The happiest times of a child’s life has to include birthdays and Christmases, and I remember clearly both my grandmother and my mother making these cookies at those special times. In Denmark, these celebrations have the same ingredients and wonderful smells, year after year, generation after generation, century after century. We fly our flag high, proud to be Danish, lucky to have been born with such great family hygge values and traditions – it really is no wonder that Denmark and its people are voted the happiest in the world year after year.
Makes about 50 cookies
- 120g (4oz/scant 1 cup) whole raw almonds
- 250g (9oz/1¼ cups) raw cane sugar
- 200g (7oz/generous ½ cup) golden syrup (light corn syrup)
- 250g (9oz/generous 1 cup/2¼ sticks) butter, cubed
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp allspice
- 2 tbsp ground cloves
- 500g (1lb 2oz/4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp orange peel
- Place the almonds in boiling water and leave for a couple of minutes, then drain and remove the skins. Roughly chop and set aside.
- Place the sugar, syrup and butter in a saucepan and bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, mix the spices, flour and chopped almonds together. In a small bowl, mix together the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water, then add to the spice mix. Pour in the sugar syrup, add the orange peel and mix well. Leave to cool.
- Divide the cookie dough into 2 long, fat sausage shapes. You can either make the cookies now, or cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and keep in the fridge until ready to use. The mixture can easily keep in the fridge for a few weeks, but will need to be removed from the fridge a couple of hours before you want to bake.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Cut the dough into thin slices or roll out thinly and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Bake the cookies for 5–7 minutes until nicely browned.