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.

Most often they are part of the initial decorations in the tree as soon as it´s set up, but will be eaten slowly and sneakily by the kids, the husband or the family dog, who then feign utter dismay and surprise when the whole tree is empty and all you find is naked ribbons on the branches. It's all part of the tradition, and it's best to be prepared! Smart moms usually have several packages at hand to replace the empty spots in the tree, but ever smarter moms (or dads, or anybody else for that matter) bake their own!

The recipe is as simple as can be, and would be a fun project to do with kids or friends on these cold, blistery days. I´m posting a simple, straightforward recipe but you may consider making it your own. Sprinkle with colored sugar, add some chocolate or cinnamon to the recipe, or you might even dip the cookies in chocolate before hanging them in the tree. Just make sure you hang the chocolate ones higher up in the tree so Fido can´t get a nibble, since chocolate is not good for dogs...

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, cold and diced
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (or 2 teaspoons vanilla essence)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten

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 and milk. If the mixture is too dry, add in one 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 flour dusted counter, to about a quarter inch, or half a centimeter thick, thicker if you like chewy, thinner if you like crisp cookies. 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 sugar, cinnamon, sliced almonds or colored sugar on top. Bake on the middle rack until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool on a rack. Cut 10 inch ribbons and thread through the hole, then put a knot in it and decorate your tree as you see fit.

Makes about 20 cookies.

I wish you all a wonderful, magical Christmas time!


  1. I have been living in the USA now for 24 years and the older I get the more I miss the old Dutch recipes. With Christmas around the corner I was looking for Kersstollen and found it on this site. To my delight I also found worstebroodjes and Bosche Bollen - I grew up in Brabant. Thank you so much for posting all these great recipes. My husband just doesn't know - he will be eating real Dutch food on occasion now :-)

  2. I am using your picture of the Christmas tree with the Kerstkransjes in my Spanish class presentation on Christmas traditions around the world. Thank you. I will cite you in my presentation.

  3. Just discovered your site - what great recipes with traditional and historic info as well! Our family will have a Dutch Christmas dinner this year, and everyone now makes a recipe from your site. Thank you! Re: the Kerstkransjes recept - is het 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder en 1/3 cup sugar? Of 1 tot 3 cups of sugar? Dank U wel!

    1. Hello Monique,
      Thank you for your message! The amounts are 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/3 cup sugar, you are right! I look forward to hearing all about the Christmas dinner, it sounds like a lot of fun!


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