Jewish Christmas Cookies

Jødekager

These cookies were developed by Jewish bakers in Copenhagen in the early 1800’s at some point. They are part of the Danish Christmas cookie pantheon. If you ask most of my family they are the best part. There are many versions of this recipe, I have found a few for you. My family’s recipe as well as two from 1890 – they are quite different.

They became popular among the other new cookies when the wood stove was introduced in the second half og the 1800’s and it became possible to make cookies, in your own kitchen no less.

In my family the Jewish cookies has to be cut with cookie cutters, but many people just roll a stick and cut it thinly – but really where is the fun in that.

My mom’s version

This version is my family’s recipe but I have also found two old ones. I am not sure where my mom got it, but it is her recipe.

The cookies are really tasty but they are fiddlely to make. We always use cookie cutters for them but they are not actually very suitable for them, as the dough is kind of fragile. We tend to need to add more flour than the recipe calls for and it is a really good idea to keep the dough cool while working with it. You can just roll it to a thick sausage and cut 3 mm slices off it and add the topping. But my sister would not be happy with you.

Print Recipe
Jewish Christmas Cookies
Traditional Christmas cookies topped with cinnamon sugar and almonds. My family recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Topping
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Topping
Instructions
  1. Mix flour and ammonium bicarbonate
  2. Chop the flour and butter together - like you do for a pie crust.
  3. Add the rest of the ingrediens and knead it together. You will probably need to add more flour. The dough shouldn't be very sticky.
  4. The dough will need more flour than the recipe says. It should not be sticky or it will be very hard to work with.
  5. Put it somewhere cold until the dough is completely cool. This will take a few hours
  6. Roll it thinly (3 mm) and use the cookie cutters to cut thin cookies - like with gingerbread cookies.
  7. Brush them with egg and add a topping of chopped almonds, sugar and cinnamon
  8. Bake for about 8 minutes at 200 C in convection oven or 225 C in a regular oven. Or until the edges turn golden.

Madam Mangor’s recipes, 1890

And I have also found a version of the cakes in “Madam Mangor’s Kogebog” from 1890 where there are two recipes for “jødekager”. These doesn’t look to be what we today would think of as jødekager but rather a different cookie. Click on the individual recipes to read the original Danish recipe.

Print Recipe
Jewish Christmas Cookies anno 1890 - 1
Delicate traditional Christmas cookies. Recipe from 1890
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Mix the ingredients and knead them together.
  2. Roll out the dough with a bit of flour. Don’t roll them too thinly (I am guessing a 3-5 millimeters would be the right thickness)
  3. Use a cup or a water glass as a cookie cutter
  4. Brush with an egg yoke
  5. Bake the cookies. Again there are no instructions on how long, but until they edges start to turn golden is a good rule with these kinds of cookies.
Recipe Notes

Source: Madam Mangor's Kogebog 1890

This recipe however is very close to the modern version of the cookie. Many people bake them in this shape with half an almond on top.

Print Recipe
Jewish Christmas Cookies anno 1890 - 2
Traditional Christmas cookies topped with cinnamon sugar and almonds. Recipe from 1890
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Dissolve the ammonium bicarbonate in a bit of rosewater
  2. Mix it with flour, sugar, butter and brown sugar. Knead it well.
  3. Roll it out and use a water glass to cut the cookies.
  4. Brush the cookies with egg and add half an almond in the center of each.
  5. Bake them. It doesn't say for how long or at what temp, but I am guessing 8 min at 200 C.
Recipe Notes

Source: Madam Mangor's Kogebog, 1890

If you are interested Madam Sif has more recipes at her blog, among them one from 1859.


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