Kerstkransjes (which literally means little Christmas wreaths) are traditional Dutch Christmas cookies. In December they will appear in all the shops and bakeries and they will come in many shapes, sized and different varieties. Think sprinkled with sugar, decorated with slivered almonds or dipped in chocolate but they do always come with a little hole in middle so you can hang them in your Christmas tree!
Most people will pop a few of these Christmas cookies in the tree as initial decorations but they tend to disappear quickly because they sneakily get eaten by family members (sometimes even leaving the empty ribbons behind)! But you don’t have to hang them in the tree, they are also great to keep in the cupboard to enjoy with a cup of tea or divide the cookies into several little bags which could make a lovely festive gift for friends or family.
(makes approx. 30 cookies)
- 200g flour
- 150g cold butter, finely chopped
- 1 egg yolk
- 100g caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 drops of vanilla essence
To decorate: Egg yolk or some milk, flaked almonds, caster sugar, Milk/Dark/White chocolate
Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl. To this add the (chopped) butter, egg yolk, vanilla essence, caster sugar and salt. Knead until you have a round ball. Then ideally, wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 30 minutes to an hour. You can skip this, but it’s just a bit easier to work with chilled dough and it’s nice to let the flavours blend.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until just less than 1/2 cm thick. Use a large fluted cutter to make the biscuits and a smaller round cutter to remove a disc from the middle of each biscuit. You can use any kind of large (approx. 60mm size) cutter to cut the dough and the end of an apple corer or end of a wide piping nozzle to cut out the smaller hole in the middle. Make sure you don’t waste any dough, just re-rol and make more cookies!
Then carefully transfer the cookies to a lined baking tray (or two, depending on the size of your oven). Brush the cookies with either egg yolk or bit of milk and then decorate as you please. Sprinkle them with sugar, flaked almonds or both! If you want to decorate them with chocolate only then leave them plain – you will do this after they’ve baked.
Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes or until lightly coloured. Remove from a wire wrack and allow them to cook. I then drizzled some of mine with melted chocolate which is a lovely touch and tastes oh so good.
Download a printable version of the recipe HERE.
To hang them in your tree cut long pieces of ribbon, loop through the hole and then tie them to your Christmas tree branches! Looks rather pretty and delicious don’t you think?
Or pop them on a plate with some other Christmas treats, like Chocolate Bark! I love making this treat around Christmas time. It’s super simple and it’s such a a great festive gift. Check out my recipe for Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bark HERE and as you can see below, this year I changed it up a bit by also making a Christmassy white chocolate version with cranberries and pistachios.
Will you be baking up a storm this Christmas and maybe try these Kerstkransjes?