Maple Egg Wash" that I brushed over the cookies. Then I sprinkled on my sugar. The sugar stuck, the cookies had a nice crisp, shiny surface and the maple syrup gave them just a hint of maple flavor. It was the perfect Autumn combination!


4.4 ounces softened butter
17.6 ounces brown sugar
21.2 ounces all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground clove
1/2 tsp. ground anise
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
5 eggs
3 tbs. maple syrup
4-6 ounces coarse decorator sugar (sugar crystals)

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add 4 eggs, one by one, and mix until incorporated. Add the brown sugar, pinch of salt and spices and mix thoroughly. Sift together flour and baking powder and add to mixture. Mix well until firm dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight. (Note: allowing the dough to sit overnight will let the spices penetrate the dough completely and give a more uniform flavor.)

Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch, depending on whether you want a very crisp (1/4") or more chewy (1/2") cookie. Cut out cookies with round cookie cutters and place on parchment lined baking sheets.

Mix together 1 egg with maple syrup. Using a pastry brush brush the maple wash over each cookie then sprinkle liberally with sugar crystals. Bake at 350° for about 12-15 minutes or until cookies are golden and shiny underneath the sugar crystals. Remove finished cookies from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely.

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