I received this recipe from my sister Ann; she had it labeled as Groom’s Cookies. I have since learned that its name is Kammerjunkere. The cookie is rolled out paper thin and cut with cookie cutters. At first I was nervous about trying the recipe; it seemed to be weird in that it called for 4 cups of molasses, and 15 cups of flour. That was just too much in my way of thinking.
So, I cut the recipe in half to try it, and it still makes a lot of dough. I am trying something different in cookie cutters- going very small, and so I could have nicely done with just one fourth of the original recipe. But, it doesn’t seem to divide directly into that smaller portion. Ann says that she has used cookie cutters as large as 4 x 5 inches to make these cookies. She also warned me not to ice the entire cookie, but to just use a few highlights on them. The molasses tends to draw moisture and that would interact with the icing to keep it from drying completely. (The hearts in the photo measure about 1.5 x 1.75 inches).
Before I got started making the recipe, I decided to do a web search to see what others might have done for Groom’s Cookies. Most of what I found were regular old sugar cookies cut into hearts, and then frosted like a black tuxedo- nothing near for what I was looking. Then I found a site with Danish cooking recipes, and there with the title Kammerjunkere was the exact same recipe my sister had sent.
Groom’s Cookies (Danish Kammerjunkere)
- 2 Tbs. baking soda
- 4 Tbs. water or milk
- 3/4 lbs. butter, softened
- 3/4 lbs. brown sugar
- 2 Tbs. ground cloves
- 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
- 4 cups molasses
- 15 cups flour
- 2 tsp. lemon zest
- 8 oz. brandy
Soak the baking soda in the water or milk.
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the spices and molasses to the creamed mix and mix them in. Stir in the flour using a large wooden spoon, and then the lemon zest and the brandy. The dough should be very stiff; add more flour if necessary but cautiously. Then add the soda and water/milk.
Divide the dough into manageable units, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Roll the dough very thin- less than 1/8 inch in thickness and cut. Bake on greased cookie sheets, or on silicon mats until brown
Decorate with icing
Before I give you the ingredients for a half-size batch, let me give you some hints about what I learned.
I used milk instead of water for soaking the baking soda. When I finished the dough, I made it into 4 packets wrapped and flattened into disks; those packets still contain a lot of dough, and I probably would have been better served to make 8 packets. I ended up cutting the packet in half before putting it on my board to roll it out. (And my recommendation for 8 packets is for a half-recipe of cookie dough).
And I also caution you to use the large wooden spoon to stir in the flour; I started to use a hand mixer, and I nearly killed the motor of the mixer. There was smoke! So I saved the mixer and got out my big wooden spoon.
Groom’s Cookies (Danish Kammerjunkere)
- 1 Tbs. baking soda
- 2 Tbs. water or milk
- 12 Tbs. butter, softened
- 6 oz. brown sugar
- 1 Tbs. ground cloves
- 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
- 2 cups molasses
- 7.5 cups flour
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 4 oz. brandy
If you would rather work in volume instead of weight, the 6 ounces of brown sugar is 12 Tablespoons. I looked up some volume/weight equivalences for interest, and the 15 cups of flour is about 4 pounds, and thus the 7.5 cups of flour is about 2 pounds.
My experience in rolling out the dough to paper thin is that the dough is very sticky, and needs lots of flour on both the rolling pin and the work board. I even experienced that the flour was all absorbed, or moved from under the center of the piece as I rolled, and would be stuck when I went to cutout the cookies and move them. I learned quickly to only cut the cookies from the edge of the dough after I had rolled it, and to scrape the center part back up to start again with more flour on the board.
The direction to cook until brown is not the type of a direction that the nerd in me likes. I quickly learned on the first pan of cookies that “until brown” was about 5 minutes; much longer than that and you could start to smell burning.