Cakespy: Berlinerkranser

Cakespy

Quirky, cute, sometimes controversial, always delicious recipes from Jessie Oleson.

Cakespy: Berlinerkranser
  • Yield:about 36 cookies

[Original artwork and photographs: Jessie Oleson]

In spite of what the name may imply, the Berlinerkranser is actually not German at all—in just about every recipe I have seen, these rich wreath-shaped butter cookies are said to hail from Norway, where they are a holiday tradition.

Could it be the result of German immigration patterns? Or perhaps these buttery wreaths call to mind the holiday decorations from Berlin?

Alas, while I cannot answer these questions, I can attest to their deliciousness. Buttery, crumbly, and complemented with a whisper of tartness from orange zest and plenty of sweetness from candied fruit garnish, these cookies are like a bite of holiday cheer.

20091212berlinerkransen.jpg

Berlinerkranser

About the author: Jessie Oleson is a Seattle-based writer, illustrator, and cake anthropologist who runs Cakespy, an award-winning dessert website.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • red candied cherries
  • green candied pineapple or citron

Directions

  1. 1.

    Mix butter, 1 cup sugar, orange rind, and eggs thoroughly. Stir in sifted flour until fully incorporated. Chill dough.

  2. 2.

    Heat oven to 400°F. Break off small pieces of dough and roll about 8 inches long (kind of like the length of a pencil, but fatter). The recipe notes that if your dough is dry, you can let it warm up a bit more or work in a couple of drops of cream until the dough feels solid. Form each piece into a circle, leaving about a half-inch overlap on either side. Where the two ends meet, press a finger to seal the ends and form an indent (it will make a nice resting place for the candied fruit later). Place the circles on an ungreased baking sheet.

  3. 3.

    Beat the egg white until frothy; gradually beat in the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Brush tops with this meringue.

  4. 4.

    Note: I made some of the cookies without the meringue; I actually preferred how they tasted without. So if you'd prefer to bake them without, skip step 3.

  5. 5.

    Press bits of candied cherries on the indent you pressed where the cookie-ends meet, to form holly berries; add little pieces of green candied citron or pineapple cut into leaf-like shapes to the sides.

  6. 6.

    Bake for 12 minutes, or until set but not brown.

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