Sunday, February 27, 2005

Once upon a time...

... a long, long time ago, there was this little geezer, who was very bored. "I want something to do!" yelled the little one, as he was lying there, snugly between all of his friends in the drawer - the cut out cookie shapes, the cheese cutter and the butter knife. "Come on, I can be of good use!!" he tried again, hoping someone would hear him...

The drawer opened. The little cutter looked up, hoping so much that... but no. They took his friends, the Whiskers out instead. "Wheeeeeiie!" they laughed, they couldn't wait to go tumbling and twirling!

After a little while they came back in the drawer, all nice and squeaky clean. "You know what we did, you know what we did??!" they asked the little cutter. "No" the little cutter answered - he was still a bit sad he hadn't been a part of the adventure. "Oh we twirled, and danced, and beat, and creamed sugar and butter! And eggs, one after the other! And lemon zest! And after that, we got a hot bath, and then they put us back here - but we just saw them kneading something!"

The little cutter got all worked up - it sure sounded like something he'd heard before! Maybe, just maybe... they were making klejner out there. Oh klejner, his favorite thing to cut! One long row after each other, then cutting the rows in 5 cm. bits, and then making a little hole in the middle of the cut-out! The drawer opened, he saw a hand - oh joy, they picked him up!! He cut, and swayed and tap-danced all over the rolled-out dough, watched the hands pick up the pieces and gently fold them around in a knot - all the pieces he'd help make:

Before he was even done, he saw the klejner being finished off in a deep pot, making them go all brown and crisp when they came back - it did look a little scary, and he was happy he wasn't the one going that pot.

- even though they sure did look nice when they came back.

The little cutter was getting somewhat tired know - there had been a lot of dough, but now there was no more left. He looked around, and saw all of the flour and greased paper and the jars with all the finished klejner. Imagine, without him, there'd be none of these. He relaxed as he was picked up one last time, put into a hot and soapy bath, dried off, and put back in the drawer with all of the friends once again.

And that my friends, is the true Christmas tale of the little cutter in the drawer...

Sorry for the weird timing of posting this one - as you can probably tell, I made these for Christmas and well, time just hasn't come around for me to post about them until now. Better late than never, and I suppose I can just consider myself in good time for next Christmas now !

Aunt Hannes Klejner - a traditionel Danish Christmas cookie
5 eggs
250 g. sugar
425 g. butter, softened
1 kg. flour
9 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons cardamom
zest of 1 organic lemon

Cream the butter and sugar well, then add the eggs one by one, then the cream. Add flour, cardamom and lemon zest, switching to hand-kneading as the dough gets heavier. Leave in a cool place for about and hour. Roll out thin, about 5 mm. thick, and cut out - I'd say about 3 cm. wide, 6 cm. long, and don't forget to use your cutter! Cut a hole in the middle, and push one end of the cut-out through the hole - see above picture. Fry in palmin until cooked through (sorry, you'll have to test, tee-hee)

Palmin is this (actually really nasty!) frying medium, solid when at room temperature. I have no idea what the equivalent would be in other countries, but if anyone has any idea, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me. Otherwise I'm pretty sure you could just fry them in any oil you'd use for frying beignet or doughnuts.


Barbara Fisher said...

Who cares when you posted it?

They look delicious!

I am just glad you posted them.

Something new for me to make at Yule.

Anne said...

Very cute! :) I loved the story! Although you did make me feel a little bad about my own cutter, he's definitely neglected...

LeeLoreya said...

Mahh-velous ! Those look like little cushions on which the cookie cutter can have a well-deserved rest! Oh and I remember the Svenske Chocoladebrod, it was the recipe I made when I first read your blog and was so enthusiasted (or do you say enthused?) by it that I immediately made it. These seem a little more tricky (probably because it's DOUGH(as in ominous yet fascinating hummungus ball) and the the large amounts of ingredients), but the idea of sitting down with sore arms, everything cleaned in the kitchen and taking a crispy bite seems very rewarding.

Stephanie said...

First I see Cathy's Ginger cookies (which I now Must Make for Matt!), and now this? Looks like I'll be havinga busy week in the kitchen...thanks! (no, I really mean it. Thanks!)

Zarah Maria said...

Barbara - yes who would care? As long as what is posted is good, a little chronology shouldn't come in the way!

Anne - I'm sure you'll let him out and play soon, then everything will be fine again!

Lee - oh yes, I remember reading your comments on the chokoladebrød, an hour apart or something - I thought that was so cool! You just jumped right in the kitchen - I always take hours to pull myself together to hop in there. These are definetly more labour intensive, but worth it - and you could always half the recipe you know?;-)

Stephanie - you are so very welcome! I aim to keep you busy, tee-hee!

Cathy said...

Hi Zarah - there's a recipe like this coming up in my Maida Heatter cookie book (a couple years off at the rate I'm going, though!). It's called Swedish Fried Twists, but it's very similar. It scares me a bit because I have never done any deep fat frying - I think it's fear of burning the house down! Anyway, when their turn comes I am determined to make them...and I will have to equip myself with a little pastry wheel since I don't have one! P.S. - I wonder if Palmin is like Crisco in the US?

Anonymous said...

Hmm, some of those don't look entirely G-rated.
I've been a little obsessed with Copenhagen ever since I was little and watched the little mermaid (not the disney version) and the camera panned out across the city, 'oh my gosh, is that place for real? do people live there? why don't I live there? i hate California! sigh...' 'are you watching the little mermaid again? go outside and play!'

Anonymous said...

These sound great, Zarah, and I loved your story!


Santos said...

hi zarah! that's such a sweet story and yet, i have to agree with anon who said they don't look entirely g-rated, family friendly :-D

and just a note to cathy--palmin *is* like crisco!

Zarah Maria said...

Hi Cathy! I'm not so comfortable deep frying stuff either, but keeping a big lid nearby helps me somewhat - and these, and I bet the Swedish twists also - should be well worth the trouble - and the smell afterwards... Doh! That's why I do them at my Dad's, he! Re. Crisco, Santos says it's the same, but I bet you already saw that?:-)

Anon - Copenhagen is fabulous, I truly do love it here! But sometimes, I'd swap sunny California for snow-muddy CPH in a blink of an eye!

Moira - thanks!

Santos - and Anon! Well I must say - you people have twisted minds man! They're COOKIES for crying out loud!;-P And thanks for the info on the palmin/crisco business!

Santos said...

twisted cookies for twisted minds, baby!

Lisa said...

Thank you for taking me back to my childhood with this. My grandfather grew up in Grena and we had klejner every year at Christmastime. I've never known anyone else here in the U.S. that makes it.

Anonymous said...

We've been making Klejner in the USA for years (lots of danish anscetors), glad some others are too! We've fry it in vegetable shortning (Crisco).

Anonymous said...

Klejner variations? When I was a kid (in the 60's) my best friend was Danish and his Mom made Klejner. I loved them and I seem to remember them having a very mild flavor with a hint of lemon. I do not remember them being fried although that was a while ago. I've seen many different recipes, the one posted on this page is the first to mention lemon. I married a Danish lady (hoping she'd make me Klejner) but she never heard of them. So... Has anyone heard of a baked Klejner? Are there any Klejner experts out there?

Jolleen said...

I am Danish and grew up making klejners-I love your blog about them so I had to share it with some friends and family!!

Anonymous said...

I'm from denmark and this is a staple Christmas cookie. You should fry the cookies in lard. It works much better than using vegetable oils. Don't let them get too brown while frying!