Christmas Norwegian Cookies (Brune Pinner)

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These Christmas Norwegian Cookies are like taking a trip to Scandinavia with your tastebuds. These golden brown cookies, also known as brune pinner, are crispy and sweet, with notes of cinnamon, and are easy to make.

They are a favorite Norwegian recipe around the holidays. and are part of the syv slags kaker, or “seven types of cookies,” tradition. We’re certain that after one bite, you’ll love these great Christmas cookies, too!

Christmas Norwegian Cookies (Brune Pinner) wrapped and ready to gift.


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Traditional Norwegian Christmas Cookies

In Norway, Christmas is a widely-anticipated holiday, blending both Christian and Pagan traditions into a season of festivity known as Jul, which is often regarded to last from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve.

The main celebrations typically take place on the 24th of December. Throughout the month of December, festive Christmas markets sell handmade decorations, with heart-shaped ones being especially popular.

In another popular Christmas tradition, instead of Santa Claus, Norwegian children receive gifts from Julenisse, a kind of gnomelike creature depicted with a long beard and conical red hat.

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Why This Norwegian Recipe is a Keeper

These cookies are much easier to make than krumkaker, another Norwegian recipe, because these is no krumkake iron or other special equipment needed. Our family always made fattigmann (called poor man’s cookies), a type of fried dough.

  • 20 Minute Cookie: Brune Pinner take only 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes to cook.
  • Easy Ingredients: All of the ingredients can be found in the pantry or fridge. Rich men and poor men alike splurged to make these during the holidays.
  • Family Friendly: They are easy and fun cookies that your family will love, and that everyone will want on their cookie platter.

If you’re looking for more European cookie recipes, try these: Krumkake, Welsh Cookies, and Kolacky.

What is the Norwegian Tradition of the Seven Cookies?

A stack of the crispy cookies.

Cookies are a huge part of Scandinavian holiday culture and many date back to the middle ages. In Norway and Sweden, the tradition of syv slags kaker (sju sorters kakor in Swedish) calls for hosts to serve their guests seven kinds of cookies, often around the holidays.

In 1822, prohibition on coffee was lifted in Sweden, but many people were poor and could not afford the ingredients to make baked goods to serve with it, as was customary. However, people adapted as coffee culture evolved, finding different ways to bake cookies or pastry to serve at a kafferep, or ladies’ coffee party.

The tradition of serving seven different kinds of cookies at gatherings soon became established. While some believe the number seven was chosen due to its religious significance, others believe it to be a matter of etiquette- if a hostess served less than seven varieties, she could be considered stingy, but if she served too many, she could be considered pretentious.

Whatever the case, the kinds of cookies served in syv slags kaker vary among families, but some of the most popular traditional cookies include Krumkaker , Schackrutor, Serinakaker (Norwegian butter cookies that can be made like spritz cookies), Sandkaker (sand cookies), Goro, Rosettbakkels (rosette cookies), Smultringer (deep fried donuts) and Berlinerkranser.

Ingredient Notes for Brune Pinner

Almonds, flour, extracts and sugar for cookies.

These Norwegian baking cookies are made with simple ingredients. However, a few, such as sanding sugar, may require a trip to the grocery store:

  • Honey: In Norway, they use a Norwegian syrup called “mørk sirup,” but if you can not get that, then honey or maple syrup are a great replacement.
  • Sanding Sugar: They use pearl sugar in Norway (This sugar, also called nib sugar, is a type of specialty sugar popular in Europe.)

See the recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.

Variations and Substitutions for the Brune Cookies

  • Sugar: Instead of sanding sugar, you can use pearl sugar or demarara sugar for these Norwegian sugar cookies.
  • Almonds: In case of allergies, omit the almonds for these diamond shape cookies.

How to Make These Scandinavian Cookies

These Scandinavian Christmas cookies are quick and easy to make, and delicious to eat! Cut into strips and spiced with cinnamon, these flat cookies are quite delicious and are made without expensive ingredients.

These are the basic steps for making Scandinavian Cookies. Refer to the full, printable recipe card below for detailed instructions.

Mixing the batter for the cookies.

STEP 1: Mix Eggs and Sugar

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Then add egg yolks, honey and vanilla, in a large bowl. Mix well.

Finishing the cookies.

STEP 2: Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour and baking powder, then mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until fully combined. Portion out the dough, then roll each portion into a 2-3 inch log. Flatten slightly with your hand or roll the cookies with a rolling pin. Cut into a diamond shape.

Brush with egg wash from the leftover egg whites and top with sanding sugar and almonds. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven until gold, then remove the cookies. The trick is to allow them to cool slightly. While the cookies are still warm, use a knife to cut each log into small strips on an angle. Finally, set them on a rack to cool completely. You can serve them dusted with powdered sugar or with a side of whipped cream and berries.

Shaping and baking the cookies.

Recipe FAQs about Norwegian or Swedish Christmas Cookies

Brune Pinner is Norwegian for “brown sticks.” While this may not sound appetizing, the name comes from the appearance of these popular Norwegian cookies – not their flavor!

You can make the cookie dough up to four days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Yes. Almond extract, for instance, is delicious in these cookies.. For an anise flavor, like a pizzelle, add a little anisette. They can also be great with cardamom.

A stack of Christmas Norwegian Cookies (Brune Pinner).

Expert Tips for Making These Cookies

  • Spices: You can add ginger, nutmeg or other spices to these Scandinavian cookies.
  • Nuts: Pistachios, hazelnuts, or walnuts can also be great to top these cookies.
  • Variation tip: Top with colored sugar, candy, or powdered sugar if you’d like or use cookie cutters.
  • Shapes: Feel free to cut these cookies into shapes, such as a Christmas trees, wreaths or diamonds, or scoop the dough with a cookie scoop.
Norwegian Christmas Cookies (Brune Pinner) decorated for gift giving.
4.30 from 10 votes

Christmas Norwegian Cookies (Brune Pinner)

Yield: 30 cookies
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Take a trip to Scandinavia with these traditional Norwegian Christmas Cookies, also known as Brune Pinner. These golden brown cookies are crispy and sweet, with notes of cinnamon, and are easy to make. They are a favorite Norwegian recipe around the holidays, and are sometimes included as part of the syv slags kaker, or “seven types of cookies,” tradition. We’re certain that after one bite, you’ll love these great Christmas cookies, too!
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  • 14 tablespoons Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup White sugar
  • ½ cup Brown sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tablespoon Molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Sanding sugar
  • 1 cup Chopped almonds


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In an electric mixer, cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar until fluffy.
  • Separate egg, reserving the egg white. Add egg yolk, molasses and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and cinnamon.
  • Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until fully combined.
  • Divide the dough into 6 even portions.
  • Roll each portion into a log about 6-7 inches long and about 1/2 inch in diameter.
  • Place 2 logs on a cookie sheet and flatten each to about 1/4 inch thickness. The cookies will spread when baking so leave plenty of room between them.
  • Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Whip egg white in a small bowl until broken up.
  • Brush egg whites on to top of cookies.
  • Sprinkle sanding sugar and chopped almonds on top.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes; cookies will spread out.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes; using a sharp knife, slice diagonally in 1/2 inch strips. Allow to cool completely.

Expert Tips

  • Spices: You can add ginger, nutmeg or other spices to the scandinavian cookies.
  • Nuts: Pistachios, hazelnuts or walnuts can also be great to top these types of cookies.
  • Variation tip: Top with colored sugar, candy or powdered sugar if you like.
  • Shapes: Feel free to cut these cookies into shapes such as a Christmas tree or diamond-shaped. Or scoop with a cookie scoop.
  • Alternate Ingredient: Almond Extract or other flavoring can replace the vanilla extract in this recipe.

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 179IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Norwegian

10 thoughts on “Christmas Norwegian Cookies (Brune Pinner)”

  1. 1 star
    I am a Norwegian baker who is very interested in traditional Norwegian cakes and food, and I must say I’ve never seen Brune pinner look like this anywhere. It almost look like you made MANDELFLARN instead, as they have that shape. Brune pinner or Caramel sticks (kola kakor) as they’ve also called in Sweden is supposed to be a dough you flatten out to about 1/2-1 cm height (not unlike chocolate chips dough) and cut to long strips when they come out of the oven (and that’s why we call them sticks). When they are finished they hold their shape and they are not crisp but chewy.

    You should check out Mandel flarn or Havregryns flarn, as they are also a very traditional Christmas cookie, and stupid easy to make. As nuts were imported and expensive in the old days, only rich families used almonds (mandel) , and those less rich used oatmeal (havre) instead. Many make them all year around as they are very crispy thin and elegant and serve them with homemade ice cream.

    Christmas cakes and cookies has to be baked before Christmas and if you were a good housewife you had to bake 7 different ones. That was very very important. Again, those who had money to spend on sugar baked 15 different ones. In my family, seven different ones is baked every single year. Depending on where you come from in Norway, the cakes you bake, are different.

    Back then, the use of eggs, white sugar and white flour was was left to be used on very special occasions as they were expensive. As there wasn’t any access to a lot of spices, many of the traditional cookies is what we today would call boring. Still, we love to bake them and every housewife or house father have often tweaked the recipe a little to make it more modern by adding chocolate, spices, orange peel etc.

  2. 4 stars
    I just made these and they didn’t spread out much at all in baking for me either. Still delicious but they look like a normal cookie

  3. 5 stars
    I made them twice now. They didn’t spread much at all and the second time the dough was so dry that I didn’t use it all. I didn’t use all of the almond mixture either. I followed the recipe to the t and I have no idea what I did wrong. They took a while to cook also. So strange. Tasted great however!

  4. How many cookie scoops per 9 x 13″ cookie sheet- how much do they spread?

    Also it says 4 servings, how many cookies in each serving?

    want to surprise my son’s girlfriend


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