Monday, December 17, 2012

milling mondays: danish christmas cookies (vanillekranse)

One of the cookies I always looked forward to eating during the Christmas season in Denmark was vanillekranse (vanilla wreaths). My mom would always bake these yummy crunchy cookies with a hint of vanilla. They are even yummy as a whole wheat cookie - the whole wheat flour does not compromise the lovely taste.
Whole Wheat Vanillekranse (Danish Christmas Cookie)

500 g whole wheat flour (2/3 soft wheat berries and 1/3 hard wheat berries)
1/4 tsp baking powder
75 g finely chopped blanched almonds
1 vanilla bean (or you can try using 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
375 g butter, sliced into smaller pieces
1 egg
250 g sugar

This recipe yields as many as 195 cookies. Yes, almost 200, so you can halve the recipe if you want. But trust me, they will be devoured.

First, if you mill your own flour, mill 375g soft wheat berries and 125g hard wheat berries (you may want to mill a little more wheat berries since you will be sifting the flour).  I use the pastry setting on my WonderMill.

If you milled your own flour, sift the flour twice to make the flour more light by removing some of the bran. Use a very fine sift to ensure as bran is left behind.  I use this one

Combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder and chopped blanched almonds in a bowl.

Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise from end to end. Scrape inside of the bean with the edge of a knife and pull out the seeds.

In a separate bowl add the vanilla bean seeds, sugar, and butter and mix it together. I use my Kitchen Aid on setting 2.

Then add the egg and mix again.

Finally, add in the flour, baking powder, almond mixture.

Mix everything together until combined. Don't over mix it.

Let the kneaded dough rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.

When you are ready to bake the cookies pre-heat the oven to 395F.

Now that the dough is cold and more firm roll it out into a thin rope. Cut the rope into 3-4 inch pieces. Shape the pieces into wreaths . Or if you have a meat grinder with a cookie attachment or cookie press you can skip the step of rolling it out yourself.

Place the cookie wreaths on a cookie sheet. Since I don't have a meat grinder or a cookie press I then use a fork with a little flour to make an impression on the cookie for it to look more like a wreath.

Bake the cookies for about 7 minutes. Be careful not to bake them too long. They are ready when the edges are light brown.
Take them out of the oven and place them on a cooling rack.

And enjoy. They are yummy and full of Christmas.
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