These cookies are extra unique—and extra delicious—because they’re deep-fried. Kleiner is the Danish version of a cookie that exists with slight variations all over Europe, but common to all is a diamond shape with one end pulled through a hole in the center. We like Danish kleiner because while fried and crisp, they maintain an interior texture that’s somewhere between a cookie and a cake, unlike other European versions which can resemble fried wonton skins. Using cardamom in the dough infused the cookies with authentic flavor. Frying the cookies in vegetable shortening gave them the crispest exterior, but you can also fry in vegetable oil. If you don’t have a diamond cookie cutter, cut the dough into 4 by 2¾-inch diamonds. You can also find kleiner/klejner cutters, also called fattigman cutters after the Norwegian variation, online.
- Yield: 60 cookies
- 3¾ cups (18¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1½ teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
- Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Microwave butter and cardamom in second bowl until melted and fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat granulated sugar and eggs on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add melted butter mixture, cream, and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until just combined.
- Transfer dough to counter and divide into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into 4-inch square, wrap squares tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 dough square at a time (keep remaining dough refrigerated), roll into 12 by 10-inch rectangle, about ⅛ inch thick, on well-floured counter. Using 4 by 2¾-inch diamond cookie cutter, cut dough into diamonds. Cut 1½-inch-long slit, lengthwise, in center of each diamond, then carefully pull 1 tip of cookie through slit. Place cookies on prepared sheets and refrigerate until ready to fry.
- Heat shortening in Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Fry 8 cookies until golden brown, about 30 seconds per side. Adjust burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature of 350 degrees.
- Transfer cookies to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using, and serve.