I'm typing this while I'm hopped up on various cold medications, so if I go off on a tangent about juicy leprechauns or how Star Wars Episode VII is obviously inferior because of its lack of goats, don't pay it any attention. Today we're here to talk about my favorite cookies for the holidays: Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies.
I know that you probably find it hard to believe, with all the other cookie choices out there, that I would pick these as my official cookies of Christmas. Sure, other brands are flashier, what with their different colored cremes and holiday images pressed on to each cookie. While Royal Dansk might lack in flash, they more than make up for it in style. Just look at that royal blue tin, the elegant writing, and the lovely picture of what I can only assume is where the Danish people make these delicious cookies. Even the name, Royal Dansk, sounds super fancy. I feel like it should be said with a slight air of superiority. I've never seen any commercials for these, but I think it would include people in expensive designer clothes sitting around a coffee table and talking about the latest Cricket match, whilst they dunk their Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies into ornate glasses filled with milk. High class..
Opening the can, you're hit with the aroma of butter, vanilla and sugar. Each can includes 5 different varieties, and though they all look the same, there are differences in flavor and texture. You get 8 of each cookie, giving you a grand total of 40 cookies. It doesn't sound like much, and it really isn't. Once you start digging in, you realize that these things are going to disappear quickly. That's why you should always buy two cans, one for you to hide, and one for everyone else.
These are one of the few brands of cookies that don't have a paragraph's long listing of their ingredients. They seem simple, but don't be deceived, there are subtle differences between each cookie's recipe. That's the reason why you can't just whip up a batch of your own butter cookies and just make them out of different shapes. I like to think that Royal Dansk is the first company in the baked goods business to come up with their own form of piracy protection.
I've enlisted the help of a few pals to showcase each variety for you.
Just Plain Butter Cookie
Squirrelanoid here is showing off what I like to call the base cookie. It's just a regular butter cookie with no fancy flavors or added gimmicks. I personally like just plain butter cookies, so I don't have a problem with it. They work well as filler, like when you notice your favorites are getting a little low. Just take out a couple of these instead, and you'll be able to stretch out your supply of the more interesting cookies another day or so.
Coconut Butter Cookie
It can be heard to tell the Coconut variety from the plain variety if you don't know what to look for. One way to tell, is the color. You can't see it in this photo, but the coconut shortbread cookies are actually a bit darker than the plain jane shortbread. It will also have small coconut shavings embedded in the top. The coconut flavor is rather subtle at first, and it pays to really savor these rather than just gulping them down. They're also not quite as hard as the regular shortbread, no doubt owing to the inclusion of the coconut shavings. These are probably my least favorite out of the bunch, mainly because I'm not the biggest fan of coconut shavings in my cookies. On more than one occasion I've discovered a sliver of coconut hiding in my teeth hours later.
I feel like I said coconut a lot in that last paragraph.
Rainbow Butter Cookie?
I honestly don't know what to call this shape, so I went with my gut. It kinda looks like a rainbow coming out of a cloud, so I'll just go with that. This variety changes things up again with slight differences in taste and texture. These have more of the vanilla flavoring and a bit more crunch than the previous varieties. It's a little hard to explain, but once you get past that initial bite, there's more crunchiness hiding inside the cookie. It's a crunch inside a crunch. Any other baker would have taken the rainbow shape and added colored stripes to it, but Royal Dansk is letting this one stand on its own merits.
Sugar Sprinkled Butter Cookie Wafer
I like the word wafer. Say it just right, and you sound like a snooty Frenchman. Wah-fer! In all fairness, I like any word that gives me the opportunity to sound like a snooty Frenchman. These are some of my favorites out of the tin. They're perfect for dipping, and they hold together rather well dunked in some ice cold milk. Still, you have to be careful not to dunk too long, or you'll end up with cookie sludge at the bottom of your glass. One of my favorite ways of eating this variety is to pop the whole thing in my mouth, and just let everything dissolve into a buttery, sugary mess before I swallow. And yes, I thought about that sentence many times before I typed it out, and I'm fully aware how it sounds. I'm still going with it.
Pretzel Butter Cookie
This last variety is also my favorite. The pretzel butter cookies have the same sugar sprinkled top as the wafer above, but this time it's in a fun shape. About the size of a regular mini-pretzel, these are a bit lighter than the wafers. Since the pretzels aren't as dense, it takes a bit more finesse to dunk them compared to the other cookies. One second too long, and you'll lose most of it into the depths of your milk or coffee. Of course, they're so light, you don't really need to dunk them, since they will readily dissolve in your mouth. They don't differ much in flavor from the wafers, and the sugar sprinkles sort of overpower everything else. I think that's why I prefer these out of all the other cookies. They offer just the right balance of crunch, sweetness, and buttery flavor.
If I were to open a full tin of Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies, and find it was full of the pretzel shapes, you would see me dance a jig for the first time in my existence. And I am absolutely not the type of person you would see dancing a jig.
By the way, if you go out to buy yourself a tin, beware of the imitators. They'll try to get one over on you with their similarly colored cans and familiar shapes. They'll even use fancy names like "Original Gourment". It's all a ruse. Rather than buttery sweet cookies of perfection, you'll find pale, stale chunks of disappointment. Stick with Royal Dansk. They'll make any Christmas merry!