How to make Danish Christmas Klejner

It’s not Christmas without Klejner in my family. Klejner is an old fashion fried twisted pastry that has been passed down for many generations. My Danish mom learned how to make Klejner from watching her Danish mother, who learned it from watching her Danish mother etc. As you can see Klejner has been around and enjoyed for many years in Denmark.

Klejners are made each Christmas in Norway, Sweden and northern Germany too. There are klejner references dating back to 1800 by a Swedish poet Anna Maria Lenngren. Also, klejner frequently appeared in Swedish Christmas-stories by famous Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf.

Depending how busy you are sometimes it is easy to break it up into 2 or 3 nights. In our video, we did it in two nights. Another option is to break up the process into three nights – dough one night, shaping the next, frying the last day.

Below are the ingredients and the instructions to make the Danish Christmas Klejner. Makes about aprox 100 Klejners.  If you are new to making Klejners, you might want to use 1/2 of the measurements and make only 50 Klejners. 

Danish Christmas Klejner Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 2 1/4 cup softened butter (or margarine) 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk 
  • 1 lemon (the grind from the lemon peel) 
  • 1 tsp cardamon Vegetable or peanut oil for deep-frying 
  • A pot for the deep frying 
  • A dinner fork or frying scoop 
  • A mixer with a paddle (if you don’t have a mixer then mix by hand) 
  • A knife or pizza cutter 
  • Wax or parchment paper 

First step is to mix the dry ingredients including flour, sugar and baking powder. Then, crumble the soft butter or margarine into the dry ingredients on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed add milk, eggs and cardamon. Continue to Mix. Add grated lemon to give the Klejner a little zest and little lemony flavor.

Once you have everything mixed together pick some of the dough up and feel how sticky it is. If it feels sticky add a tiny bit more flour and mix again. Continue to mix until the dough is still slightly sticky but clears the side of the bowl. You want the dough dry enough so it isn’t sticky, but not so floury that it’ll crack when you roll it out.

Once it is mixed and slightly sticky, divide the dough into 4 parts in a bowl. Dust the dough with a little flour. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and left to rest in a cold place such as a refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Klejner trivia: Did you know that in Swedish it is Klenät and plural is klenäter?

On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the dough balls into a rectangle about ¼” thick. (Thinner dough is harder to work with and can fall apart when frying. Thicker dough takes longer to cook and can be a bit cakey.)

Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into lengthwise strips about 1 ½” wide. Then, cut at an angle to make diamonds. Cut a slit in the middle of the diamond shape. Peel off one diamond shape from the outer edge by sliding butter knife under the dough.

Fold the longer end of the diamond strip into itself a little bit. Bend the end towards the slitted hole in the diamond shaped cookie. Insert the end into the hole. Then pull all the way through the slit to make a twist. Place the twisted cookie on a tray lined with wax or parchment paper. Repeat for all diamonds. Continue rolling out, cutting and shaping until you run out of dough.

For your convenience we are including our YouTube video to explain how to make Klejner.

Please share and like our video. For more Scandinavian cooking videos please subscribe to our channel too! Thank you! 

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over med-high heat to about 350° F. You only need about 3″ of oil in the bottom of a large pot to fry 3-4 at a time. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot so it burns. A great way to test the oil is when a single twist dropped into the hot oil rises to the surface within 3 to 4 seconds.

Deep fry about 4 to 6 twists for 2-3 minutes at a time or until light golden brown on each side. You need to flip them at least once (with a dinner fork or frying scoop), about a minute or so after they float up to the top.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle powder sugar on the klejners. Best served when slightly warm and eaten the same day.

 If you have leftover dough, it can be preserved in a refrigerator for a week. Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥ !

*how to make Danish Christmas rice pudding with cherry sauce dessert recipe (Risalamande med kirsebærsauce)
*how to make Swedish Glogg for Christmas & cold evenings! (glögg or mulled wine recipe) 
*how to make aeblskiver (æbleskiver)
*how to make Danish Christmas Klejner
*how to make easy Danish cucumber salad (arguksalat)
*how to make Danish sugar browned potatoes (brunede kartofler)
*how to make Danish red cabbage (rødkaal)
These recipes are perfect for the holiday season. Please let us know what you think! Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥ !

Our Scandinavian recipes including Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish are on

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