Danish Vanilla Wreaths – The Best Old-fashioned Recipe

In Recipes by Einherjar

A vanilla wreath (Danish: Vaniljekrans) is a traditional Danish cookie that dates back to the middle of the 19th century. It is one of Christmas’s classic cookies in Denmark, and it is often served freshly baked during the month of December.

Vaniljekranse (plural) are primarily made from wheat flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, and almonds. The circular star-shaped pattern gives the cookie its distinctive look that is so recognizable across the globe.

Who invented the Danish vanilla wreaths are not something that can be said for certain, but after digging through a bunch of old cooking books, one name stood out to me, and that was the name Madam Mangor. It appears that she has written several vanilla wreaths recipes, were the first of them dates back to 1842.

You might have tried these vanilla wreaths before since they are often sold at Christmas markets in the blue iconic tin cans with the name ”Royal Dansk” (Yes, they look like this in Denmark as well). If you don’t want to bake the vanilla wreaths yourself, the Danish butter cookies from this tin can is a good alternative, and they can be ordered from Amazon through this link.

Danish Vanilla Wreaths recipe from 1866

This vanilla wreaths recipe is one of the oldest there is, and it dates back to 1866 from the Danish cookbook by Madam Mangor ”Fortsættelse af Kogebog for små Husholdninger 1866”. This is also the recipe that the bakery at the old town (Den gamle by) in Aarhus, in Denmark, uses. You will get approximately 80 delicious vanilla wreaths by using this recipe. Please note that the recipe contains bitter almonds, they can sometimes be hard to find, but you can order them from Amazon by using this link.

Vanilla Wreaths ingredients

  • 500 gram wheat flour
  • 350 gram soft butter
  • 250 gram sugar
  • 250 gram sweat chopped almonds
  • 15 gram bitter chopped almonds (sweat almonds can also be used)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean finely chopped
  • 1 egg

How to make Vanilla Wreaths method one

  1. Put the wheat flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, and almonds into a bowl, and stir it together.
  2. Knead the dough until it does no longer stick on your hands.
  3. Roll the dough into a sausage as thick as your finger.
  4. Put a little extra flour on your fingers as you roll the sausages.
  5. Cut them out in approximately 12 centimeters long pieces.
  6. Form the pieces into small wreaths with a large hole in the middle.
  7. Bake the vanilla wreaths at 180 degrees celsius for 20 minutes until they are light brown.

How to make Vanilla Wreaths with grooves method two

  1. Put the wheat flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, and almonds into a bowl, and stir it together.
  2. Knead the dough until it does no longer stick on your hands.
  3. If you want the vanilla wreaths to have grooves, you can run the dough through a baking piping bag with a special vanilla wreath pattern. It is not all of the piping bags that are any good, I use one from Amazon, you can check it out by following this link.
  4. Form the pieces into small wreaths by using the piping bag with a large hole in the middle.
  5. Bake the vanilla wreaths at 180 degrees for 20 minutes until they are light brown.

The butter cookies are best served with a cup of coffee or tea, they can as a cookie often is, be a bit dry, so it is nice to sit and dip them in a cup of tea.