A must for the Christmas time in Denmark is brun kager (literally brown cookies)
These cookies are not only special for being brown but also for being spicy. They are not speculoos, but related to the speculoos of course. One first difference to observe is that a brun kage is often round. It can be in different shapes such as Father Christmas, Christmas tree, a bell, a reindeer etc, but not in the elaborate form you can get a speculoos with reliefs and all.
Another main difference is in the preparation. For brun kager you make an almost caramalised mixture of butter, sugar and sirup. For speculoos you usually only use butter and sugar (brown). This gives brun kager a darker taste. The spices used in brun kager can also be different from what you would put in a speculoos, though regional differences in Denmark – indeed in Scandinavia exist. Swedish brun kager tend to be more spicy than Danish.
Brun kager are baked early for Christmas and enjoyed all through December month, often with a glass of hot glögg.
A standard recipe for brun kager would be the following:
½ kg butter, 450 g sugar (brown or cane sugar), ¼ kg sirop (light or dark depending on your taste). You melt the butter with the sugar and the sirop over heat till it starts bubbling on the edge and the sugar is dissolved. You add potash (see below) dissolved in water and the spices which would normally be powder of gloves, cinnamon, zest of orange, chopped almonds. When the mass can be handled by hand you add 1 kg of flour and mix it all well together. You roll it out on long sausages, from which you can cut round slices not too big (like a sherry glass or so).
However before you cut, you put the sausages in a cold place to firm up. In fact you can even put them in the freezer, which can make the cutting easier. You can keep them in the freezer for up to 2-3 weeks and bake the portion you need.
You bake them at 180 C 6-8 minutes. Be watchful. Burned brun kager are not nice!
A note on potash. In Danish cookies potash is often added for the same effect as natron or baking powder. It is easily found in Danish supermarkets, but is not standard in a Belgian supermarket. You may substitute it with natron/bicarbonate