Last Updated on December 4, 2019 by Chef Mireille
Dutch Kerstkransjes Recipe wreath is a traditional Dutch Christmas Cookie recipe where wreath shaped cookies are hung on the Christmas Tree, so that they double as ornaments.
If you have young children, making these cookies will be a day of great fun as they cut out these cookies and thread the ribbons to hang on the Christmas Tree. And don’t forget to join my Kid’s Korner!
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Christmas is a time for celebration and joy, but it’s also a time to get together with your loved ones and enjoy delicious food! For centuries, Dutch families have been making their own special recipes for festive treats like these old-fashioned cookies called kerstkransjes and Jan Hagel Cookies. These cookies are absolutely essential for the Christmas Season in the Netherlands.
Check out how easy it is to make these delicious traditional Dutch Christmas Cookies we call Kerstkransjes – or little Christmas wreaths when translated.
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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.Due to my Dutch background, I have several other Dutch Recipe here you might like to try!
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.
Christmas Season in the Netherlands
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 Christmas time 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 Oliebollen (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 like apple pie, carrot cake, sweet bread, cookies are the usual evening snacks. 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!
Kerstkransjes are traditionally cut into the shape of Christmas wreaths 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.
How to Make the Little Christmas Wreath Cookies
There are different tools you can use to cut out the wreath shapes if you don’t have a wreath cookie cutter.
- You can use a glass for the wreath shape and use the cap of a water bottle for the middle.
- You can also use the end of an apple corer for the middle.
Not only are these delicious cookies, but also edible ornaments!
These cookies are not overly sweet and have just enough sweetness to compliment a cup of tea perfectly.
Now I know you can’t wait to make these traditional Dutch Christmas Cookies, so it’s time to check the pantry and make sure you have everything you need.
- all purpose flour
- vanilla extract
- lemon extract (or lemon zest)
- almond essence
- sliced almonds
How to Make Kerstkransjes
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- Using a pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the flour.
- Add the egg and the flavorings.
- Add the milk a little at a time.
- As soon as the dough starts to come together, knead it by hand and add the additional milk, if necessary.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Now you cut out the cookies into wreath shapes, using a smaller cookie cutter for the middle of each biscuit to make the hole for the ribbon.
- Brush the cookies with egg wash.
- Sprinkle sugar and sliced almonds on top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are set.
- Let them cool completely.
- Now string them onto long pieces of ribbon and tie them on the Christmas tree.
This year, the candy canes won’t be the only edible ornaments on the tree.
Kerstkransjes – Dutch Christmas Cookies
- 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 sliced almonds 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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Delicious cookies Mir, Dutch Cookies are so rich and flavourful.
actually these cookies taste very light – the perfect snackable cookie!
Wow you surely know how to write interesting stuff about the food you cook and the places you travel! having such a huge family really makes up for an interesting adventure..these cookies are looking so good Mir, thanks for sharing the history behind these cookies..
yes I am very lucky to come from such a large international family
Very interesting recipe. I am gonna try it for this Christmas. Loved reading the whole article.
So glad you enjoyed it. I am sure you will love these Christmas cookies!
Rich and cute cookies! definitely Kids love to help both in cutting out the cookies as well hanging them on the Christmas tree!
yes its a fun activity for the kids
Cookies look super delicious Mir, lovely shape you have given them. Amazing flavors you have added.
thank you – they are definitely the perfect shaped Christmas cookies 🙂
Wow! Love the multi-cultural, multi-national heritage you are lucky to hail from. These cookies look stunning and would love to grab those cute ornaments 🙂
yes I love being from so many different cultures!
Beautiful Dutch cookies Mir. Loved reading the post and learning about the Dutch traditions. I would love to eat those cookies try off the tree 🙂
yes it definitely is fun to do!
The cookies look so festive , loved their shape , it surely looks like a wreath ! Awesome – and as usual your write up is so informative .
thanks I am happy you like the intros as much as the recipes
Yes, I’m back again! Your ingredient Almond essence ia not familiar to me. Can I use regular Almond Extract instead? Thanks! Making these this week. Unfortunately, because of Covid, I have no taste or smell, but everyone else will benefit! Thanks again for sharing!!Q
almond extract/almond essence is the same thing. Depending upon the brand, they label it differently.
Thanks for responding! Can’t wait to make these yummy cookies this week!
Have a great holiday!
Absolutely. Sure you are going to love them.