Norwegian Christmas Cookies (Brune Pinner)

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4.13 from 8 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

These easy Norwegian Christmas Cookies are a crispy, cinnamon cookie, known as Brune Pinner.  Which translates into brown sticks. But do not let the name fool you they are like a delicious flavored butter cookie that everyone will love. They are a delicious Scandinavian treat.

Norwegian Christmas Cookies (Brune Pinner) decorated for gift giving.

This Norwegian Christmas Cookies are a tribute to my heritage. The holidays have always been a time for traditions in our family.  There’s something comforting about making the same things every year while reminiscing and tell stories about Christmases past.

Make this cookie a party of your family traditions. These cookies are also known as karamellpinner, or kolakaker in Sweden.

Christmas can be so stressful, take out some of the guesswork by checking out this Christmas guide.


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What We Love About This Norwegian Cookies Recipe

These cookies are much easier to make than the Norwegian krumkaker, because these is no special machine needed but if you have a krumkake irons, they are delicious to make. Find out more about these crispy cones here. But our family always made fattigmann a type of fried dough.

  • 20 Minute Cookie: Only 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes to cook.
  • Easy Ingredients: All found in pantry or fridge. Rich man or poor man splurged to make these during the holidays.
  • Family Friendly: They are an easy and fun cookie that your family will love or that everyone will wan to on their cookie platter.
A close up of the cookies.

Ingredient Notes for Brune Cookies

  • Butter: Just a little under a cup at room temperature. Unsalted butter or salted butter both work.
  • Eggs: Two large eggs at room temperature.
  • Honey: In Norway, they use Norwegian syrup “mørk sirup” but if you can not get that then honey or maple syrup are a great replacement.
  • Vanilla Extract: A nice quality extract.
  • Ground Cinnamon: This adds a nice spice to the cookies.
  • Sanding Sugar: They use pearl sugar in Norway (This sugar, also called nib sugar, is a type of specialty sugar popular in Europe.)
  • Nuts: Chopped almonds.
Flour, sugar and eggs. etc for the cookie recipe.

Equipment Needed for Norwegian Butter Cookies

How to Make Norwegian Christmas Cookies (Brune Pinner)

These are the basic steps for making beloved scandinavian christmas cookies. Please refer to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions. Also check out Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram for more great recipes.

Mixing the ingredients for the cookie dough.

STEP 1: PREP

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

STEP 2: DRY INGREDIENTS

Then in a separate bowl, sift together the all purpose flour and baking powder and then mix the dry ingredients into the wt ingredients until fully combined. Portion out the dough and then roll each portion into a 2-3 inch log. Flatten slightly with your hand.

Finishing the batter and preparing to bake.

STEP 3: BAKE IN STOVE

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 baking tray . The trick is to allow to cool slightly. While the cookies are still warm, use a knife to cut each log into small strips on an angle. Finely, allow to finish cooling completely on a wire rack.

Baking the cookies and cutting.

Prep and Storage Tips

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME

These Norwegian cookies can be made up to two weeks in advance.

HOW TO STORE THIS RECIPE

Keep these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

HOW TO FREEZE THIS RECIPE

These cookies can be frozen for up to three months. Place in the freezer in an airtight container.

Frequently Asked Questions about Norwegian Christmas Cookies

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE HEALTHIER?

It is hard to make this recipe healthier, however you can use an unsalted butter if you are on a low sodium diet.

CAN I SUBSTITUTE DIFFERENT FLAVORS?

Yes, try almond extract in these kinds of cookies is really delicious. For an anise flavor like a pizzelle add a little anisette.

CAN THIS RECIPE BE DOUBLED OR HALVED?

Of course, you can make as many of these cookies as you like.

HOW LONG WILL THE DOUGH LAST?

This is one of the types of cookie dough that can be make up to four days in advance and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

A stack of the Norwegian Christmas Cookies (Brune Pinner).

Expert Tips for Making This Recipe

  • 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, wreath or diamond-shaped. Or scoop with a cookie scoop.
  • Alternate Ingredient: Almond Extract or other flavoring can replace the vanilla extract in this recipe.

What to Serve with Norwegian Christmas Cookies (Brune Pinner)

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Norwegian Christmas Cookies (Brune Pinner) decorated for gift giving.
4.13 from 8 votes

Norwegian Christmas Cookies

Yield: 30 cookies
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
These easy Norwegian Christmas Cookies are a crispy, cinnamon cookie, known as Brune Pinner.  Which translates into brown sticks. But do not let the name fool you they are like a delicious flavored butter cookie that everyone will love.They are a delicious Scandinavian treat.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe

Ingredients

  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sanding sugar
  • 1 cup chopped almonds

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

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 www.itisakeeper.com/about-its-a-keeper/privacy-disclosure-policies/
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Norwegian
Keyword: christmas, cookies, easy dessert

This recipe is my personal adaption of an ethnic inspired recipe. It is not intended to be an authentic recipe.  I’ve recreated this recipe because I enjoy the flavors and I want to encourage my readers to expand their tastes and try new flavor combinations. The recipe, ingredients and processes may have been adapted to make the recipe accessible for the average American. I have provided links to authentic versions of the recipe in the post above. I encourage you to visit these pages and learn more about the traditional version(s) of this recipe.

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9 thoughts on “Norwegian Christmas 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.

    Reply
  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

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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

    Reply

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