Does anyone else remember Danish Wedding Cookies, the Keebler confections that came in a bright pink box? They were crumbly little cookies, about an inch and a half in diameter, covered with powdered sugar and studded with little chocolate chips. We didn’t have them very often in my house– probably because one taste was enough to send us (or at least me) into a tooth-rotting, bellyache-inducing eating frenzy. But lately, these cookies have been on the brain, and evidently, the subconscious. After checking the cookie aisle of every nearby grocery store without finding the pink box, these cookies worked their way into my head, and in the past few weeks, I’ve had no fewer than three dreams about them. Dreaming about food isn’t all that unusual for me, but the recurrence of this specific cookie dream felt like a call to action. Since indulging in a store-bought box was obviously out of the question, I knew I’d just have to make them myself.
I didn’t have to look very far for a recipe, or at least a jumping-off point. A quick Google search yielded several helpful results, as did a skim through my stack of cookbooks. None of the recipes sounded quite like what I was looking for, so I ended up taking the best parts of a few different ones and cobbling them together. What I ended up with was just as good as the Keebler version, and dare I say, even better. Funny what a difference fresh ingredients make…
One piece that was missing from all the recipes I found, however, was chocolate chips. I’m sure chocolate isn’t a traditional ingredient in real Danish wedding cookies, but I distinctly remember them being in the Keebler ones, so that was the only kind of authenticity I was worried about. I chose mini morsels instead of regular chocolate chips. Normally I’m all about big chunks of chocolate in my cookies, but these treats are delicate. You really only want a hint of chocolate, not anything melty or overwhelming. Mini morsels– and only a handful of them– fit the bill perfectly.
The batter for these cookies is about the un-fussiest thing I’ve ever whipped up. It’s basically a simple mixture of softened butter, flour, powdered sugar, and a couple extra frills. No eggs, no creaming of the butter and sugar. You just dump everything in the bowl of your mixer and let it go. This results in an extra stiff batter that clings to the beaters, like so:
It’s a beautiful thing.
Once the cookies are baked, you let them cool just until you can handle them, and roll them in powdered sugar. One recipe I consulted seemed to think you could accomplish this task with only a quarter cup of powdered sugar, but I think that’s just nonsense. Even if you could make the sugar stretch far enough to roll the whole batch, it still wouldn’t work, because this is what happens when you only roll your cookies once:
Immediately after the roll, the cookie will look great, but as it cools, a lot of the sugar will soften and melt into the body of the cookie. It’s absolutely necessary that you roll the cookies in sugar again after they’re completely cool. This is not a time to worry about calories, or pinching pennies. Just coat that sugar on there as thick as you can.
It’ll make quite a mess. Worth it.
Now, with a belly full of homemade Danish wedding cookies, maybe I can get back to dreaming about normal things. Like cinnamon rolls and apple pie. Or restoring old Cadillacs with B.B. King. It doesn’t always have to be about food, you know.
P.S. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my sister-in-law Ashley for handing-me-down her old camera! And thanks to my brother for taking care of the shipping!
Danish Wedding Cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine flour, cinnamon, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until the ingredients start to come together, then add the pecans and chocolate chips. Continue beating until a stiff dough forms.
Roll teaspoonfuls of dough with your hands and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges are browned. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
When cookies are still warm, but cool enough to handle, roll them individually in powdered sugar, and return to wire rack. Cool completely, then roll again in powdered sugar.