Brysselkex is a weird little biscuit. Well, the biscuit in itself isn’t weird – but the name is. Bryssel is Brussels in Swedish, and kex means cracker or biscuit (but it’s more often savoury than sweet). Nowhere online seems to have an explanation for why they’re called ‘Brussels biscuits’, other than Swedish Wikipedia which merely states that, like Brussels sprout, they’re named after Brussels. Hm.
These biscuits were always something of a favourite of mine when I was little. I remember during the summers when we were on Öland (an island off the southern east coast of Sweden) that we used to go to this little bakery where they sold all the traditional biscuits and bakes. When we had to choose only one biscuit, I often picked the Brysselkex.
It’s quite simple to make, but rather difficult to get completely round as it should be. I haven’t quite mastered the art of keeping them round when they are rolled and put in the fridge to cool, mine always get a square edge where they’ve been laying on the baking tray. But then on the other hand, that means that people know I haven’t bought them in the shop!
I think my butter got a bit too warm while making these (hence they’re not round at all).My dough was very difficult to roll in the sugar, and I think that would have been easier if I’d left them in the fridge for a little while before trying it.
450 ml flour
100 ml sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
Food colouring (traditionally pink)
The process for these starts out identical to the hallongrottor – since it’s the same base dough.
Mix flour, sugar and vanilla sugar in a bowl.
Cut the (cold) butter into smaller pieces and add to the flour mix (if you’re using vanilla essence, add it here rather than to the flour mix). Work together into a dough.
Cut the dough in half and roll into two rolls – about 4-5 cm in diameter. If your dough is feeling quite soft – place the rolls in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to cool.
To dye the sugar, put it in a plastic bag and add the food colouring. I had gel colour because I believed that would probably work best – but I’m sure you can use the other kind too. ‘Squeeze’ the sugar until the colour has evenly dyed the sugar. (One recipe said to add a few drops of water here, which I don’t know if it would make the sugar stick to the dough better or not.)
Roll your rolls (lol) in the sugar and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to completely cool.
Cut the rolls into 0.5-1 cm thick slices and bake at 175 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. The biscuits are not supposed to colour from the heat.
I definitely want to try and make these again, because I really like them and though it felt like a bit of a failure they tasted really nice (and didn’t actually look that bad for a first attempt). I think if I can get the temperature of my butter down a bit before rolling the dough in the sugar it will work better.
Oh, and if anyone knows why they’re called Brysselkex, please let me know! I’ve never seen them anywhere other than Sweden, so I don’t know if it’s just a Swedish thing.