Dutch Christmas Cookies (Kerstkransjes)

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Dutch Christmas Cookies (or Kerstkransjes)

I lived in the Netherlands for about 30 years and one of the best times of the year was Christmas time, when my favourite ‘Kerstkransjes’ were sold in Albert Hein and the other shops. For some reason, these delicious Dutch Christmas Cookies are only sold there around Christmas time. But I think they are so good they should really be available all year-round.

biscuit dough
Biscuit dough ready for the fridge

So for those of you who cannot live without them, here is a tasty dutch cookie recipe for ‘Kerstkransjes’ so you can make them yourself at home.

What are Kerstkransjes?

A Kerstkransje in Dutch means a little (je) Christmas (Kerst) wreath (krans). These Dutch biscuits are supposed to look like a Christmas wreath of holly, say, that you would hang on your front door at Christmas time. They are a very typical Dutch Christmas snack.

Cookies ready for the oven

Traditionally these Xmas biscuits would be hung in the tree at Christmas time, but beware if you do this as they will go stale quite quickly, so only hang them when you intend to eat them. Nice for the kids though – I bet they do not last very long!

Try and use a flower-shaped cookie cutter like the one shown below to get the proper shape (mine was more clover shaped!)

dutch christmas cookies

Typical Dutch Christmas Food

Kerstkransjes are not to be confused with a Kerstkrans, which is another Dutch Christmas delicacy of a circular shape. The Kerstkrans is in fact a flaky puff pastry which contains almond paste (or amandelspijs). They are also available in a straight shape and are known then as a banketstaaf. Also well worth trying if you like almonds.

dutch xmas biscuits

 

If you are in the Netherlands at the end of the year it normally feels a bit like one long party from November through to the New Year. First of all, you have Sinterklaas who arrives in NL from Spain around the middle of November until the 5th December, bearing gifts of chocolate letters and kruidnoten (small ginger cookies) for the kids.

kerstkransjes
Dutch Christmas Cookies (Kerstkransjes)

 

On the 5th December presents are handed out between family and friends in the evening when Sinterklaas is celebrated. This tends to be a bigger celebration in many families than Christmas (as you do not want to spoil the kids too much!).

Then around Christmas time you have other special foods like a Kerststol, which is a type of bread with currents and raisons and is filled again with almond paste, which is certainly a Dutch favourite.

Dutch Christmas Cookies (Kerstkransjes)

And at New Year everyone makes their own oliebollen, which are balls of deep fried dough sprinkled with icing sugar and served warm. Absolutely delicious! I need to get a recipe for these on my site asap!

dutch christmas cookies

I hope you get to try this Dutch cookies recipe yourself. If you do, please let me know how you get on in the comments section below!

Enjoy!

How to make Kerstkransjes

Dutch Christmas Cookies (Kerstkransjes)

christmas cookies

An easy recipe for some traditional Dutch Christmas cookies (Kerstkransjes) that you can hang in your Xmas tree. Super delicious at any time of the year!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • The zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 150g salted butter, cut into small squares

To Coat

  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Put the all dough ingredients into a bowl and mix well with your hands, using your fingers and thumbs to combine the flour and sugar with the butter, until you have a firm dough.
  2. Wrap the dough in baking parchment and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Then remove from the fridge and roll out the dough with a rolling pin until about 5 mm thick.
  4. Prepare a baking tray with some baking parchment. Then, using a suitable cookie cutter, cut out your cookies and place them on the baking tray, leaving some space between them. The cookies should have a hole in the middle - I used an icing bag nozzle to cut out the holes in mine.
  5. Then brush the cookies with some beaten egg and sprinkle them with sugar and the sliced almonds.
  6. Place in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. If your oven is unevenly warm, you may need to turn the tray 180 degrees halfway through.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool.

Notes

Store in an airtight container. Only hang them in the Xmas tree the day you wish to eat them.

The above quantities will make about 24 biscuits.

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