Brunkagen is a classic Danish Christmas treat

In Recipes by Einherjar

A brown cake (In Danish: Brunkage) is a bunch of brown cookies which typically baked at Christmas time in Denmark. This Danish Christmas treat dates back to around 1828 when the kitchen stove began to become common in many Danish homes. Ingredients such as wheat flour and sugar did also start to become cheaper, and more families could afford to bake their own bread and cookies more often.

Brunkager (plural) was not just made around Christmas in the 19th century, it was something that was a treat all year round. There are many ways to bake these Danish brown cookies, however, the recipes have many of the same main ingredients such as dark syrup, butter, and wheat flour.

Brunkage recipe from 1860

This Brunkage recipe is a bit different than present-day Brunkage recipes, the cookies from this recipe will not become as crispy and a little hard to chew. They are softer and therefore more gentle on the teeth. This Christmas cookie recipe was written by a Danish woman named Eulalia Ussing.

Brunkage ingredients

  • 150-gram dark syrup
  • 75-gram butter
  • 175-gram wheat flour
  • 75 gram finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of potassium carbonate
  • 1/2 teaspoon of organic lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped pickled orange peel
  • 1 big Tablespoon of crushed rock candy (or coarse dark cane sugar)

How to make Brunkager

  1. Put flour, lemon zest, orange peel, chopped almonds, and cardamom powder in a large bowl, and stir it together.
  2. Put the syrup and butter in a pot and stir it until it starts to boil.
  3. As soon as it boils, take it off the heat and put the dissolved potassium carbonate into it, and stir it.
  4. Pour it into the bowl and mix it together with the flour mixture until the dough gets a soft texture.
  5. Pack the dough well and put it into the refrigerator until the next day.
  6. The next day, knead the dough with the crushed rock candy (or coarse dark cane sugar) and roll it out fairly thinly, about 2 millimeters thin if possible.
  7. Use a glass to cut out the cookies from the thin dough, or cut it into squares.
  8. Bake the cookies at 180 degrees celsius for approx 8 minutes, they should not become too dark.
  9. Put the cookies on a baking rack until they are completely cold.
  10. You can store the cookies in a cookie jar.

They can be served for your guests with a bit of jam on the side just like some people would do in 1860.