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Wisconsin’s official state pastry, the Danish Kringle, is a lovely little almond pastry that is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends over a cup of coffee or tea. It may not look like an authentic Kringle, but it tastes just like it, and it’s easy to make at home while still wearing your slippers.
What is hygge, anyways? Pronounced “HOO-guh,” it’s the Danish concept of coziness–a warm atmosphere, the enjoyment of life, and a feeling of general contentment.
One of the best ways to experience that warm and fuzzy feeling is by baking this gorgeous almond pastry. Take it from the Danes–they’ve been making it for generations. They’re experts at enjoying life.
Even though this version is not authentic in appearance (it’s not shaped like a giant, edible wreath) nor in technique (there is no yeast) it’s probably going to become your go-to for coffee get-togethers, parties, and book clubs.
What is a Danish Kringle?
Kringle is a popular Danish pastry often filled with fruits, nuts, jams, or chocolate. In the United States, Kringle took root in a city just south of Milwaukee: Racine.
It became even more popular once Trader Joes started selling O&H Bakery’s famous Kringle. If you’re lucky enough to have grabbed one before they sold out, you already know how good they are.
How is this recipe different than a traditional Kringle?
First of all, it’s easier and faster to make because it’s not a yeast dough, which requires time to rise, etc. Yeast Kringle are usually saved for special occasions, like Christmas. But this one can be made anytime.
Also, this Kringle recipe isn’t technically filled with anything, like store-bought Kringle. The top layer of flake pastry is a sweetened pâte-à-choux, a special kind of pastry dough that fluffs up as it bakes. Almond extract gives the dough its wonderful flavor.
Finally, the taste is incredible. You’ll never miss the real one. Homemade pastry is almost always far better than what you get in a store, and the ones you love will appreciate it, too.
Classic Kringle are shaped into an oval. However, this recipe yields two rectangle-shaped Kringle, which should fit on a single baking sheet. Eat one, share one, or devour them both.
- First, make the crust. It’s not hard, sort of like making pie crust. Using a knife or a pastry blender, “cut” the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about the size of peas.
- Sprinkle on the ice water and gently stir the water into the dough with a fork. You should have a soft dough.
- Next, cut the dough into two equal pieces. Take each piece and form it by hand into a 3-inch by 12-inch strip.
- Place the two strips of dough side-by-side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Give them some space, though, because they get flattened and will spread out.
- Then press each strip flat, using the back of a measuring cup or a small rolling pin. Flatten the dough until each piece is about 1/4″ thick.
- Meanwhile, to make the “filling” layer, combine the butter and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the mixture boils, remove from the heat and immediately stir in the flour. Whisk until smooth.
- Next, add the eggs one at a time, whisking in between each egg.
- Finally, add the almond extract.
- Next, spread or pipe the sweet almond dough on top of each piece of dough. (This “filling” will bake up gorgeously golden brown and puffy on top of the crust.)
- Bake the Kringle at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the Kringle to cool for at least one hour before frosting.
Making the Kringle icing:
We’re almost there! This icing is amazing drizzled over the baked Kringle. Top with some toasted, slivered almonds, and you got yourself one heck of a dessert!
- In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, butter, almond extract, and most (but not all) of the milk. (Hold a tablespoon of the milk back, in case you need to adjust the consistency.)
- Whisk the ingredients together until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the remaining milk and whisk. It should be drizzle-able.
- Drizzle the frosting directly over the baked and cooled Kringles, then decorate with sprinkles or sliced toasted almonds.
Other Kringle ideas:
Sometimes you have to play around with flavors. Here are some good ideas.
- Orange. Switch up the almond extract for another flavor, like orange extract, and add some orange zest and a little juice to the icing.
- Chocolate. Instead of icing, make an easy Chocolate Glaze to drizzle over the Kringle. (Better stand back, though!)
- Coconut. Coconut extract might be a fun way to flavor a Kringle. If you try it, write about how it went in the comments.
Where is Danish Kringle near me?
Other than making them yourself, try Trader Joe’s–sometimes they stock them.
If you wind up in Racine, Wisconsin, the most famous bakery is O&H Bakery. Stop in or order their delicious Kringle online anytime!
For the crust layer:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter cold
- 2 tablespoons ice water
For the filling layer:
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon butter softened
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Sprinkles or sliced almonds, for decorating, optional
To make the crust layer:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Cut butter into small pieces. In a medium bowl, combine flour and cold butter pieces. Using a knife or pastry cutter, cut into dough until pea-sized crumbs form. Sprinkle with ice water, then stir with a fork until soft dough forms.
- Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a thin 3-inch x 12-inch strip. Using the back of a measuring cup, press on to prepared baking sheet (each strip should be about 1/4-inch thick).
To make the filling layer:
- In a medium saucepan, combine water and butter; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately stir in flour. Whisk until smooth.
- Add eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Stir in almond extract.
- Divide the filling between the two crusts, spreading or piping to 3/4-inch from the edge of the crust. Bake until golden brown and puffy, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely, at least 1 hour. The filling layer will shrink and fall as the Kringle cools.
To make the icing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, butter, and almond extract until smooth. If the icing seems too thick, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth enough to drizzle.
- Drizzle each Kringle with icing. Top with sprinkles or sliced almonds if desired.
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.
THank you, Lakshmi! – Meggan
I’ve made this for years! Recipe is in our very old church recipe collection. From Fargo ND. Lots of Scandinavians there
So glad you like it Ginger! Thanks – Meggan
I think this is the same recipe (from an OLD Betty Crocker cookbook) that I use every year for Easter. It is delicious! I add just a tiny pinch of salt to the crust layer to give it a little extra flavor. I dye the icing a soft, subtle shade of yellow, and use sliced almonds to form a cross on each end of each pastry (since I make it for Easter breakfast). Then I sprinkle on a few pastel decorating sprinkles. It’s a family favorite!
So I split the pate au choux dough in half so one would have coconut and one almond. Then topped the coconut one with chocolate eclair topping and coconut. I t puffed up nicely and was pretty delicious. Thank you for the recipe.
OMG! I made this tonight for dessert and it is amazing. The “filling” actually is two fold, it bakes into a buttery top crispy layer, AND moist filling, almost custard-like. This is a treasure of a recipe. I had 1/2 the frosting left, and fell a little short on the bottom crust. Next time I’ll double the crust and cut the frosting in half. Thank you so much for sharing this family recipe!
My filling was more like cake batter consistency so I poured it on instead of piping. I hope it turns out okay!
Kringle is traditionally pretzel-shaped not round or oval. In fact, the word kringle translates from Danish as “pretzel.” My mother used to make Norwegian kringle cookies which were a butter-rich pretzel-shaped cookie with sour cream and buttermilk as ingrediaents. I have enjoyed the kringle from O&H bakery in Racine for many years. I suspect theirs is oval due to some aspect of the commercial production. I look forward to trying your recipe.
The picture shown did not match my results by a long shot. The pie crust was done and getting too brown on the edges after 30 minutes and the filling was too runny to hold a piped shape and did not puff up. The flavor was good and I still received compliments on it.
Hi T., I know what you mean about the photos. I have a photographer who used to be a pastry chef and his creations are always ridiculous. However, I am not sure why your filling was too runny. I’ve made this myself many times and the filling is always really thick and easily piped. I’m really sorry about that! I am currently having new photos shot so anyone who is making it has a better idea of how this is all supposed to look and work. I am glad people at least liked the flavor even if the recipe didn’t work as expected. Better than a total loss. Sorry again and thanks for letting me know. -Meggan
Can this be made ahead of time & frozen successfully?
Hi Kathleen, I haven’t tried doing that myself but I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t work. I’ve made it, and it seems exactly like the kind of thing that would freeze beautifully (even the glaze). I can test it and report back, but probably not in time for when you plan to make it! Thanks for the question. -Meggan
I doubled the recipe (we’re a 7 person family) and made it into an oval shape like Trader Joe’s kringles and it came out PERFECT!! Everyone said it was BETTER than the ones from TJ!!! It is so neat how the “topping” somehow transforms to be a top crust, with the almond paste in the “middle”…it’s magic. This will be a new Christmas tradition. THANK YOU FOR THIS RECIPE!!!
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