I'd never heard of Swedish cream cookies until recently, but as I researched them I discovered that they were almost identical to cookies made by my Danish grandmother, cookies I have loved since I was a girl.
Swedish cream cookies are, at their heart, sandwich cookies. But unlike the traditional sandwich cookie that uses a shortbread-style cookie as the base for a sweet filling, the base for these morsels starts out looking exactly like cookie dough, rolls out just like cookie dough, but, during the baking process, puffs up into a pastry-like wafer that glistens and sparkles with a dusting of granulated sugar.
They are marvelous.
These cookies are round and small, only 1 and 1/2 inches diameter, and are layered with a beautifully sweet buttercream that can be flavored in myriad ways.
While round is the traditional shape, they could also be cut in stars, flowers, squares, or triangles – whatever shape suits your fancy. My grandmother made her Danish version oblong, like an eclair, layered with a rich vanilla buttercream. I love biting into them, the sugary crust shattering into shards of deliciousness before you reach the buttery center and the melt-in-your-mouth buttercream center. Wonderful.
How to Make Swedish Cream Cookies
The dough for Swedish cream cookies is a breeze to whip up, especially if you have a food processor. Just put cold butter and flour in the bowl of the food processor, whiz it up until it looks like coarse sand, then pour it into a bowl, add whipping cream, and soon you have a rich, smooth dough that rolls out like a dream. You can choose a simple dough or jazz it up a bit with zest from lemons, limes, oranges, or mandarins. You could also mix in some freshly ground spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom, or scrape in a few vanilla beans. Once it's mixed, simply chill it for an hour or so, and then you're ready to go.
When the dough is chilled, it's ready to be rolled out quite thin, about 1/8 of an inch. I like to sandwich the dough between two layers of plastic wrap rather than rolling out on a floured countertop. This makes it easy to remove the cookies while keeping the dough moist enough for the next step of the process: sugar coating.
You'll have noticed that the dough for Swedish cream cookies has no sugar in it. Cookies without sugar? Unheard of! Never fear, as soon as the cookies are cut out they get dipped in a bowl of granulated sugar, both sides. This gives them a gorgeous glittery crust after baking and a wonderful texture when eating.
Once the cookies have their glistening coat of sugar, place them right next to each other on a cookie sheet. These cookies go up, not out, so you don't need to leave room around them. Once they're on the tray, prick the top of each one with a fork. This helps them puff up evenly. If you forget, like I did, don't fret. They will still puff up, they just might be a bit lopsided here and there.
Bake the cookies for ten minutes, but keep a close eye on them for the last 2-3 minutes of baking time. They can go from pale to burnt in no time at all. As soon as the edges start to brown, take them out of the oven and get them straight onto a cooling rack.
Blueberry and Lime Buttercream
Buttercream is the filling of choice for Swedish cream cookies. As with the dough, you can stick with creamy vanilla as the flavor, or launch out into uncharted territory and make a buttercream that is unique to you. Try raspberry and lemon, blackberry and maple, or the juice from freshly grated ginger.
It's blueberry season in my part of the world, so I chose a lively blueberry and lime buttercream for my version. The blueberries not only add their distinctive flavor, they also turn the buttercream a gorgeous pink, and the lime adds beautiful green flecks to the dough and the filling as well as a sprightly tartness that pairs delectably with the blueberries.
Wait until the cookies are completely cool before you frost them or you'll end up with puddles of melted buttercream everywhere. If you're in a hurry, stick the tray in the freezer for a few minutes and you'll be set. I use about a teaspoon of frosting to sandwich each cookie.
In winter, they'll keep perfectly well in a tin on the kitchen counter, but if it's summertime, get these babies into the fridge so the buttercream doesn't melt.
These Swedish cream cookies will go beautifully with black tea like Blackberry Mojito with lime, maple, and spearmint, or a green tea like Easy to Be Green with blueberry and hibiscus. I prefer the delicate sensibilities of herbal tea for these cookies. Try our Meadow Walk Herbal Tea with blueberry, lavender, and rosemary, or Happy Hour Herbal Tea with hibiscus and lime.
If you're a cookie lover but don't fancy a sandwich style cookie, you might enjoy some of our other delicious cookie recipes, such as Afternoon Almond Tea Cookies, melt-in-your-mouth Earl Grey butter cookies, or these wedding cookie recipes from around the world.
Swedish Cream Cookies with Blueberry and Lime Buttercream
- 1 cup butter, cold, cut into chunks
- 2 cups white flour
- 2 tablespoons lime zest (3-4 limes)
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- granulated sugar for dipping
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 and 3/4 to 2 cups powdered sugar
Place butter, flour, and lime zest in food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Don't overmix. Remove before it becomes paste or dough.
Dump contents of food processor into medium mixing bowl and add whipping cream. Stir until mixture begins clumping together, then use hands to form into ball. Cut in two and press each half into a disk about an inch thick. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill in fridge about 1 hour.
While dough is chilling, place blueberries, lime juice, and lime zest in bowl of food processor and pulse until pureed. Pour into large mixing bowl and add butter and powdered sugar; mix until smooth. Place in fridge until ready to use.
Fill shallow bowl with granulated sugar and set aside.
When dough is chilled, preheat oven to 375F. Remove one disk from fridge, unwrap, and set dough in middle of the plastic wrap. Top with another piece of plastic wrap and roll out to about 1/8 inch thick.
Remove top layer of plastic wrap and cut dough into circles about 1 and 1/2 inches diameter.
Take each round and press each side gently into sugar to coat, then place on parchment-lined baking sheet right next to each other (these cookies do not spread).
Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 10 minutes, watching carefully the last 2-3 minutes. Once edges begin to brown, remove tray immediately and place cookies on cooling rack. Repeat until all dough is used.
Note: Handle dough as little as possible, as it will toughen if worked too much.
When cookies are cool, retrieve buttercream from fridge and spread about 1 teaspoon of frosting on the bottom of one cookie and top with another. Set aside. Repeat until all cookies are used.
Store in airtight container on counter unless it's hot, then store in fridge.