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Sunday, July 15, 2012

My love letter to the Hindbær Snitter

In almost any traditional Danish bakery, you can find the perfect teatime treat: the hindbær snitter.  The casual observer might call this pastry a sort of sophisticated pop tart, though that comparison does not begin to do justice to the hindbær snitter.  In its best form, it has two layers of buttery, fresh dough that hug a middle layer laced with raspberry jam.  The top layer is completed with a blanket of sugary sweet confectioner's sugar icing and playfully scattered with a decorative topping, usually multi-colored sprinkles.  If you've ever had a linzer cookie, you might consider the hindbær snitter a cousin to that-- but instead of a light dusting of confectioner's sugar on top, you are rewarded with an aggressively sweet ridge of frosting and a crunchy dose of sprinkles in each bite.  It's the kind of treat that makes you feel like a kid again. 
I knew the hindbær snitter had become a permanent favorite when I was tempted to try every version of it I could find while passing through Copenhagen's bakeries (the above version is from Bodenhoff bakery.)  But like most treats that become a part of my regular cravings, I had to determine how this one was made.  So I got to work on a batch of hindbær snitters for my coworkers to enjoy.  It's a treat so Danish that a Dane described my home baking efforts as "true cultural immersion."  Aside from improving my Danish, baking seems like the next best gesture I can think of as I assimilate into Copenhagen life.
Luckily, you need very little ingredients to whip up a batch of these treats.  When late night baking inspiration struck,  I had everything I needed but the sprinkles.  Since you must let the dough chill for about an hour before rolling it out, I was able to sneak in a last minute sprinkle purchase to my corner grocery store with satisfying efficiency. Once baked, I took a moment to appreciate the giant snitter on the counter before cutting it into more manageable pieces.  Having just moved into my new apartment here, I realized I had nothing to store the snitters in to transport them to work.  So I fashioned a makeshift hindbær snitter receptacle out of the cardboard box that previously held my first big purchase when I arrived to the city: a Bodum french press.  You wouldn't know it, but an 8 cup Bodum french press box is the perfect size to fit inside a bike basket for safe transport into the city center of Copenhagen.      
 
Below, you'll see another hindbær snitter from Laura's Bakery, located in Torvahallerne (a gourmet food market.) This particular snitter is all dolled up with some pink icing.
The hindbær snitter at Holm's Bageri has perhaps the loveliest presentation, with dehydrated strawberries and pistachio sprinkled on top.
I dare say that hindbær snitters are to Danes what chocolate chip cookies are to Americans:  a little morsel of comfort that you really cannot live without.  I'll be taking this recipe home with me, at least in spirit-- as I don't think the Bodum box will fare as well during air transport.  
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