{1} Fedtebrød

Hello, hello, hello! And welcome to the 2017 edition of my 12 Bakes of Christmas!!! I know it’s been a while since I last posted (we’ve now got a toddler in the house, so free time’s a bit scarce these days) but the lure of festive baking brought me back. As is the custom, I’ve been on the hunt for some interesting festive baking, and hopefully you will enjoy what is to come over the next few weeks.

We’re starting off with something from Denmark. Fedtebrød is a nice cookie that is flavoured with coconut and finished with icing flavoured with lemon or rum. From what I gather, Danes have firm views about which one is correct, and you’re either Team Rum or Team Lemon. Whichever you end up going with, these little cookies pack a flavour punch which is pretty far removed from the spices and dried fruit that usually features in Christmas fare. If you’re not keen on mince pies or Christmas cake, this might be something for you.

First of all, thought, we need to deal with that name. Fedtebrød literally means “greasy bread”. Yum! Not scoring may points there in the branding department. Let’s hope it tastes better than the name seems to suggest…

Actually, I’ll admit to two attempts at making these things. First time round, I used desiccated coconut, and followed a recipe that has equal amounts of butter and flour, and then half that amount of sugar and coconut (a ratio of 2:2:1:1, which seems to be fairly standard for this cookie). The recipe sort of worked…I made the dough into logs, then it flattened out during baking, but there was a noticeable and not very pleasant greasiness. Seems that they delivered on that name! That first batch tasted fine, but I had the feeling that the result could be better.

My second attempt (and the recipe below) had less butter, and I used coconut flour rather than desiccated coconut. This stuff has a texture rather like ground almonds, and I thought this would help counter any greasiness from the butter and any coconut oil that was released during baking. This time it worked like a dream – the dough kept its shape and had a little bit of height, and the colour was very even. The cookies were buttery and crumbly, but didn’t have the odd texture from before. Result! Well…maybe it’s not how the Danes like them to be, but it was more to my taste.

In the spirit of fairness, I finished two of the bars with two glazes – some lemon, some rum. The choice of icing might make families argue, but I think they both taste great – the lemon is fresh and zesty, while the rum and coconut have a bit of a tropical thing going on. I did notice that the lemon flavour lasted better, so if you’re making these to eat over the course of a few days, I would go for the lemon. I also used neat lemon juice and rum for the glaze, and the flavour was fairly sharp. If that’s what you like, great, but you may want to use some water for a milder flavour if you prefer.

To make Fedtebrød (makes around 25-30 pieces):

For the dough

• 125g plain flour
• 100g unsalted butter
• 75g white caster sugar
• 75g coconut flour
• 1/4 teaspoon baking ammonia

For the glaze

• 100g icing sugar
• rum or lemon juice (don’t mix them!)
• water

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

2. Put all the ingredients for the dough into a bowl and rub together into you have a soft dough. It might seem too dry, but you’ll find the warmth from your hands will soften the butter and it will come together. Note: due to the baker’s ammonia, don’t eat the raw dough!

3. Divide the dough into three pieces. Form into a sausage, around 25cm long, and transfer to the baking tray. Flatten each to a width of around 5cm.

4. Bake the fedtebrød for 10 minutes (turning the tray half-way) until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 4 minutes.

5. While the fedtebrød is baking, make the glaze. Mix the icing sugar with around 4 tablespoons of liquid (lemon juice or rum, plus water) to get a smooth but thick consistency.

6. Drizzle the glaze along the middle of each piece of cookie – you should find the heat from the cookies helps the icing spread a little and go smooth. Leave to set for 2 minutes, then cut diagonally with a sharp knife while still warm.


Filed under Christmas, Recipe, Sweet Things

14 responses to “{1} Fedtebrød

  1. Alison Hemmings

    Thank you for taking the time to post this, which I hope to try soon and happy new (or slightly used) toddler!

  2. Cynthia

    Welcome back! I was so pleased to see this appearing in my inbox. I look forward to your twelve bakes of Christmas again this year.

  3. yay! so happy to see you back! 🙂 LOVE these!



  4. Wonderful to see your Christmas bakes again! A quick question about baking ammonia: what exactly is it and why is it important to this recipe? I’ve seen ammonia in Greek biscuit recipes and had always assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that it was Greek for creme of tartar.

    • shoalandseaweed

      Pretty sure it’s just an old fashioned leavening agent. Smells very strong while baking but disappears entirely when cooked. I get mine from a compounding pharmacy in town.

      • Hi both – yes, it is an old-fashioned raising agent, apparently originally made from deer antlers! It is used in German and Scandinavian baking. It stinks of ammonia, but when you bake it, it gives off lots of steam and ammonia gas, so you get a lot of lift. The ammonia vanishes, and you get very light, crisp cookies. In this recipe, you could use baking powder instead (there is a recipe here), or you can buy it from speciality baking shops or online.

      • I’ve just looked it up as “baking ammonia” and you are right, it is an old fashioned leavening agent. This shouldn’t have surprised me as it is the old fashioned Greek biscuit recipes that use it. More modern recipes use baking powder. The ammonia is said to give a crisper texture. We just buy it from the market here – no need for the pharmacy.

  5. Yay! Welcome back my dear!

    I found it odd that icing has two different flavors, plus there is a BIG difference rum and lemon, right? It’s funny knowing everybody thinks that a certain way is better than the other. I wonder if the one with lemon was the original way, and rum was added on later on? They look cool though 🙂

    • Hi Meghan – perhaps it was one for kids, one for adults? I think perhaps that the rum was more traditional, as fresh citrus fruit would have been quite a luxury until fairly recently.

      Perhaps you could combine citrus and rum, and add some lime juice instead? Lime + coconut + rum = tropical cocktails!

  6. Katherine

    So glad to know you are back! I look forward to your “12 Bakes of Christmas” every year now. Your writing is wonderful and I love learning new recipes. My Finnish mother baked a lot over Christmas so I have a special interest in Nordic Christmas goodies. Thank you!

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