Berliner Kranser-Norweigan Christmas Cookies
Every year my grandmother made these cookies at her oak wood kitchen table that now has a place in my kitchen. It was always the weekend after Thanksgiving. She and her sister mastered these cookies at a young age when the first arrived in Baltimore from Norway. They made them effortlessly, she shaped them with mechanical precision. The wreath shape and size were always consistent and they were never over or under baked. I'm sure the reason she could she could roll and cut Berliner Kranser (Berlin Wreaths) into perfect wreaths was she started making these for guests of my great-grandfather the sea captain when she was 8 years old.
These are my all time favorite Christmas cookies.The texture is unlike another cookie you've ever tasted. They are delicate but have character and complexity, the Liv Ullmann of Christmas cookies.
Changing the shape to a small ball makes them suitable for anytime you want a delicate butter cookie. But traditionally they were only for Christmas my grandmother would make so many they'd last until Easter stored in old pretzel tins.
Makes about 10 dozen cookies.
4 hard boiled yolks
4 raw yolks, reserve the whites for the topping
1 cup sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, soft
4-5 cups all-purpose, sifted
1 cup granulated sugar
4 egg whites
1. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper or use silpat. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
2. In a large bowl mix the yolks and sugar until smooth with a wooden spoon
3. Add ¼ the butter and ¼ the flour to the yolks continue alternating between the flour and the butter until all butter is mixed in. Add enough flour to make a firm dough that will hold its shape.* Mix well but do not over mix. Place on waxed paper shape into a log and refrigerate about one hour.
4. Roll the dough into a rope about 3/8" thick and cut into 5" lengths. Cross one end over the other to make a wreath shape.
5. Beat the egg whites in a shallow glass dish (pie plate) until they form very soft peaks. Place granulated sugar on a separate plate. Dip into the egg white and then the sugar. Place on sheet pan sugar side up about 1" apart and bake for about 12-15 minutes.
Store in an airtight container.
*For the most delicate cookies only incorporate as much as you need for the dough to hold it's shape. You can test bake a cookie to make sure it holds its shape if you are unsure.
Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie