Brunkager (Danish Christmas Cookies)


If you ask a Dane about classic Danish Christmas cookies, I’m sure they’ll mention brunkager, or “brown cookies,” which are a crispy gingerbread cookie with almonds, spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. They’re sort of like a larger version of pebernødder, except with almonds.

Personally my favorite Danish Christmas cookies are vaniljekranse, but brunkager are such a Danish classic that it wouldn’t be Christmas without them – at least in Denmark.

brunkager danish christmas cookies

I’ve been on a bit of a citrus kick with my Christmas baking, adding orange zest to almost all of my cookies. I added the zest from half an orange to these brunkager and thought they turned out so good! But the orange is totally optional – a lot of Danes make brunkager without orange.

grating orange for brunkager

I didn’t have whole almonds when I made this batch, so I used sliced almonds instead, which was a lot easier because I didn’t have to blanch and chop them. But if you have whole almonds I do think they’re a bit better, or at least more nutty. If you want a shortcut, using sliced almonds is certainly easier, and it tastes almost the same.

I’ve also seen some people add pistachios to their brunkager, which I’ve never tried but I imagine it tastes good.

making brunkager dough

After melting the butter, syrup and sugar, be sure to let the mixture cool back to about lukewarm (if you stick your finger in, it shouldn’t feel hot). Otherwise the dough might not hold its shape well in the fridge, and your cookies won’t be round. But if this happens, they will still taste the same!

slicing brunkager cookies

If your brunkager crumble at all while slicing, you can simply press the dough back together.

The cookies will be soft when they come out of the oven, but they will harden as they cool. Brunkager are meant to be hard and crunchy, like gingerbread cookies.

brunkakger danish christmas cookies on a plate

You can switch the recipe from US measurements to metric by clicking from “US Customary” to “Metric” under Ingredients.

brunkakger danish christmas cookies on a plate

Brunkager (Danish Christmas Cookies)

Brunkager are classic Danish Christmas cookies spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Danish
Keyword: Christmas, cinnamon, cookies, ginger
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 25 cookies
Author: Silvia


  • 9 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup light syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds (or almond slices)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • zest from half an orange (optional)
  • 1 tsp potash (or 1/2 tsp baking soda)


  • Melt the butter, syrup, and brown sugar and let cool until lukewarm.
  • Blanch and chop the almonds, and add to a large mixing bowl together with the flour, cinnamon, allspice, ground cloves, ginger, and orange zest. If using potash, mix it with one tablespoon of water and add to the dry ingredients. Or if using baking soda instead, add it to the mixture.
  • Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing first with a spoon and then kneading the dough together with your hands. Roll the dough into a long sausage, as thick as you would like the cookies to be. Wrap the sausage in plastic wrap, and if the dough is very soft, you can wrap it again in baking paper so that it keeps its round shape.
  • Leave the dough in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 355°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  • Slice the cookie dough into thin slices and set on a baking sheet. The cookies won't spread too much in the oven, but leave a bit of space between each. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bottoms turn golden.
  • Cool on a wire rack. The cookies will harden as they cool.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Previous Post Next Post