These Dutch Christmas Cookies are traditionally hung on the Christmas tree for you to eat them right off of the tree as you enjoy your holiday celebrations!
This week I will be presenting a variety of Christmas Cookies for you. Cookies make the perfect holiday gift. It is a gift you know won’t go to waste. Come on – even if the person you give it to doesn’t like the flavor, I am sure they can pass it on to somebody who will love the cookies.
Cookies are a great gift to give to your kids’ teachers. Let your kids help you bake the cookies to teach them to show appreciation for everything their teachers do all year long for them. Here in America, teachers are some of the most overworked and underpaid people and I am sure they will love these hand made gifts from the heart.
Let’s try to avoid consumerism this holiday season which is polluting our planet more and more every year and instead give an edible gift that will happily go into somebody’s tummy instead of a landfill.
My mom’s family is from the Dutch Caribbean and I have a lot of family who have migrated to the Netherlands from Aruba, Curacao and Suriname. I now have 3 generations of Dutch relatives and much of my family is as Dutch as they are Antillean.
I have been visiting the Netherlands since I was a child. Although I usually visit during the summer, one year I was there during the holiday season. It is such a festive time of year and one of the nicest seasons to visit the Netherlands.
Strolling through Amsterdam’s Christmas markets in freezing temperatures as we take hot chocolate breaks in cafés every ½ hour. Watching fireworks and eating lots of Olliebollen (Dutch Fruit Doughnuts) on New Year’s Eve. Ice skating on the canals that irrigate the farm land in rural areas and warming up afterwards with glasses of Gluhwein (warm spiced wine). These are just some of the reasons to visit the Netherlands during the holiday season.
I am always staying with family when I visit. They are spread throughout the entire country, allowing me to visit different areas and never have to pay for hotel. Aren’t I lucky!!!
We mostly eat Antillean or Surinamese food at home, so I rarely eat Dutch food. The exception is desserts. In the Netherlands, lunch is the heaviest meal of the day. Dinner is a lighter affair eaten in the early evening and usually about 1-2 hours after dinner, there is always an evening snack. Tea or coffee with some kind of dessert. Apple pie, carrot cake, sweet bread, cookies. There is always an assortment to choose from that was purchased from the local bakery. If nothing else, then there is always bread with jam and cheese!
Although my family aren’t usually bakers, the Christmas season is different. Since much of my extended family have married Hollanders, I got to learn some traditional Dutch recipes from them like these Kerstkransjes – Dutch Christmas Cookies.
The Dutch have a large variety of traditional cookies and two of these cookies are especially popular during the holiday season – Jan Hagel (recipe coming later in the week) and these Kerstkransjes.
Kerstkransjes – Dutch Christmas Cookies are traditionally cut into a wreath shape and then they are hung with ribbons on Christmas trees. Of course, we only hang the cookies on Christmas Day itself and people will eat the cookies right off the tree. You don’t want to put the cookies on the tree in advance for the cookies to become stale.
I didn’t have a wreath set of cookie cutters, so I used the closest shape I had. I think these worked perfectly.
These cookies are not overly sweet and have just enough sweetness to compliment a cup of tea perfectly.
Not only are these delicious cookies, but also edible ornaments!
Whether you keep them for your own family or share them out, everyone will fall in love with these Kerstkransjes – Dutch Christmas Cookies!
Kerstkransjes – Dutch Christmas Cookies
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon lemon extract or 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon almond essence
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup cold butter
- 5 tablespoons milk
- Topping Ingredients:
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
- In a bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon extract and almond essence.
- Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles small peas.
- Add egg and mix well for 2-3 minutes.
- Add milk a little at a time.
- As soon as it starts to come together (after about 4 tablespoons of the milk), knead it by hand and add the additional milk, if necessary.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with non stick spray.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about ¼” thick.
- Using a large and a small cookie cutter of the same shape, cut out cookies.
- Transfer cookies to cookie sheets.
- Keep on re rolling the excess dough until all of the dough has been utilized.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water.
- Brush the cookies with the egg wash.
- Sprinkle sugar on top of the cookies.
- Distribute almon slices on top of the cookie cutouts.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until cookies feel set.
- Let cool completely before removing from tray.
- Tie with ribbons and hang on the Christmas tree.
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