Ya, You Betcha!
Living in Minnesota for the majority of the past 17 years, I’ve learned a little bit about Scandinavian culture. Minnesota and Wisconsin have sister cities in many Scandinavian countries and the Minnesota State Fair is filled with tasty treats like Lingonberry ice cream and Lefse (a potato-type pancake…thing). In honor of all things Scandinavian and Minnesotan, I have decided to make Berliner Kranser cookies for my first installment of Cookies from Around the World. They are also called Norwegian Wreaths or Butter Knots.
I made Berliner Kranser cookies with my friend as a teenager and they stuck with me!
The Recipe for Berliner Kranser
It took me a while to find this exact recipe under the title “Norwegian Wreaths”. I had no idea there was a different name for them, until I found a recipe that had both titles. There were several recipes for Berliner Kranser and I decided to go with the one that seems to be the most authentic, English written recipe I could find. It’s from the Daughters of Norway’s website and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me!
They were kind enough to give me permission to post the recipe here on the blog, so lets show them some love and check out their website! There are lots of yummy recipes as well as events, crafts, and traditions of Norway.
This recipe was submitted by Erlene Stevenson and Jeanette Gustafson to The Daughters of Norway and I have posted the recipe exactly as it is written.
- 4 uncooked egg* yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 2 cups flour [or more – up to 3 cups]
- 2 hard boiled egg* yolks
- 2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
- 2 or more egg* whites, beaten until foamy
- Coarse Sugar (can be colored) or Parlsukker** (Pearl Sugar)
- Mix uncooked egg yolks and sugar for 10 minutes by hand.
- In large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and well blended.
- Mash the hard boiled egg yolks in small bowl using a fork.
- Crumble butter and flour together in another larger bowl.
- Add all ingredients to the butter-flour mixture and mix well. You may need to add at least 1/2 cup more flour so dough is stiff enough to work with.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour before proceeding to make it easier to work with.
- Take out 1/4 of dough and roll small amounts into little worms on a well floured surface (about 5” long).
- Form teach worm into a small ring.
- Dip ring in beaten egg whites*** and place on parchment covered cookie sheet allowing at least 2” between cookie rings.
- Sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake in preheated 350° oven (F) 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown [check often as ovens vary and you don’t want to overcook these].
- Slide parchment paper off cookie sheet onto cooling racks or counter (if counter top allows for heat). Otherwise, let sit just slightly on cookie sheet and then using a spatula, carefully take the cookies off and place on cooling racks. [Cookies are delicate.]
Tips from the recipe authors:
- Either eat immediately when fresh or store in air-tight container (tins are great) for up to two weeks.
- Cookies can be frozen ( just use wax paper between layers and place in Freezer Ziploc ks or Tupperware).
- *Eggs today, come in so many sizes. Medium eggs work best for this recipe. If using larger eggs, you will need to add additional flour (up to 1 cup).
- The hard boiled egg yolks give these a beautiful color.
- **Parlsukker (pearl sugar) can be found in Scandinavian shops and specialty markets. Try Olson’s and other links on left for finding this if you don’t have an Ikea or Scandinavian store near you.
- ***Instead of dipping the cookies (which are touchy to handle when moistened), simply brush on the egg white mixture to formed wreaths on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Then follow remaining directions.
- These are amazing yet tricky to make. Practice improves your results.
- Keep the dough as cold as possible before forming and add additional flour so it holds it shape.
- Yield: about:3 – 4 dozen cookies
Here is my step by step:
The night before I made the cookies, I hard boiled my two eggs. Next time I’ll probably let them cook a little longer because they didn’t crumble as easily as I was hoping.
The next day I was ready to make my cookies. I mixed the 4 egg yolks and sugar together, then beat it by hand for 10 minutes. Yes, I set a timer and beat those things for 10 minutes! The difference was quite amazing!
The egg/sugar mixture changed so much in color and texture. It lightened in color and fluffed up for a lack of a better term.
After that, I creamed this mixture with the butter in my big mixer.
Then I added the hard boiled egg yolks, flavoring, and flour, and mixed it until it was well combined and forming a ball. I then wrapped up the dough and put it in the fridge to chill.
I ended up not getting back to them until the next day but it worked out well. The dough was nice and cold and made it very easy to work. I didn’t use the extra flour to roll out, I put a piece of Press N Seal down on my work surface and it was great for rolling and cleaning up later.
The dough was cut into 4 pieces and 3 went right back in the fridge to keep them from warming up. It softened quickly so it was great to work with it in small batches.
Using a cookie scoop to separate the dough into smaller balls, I then rolled out the ‘snakes’ in 5 inch sections, trying to keep them all the same in diameter for even baking.
After they were rolled, I folded them into the correct shape, and pressed them down where they met in the middle to keep them together.
They were then dipped in the foamy egg wash and put on a parchment lined pan. Next time I will brush on the egg wash to get a more even coating.
I sprinkled the egg washed cookies with granulated sugar instead of pearl sugar.
I rotated the pan at 10 minutes, and took them out after 14 total minutes when they started to brown on the top and sides.
Thoughts on Berliner Kranser Cookies:
Yes, Berliner Kranser cookies are as delicious as they look! A little crunch on the top from the sugar and foamy egg wash, and a smooth, soft texture in the middle make these wonderful!
The secret ingredient, hard boiled egg yolks, really shine through here adding beautiful color and texture. Making these reminded me why I have remembered them for close to 20 years!
I hope this has inspired you to try Berliner Kransers and maybe even check out the culture of Norway. Let me know if you make them and if you liked them. Do you have any recipes with strange ingredients? I would love to hear about it!
Thanks for reading,