Christmas Delicacies: Klejner

Klejner are an old and very traditional Danish Christmas treat served throughout the month of December. A klejne is a small piece of dough shaped/twisted like a small knot or diamond and then deep-fried until it is golden and crisp.


Makes about 70 klejner
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour

  • 75 g / 2.6 oz butter
  • 250 g / 8.8 oz flour
  • ½ tsp “hjortetaksalt” (ammonium bicarbonate) – can be substituted with baking powder, but the result will not quite be the same.
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 70 g /2.5 oz sugar
  • ½ lemon, organic
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 1 l / 4 cups neutral vegetable oil (e.g. canola) for frying
  • Crumble the butter in the flour. Add hjortetaksalt, cardamom, sugar and the grated zest of half a lemon. Do not add extra hjortetaksalt, or the cookies may smell of ammonia.
  • Mix the eggs and double cream into the dough. Use your hands or a mixer to knead the dough.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour and preferably overnight.
After refrigeration
  • Roll out the dough thinly (about ½ cm / 0.2 in thick).
  • Cut strips of dough about 3 cm / 1,18 in wide, using a a traditional Danish klejnespore if you have one.
  • Then cut the dough at an angle so that you have diamond-shaped pieces about 6 to 8 cm / 2.4 to 3.1 in long.
  • Make 2 cm / 0.8 in lengthwise slit in the middle of the strip. Pull one end of the strip through the slit in the middle so that the sides twist.
  • Collect any dough clippings and repeat the process until you are out of dough.
  • Heat the oil to 175°C / 345°F in a deep pot.
  • Fry 4 to 6 klejner at a time in the hot oil, keeping an eye on the pot at all times. They should only fry for about a minute until golden and crisp.
  • Remove the hot klejner with a slotted spoon, let them drip dry on a paper towel. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
  • The cooled klejner can be stored in an airtight container.   



Many klejner recipes call for the use of palm oil for frying. This recipe uses a neutral vegetable oil.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark