Cakespy: Berlinerkranser

[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.



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

Cakespy: Berlinerkranser

About This Recipe

Yield:about 36 cookies


  • 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


  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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