Vanilla Wreaths are another Christmas cookie that is quintessentially Danish. Though they are also eaten outside Christmas. They are sweet, crisp and full of almonds and vanilla. The cookie goes back to around 1840. Here is my recipe as well as one of Madam Mangor’s recipes from 1866, that I am yet to test out.
Today the cookies are made using a meat grinder – yes that sounds strange, but it is perfect for forming the dough. You can make it using a piping bag but really it is a mess and quite annoying – but it is possible. The important part is that the nozzle – which should be star shaped. Without the nozzle, you do not get the little fiddly bits that gets crisp and crunchy.
As with all cookies it is important to keep them in a tin to keep them crisp. A tin works much better than a plastic box or a glass container.
My recipe – modern version
Every year me and my girl friends host a day of baking Christmas cookies and a few years back one of the friends introduced vaniljekranse to the mix, so this is her recipe.
- 100 grams almonds blanched
- 330 grams butter cold
- 500 grams flour 800 ml
- 220 grams sugar 250 ml
- 1 egg
- 1 vanilla pod
Chop the almonds finely - without them turning into paste. That makes the dough much easier to work with.
Combine the flour and butter.
Add the sugar, egg, vanilla and almonds.
Put the dough in the fridge until it is cold. Do not freze it. Take it out about half an hour before you want to make them.
Put the dough though the meat grinder, cut it into chunks before hands - it makes it easy to work with.
Form the sauceges into wreaths and set them down on a baking tray with paper on it.
Bake them for 7-10 min or 200 C - convention oven (or 225 C in a regular oven). You can bake two plates at once.
Madam Mangor’s recipe – 1890
From my copy of Madam Mangor’s kogebog.
Vanilla Wreaths - 1890
- 350 grams flour
- 230 grams butter
- 230 grams sugar white
- 230 grams almonds blanched & chopped
- 1 teaspoon ammonium bicarbonate dissolved in a bit of rosewater, or baking soda
- 0,5 vanilla pod
Preheat the oven
Knead flour, butter, sugar, the almonds, the ammonium bicarbonate and the vanilla pod.
Form them into wreaths using a bit of flour
Bake them until they are golden brown It doesn't say for how long or how hot, but I am guessing for 8 min at 200 C
Source: Madam Mangor's Kogebog 1890
Madam Mangor’s recipe – 1866
The Old Town in Aarhus has the recipe from 1866 on their website, here is an English transulation of that recipe. It is a bit different from the other ones.
Vanilla Wreaths - 1866
- 500 grams flour
- 1 egg
- 350 grams butter soft
- 250 grams sugar
- 0,5 vanilla pod whole
- 250 grams blanched almonds chopped
- 15 grams bitre blanched almonds chopped (or more normal almonds)
Knead flour, egg, butter, sugar, vanilla and almonds together, until the dough doesn't stick to your hands.
Roll the dough into finger thick sauceges
Cut each into about 12 cm long pieces and shape the wreaths so they have a large hole in the middle. Otherwise they will close. Use a bit of flour on your fingers while shaping them.
If you have a meat grinder with a vanilla wreath plate use that.
Bake them golden brown for 20 min at 180 C
Source: Adapted by "Den Gamle By" (The Old Town). Madam Mangor: Fortsættelse af Kogebog for små Husholdninger 1866.