Sunday, December 18, 2016

Amandelkransjes

 The dark days before Christmas, my grandmother called this time of the year. The days are short, and the nights are long. But even though we're lacking daylight outside, doesn't mean we can't make it gezellig inside - a cup of hot tea, a couple of cookies....it's easy to do! It's also probably a good day to finish writing those last Christmas cards, if you haven't done so yet. Last year, the Dutch sent 115 million cards for the holiday season. Several of those may have come your way if you still have family and friends in the Netherlands!

Christmas is also linked to great food. Kerstkransjes, or cookie Christmas wreaths, are a typical sight in Dutch Christmas trees. Sprinkled with sugar, decorated with slivered almonds, round, scalloped, chocolate,...they come in a variety of shapes and flavors, but always with a little hole in the middle so you can tie it to a branch of the tree.

For today, I baked some almond kransjes - some of them may go in my tree, but I've primarily made them to give to a neighbor....but I may have sample one or two with my afternoon tea while I write my Christmas cards! The dough is easy and quick to put together, and the cookies bake in fifteen to twenty minutes. These happen to be scalloped, but you can cut out stars, trees, or snowmen - and it's an easy and fun project to do with kids.

Sprinkle with colored sugar, add some chocolate or cinnamon to the recipe, or you might even dip the cookies in chocolate. They also make a great gift during these holiday times. The recipe makes approximately twenty cookies.

Amandelkransjes
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons butter, cold and diced
1 sachet vanilla sugar (or 2 teaspoons vanilla essence)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 to 3 tablespoons cold milk
1 egg, beaten

For decoration: slivered almonds and granulated sugar

Mix the flour with the salt, the sugar and the baking powder. Carefully knead in the cold butter, then add in the vanilla, lemon zest. If the mixture is too dry, add in a tablespoon of cold milk at a time. Knead everything into a pliable dough, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for an hour, to let the flavors blend.

Roll the dough out on a lightly dusted counter. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Use a drinking glass, or a cookie cutter of any shape, to cut out the cookies. Use the end of an apple corer or a large straw to poke a hole in the middle of the dough. When all cookies are cut and cored, place them on the parchment paper, brush them with egg and sprinkle sliced almonds and sugar on top. Bake on the middle rack until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool on a rack. Now you can either pack them in a cute cookie tin, or cut ribbons and thread through the hole, then put a knot in it and decorate your tree!


5 comments:

  1. Where can we find your recipe for zirkool please?we live in australia and want to try and make it...petekelly038@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Hello Peter!
      You can find a recipe for zuurkool under that same header in the recipe list on the right, or go to this link: http://www.thedutchtable.com/2012/11/zuurkool.html. It's really not that hard to make, you just need a bit of patience! If you already have zuurkool and you are looking for a recipe to use it, try Zuurkoolschotel or Siepeltjespot. Both are very lekker!

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  2. woww... great post. i like your blog very much because you do not simply give us recipes, you tell us more (feeling, weather, memory...). Very good writing. Keep your good job up, Nicole.

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