Buttery Swedish Dream Cookies (DRÖMMAR)
These Swedish dream cookies, known as drömmar, are traditional buttery sugar cookies widely eaten in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. A special ingredient (baker’s ammonia) makes these cookies airy crisp with a cracked surface. They melt in your mouth when you eat them.
Swedish Dream Cookies (Drömmar)
Drömmar means “dreams” and these Swedish cookies are surely a sweet dream to eat. No wonder the common nickname for these cookies are called “sugar dream”. These dream cookies are as common in Sweden as chocolate chip cookies are in the United States. You can find them everywhere.
This Swedish Drömmar cookies recipe is great addition to your collection of holiday sweet treat recipes, especially for Christmas time, along with Pepparkakor (Swedish ginger cookies).
Drömmar cookies are pale in color melt in your mouth. The secret ingredient–ammonium bicarbonate, also known as baker’s ammonia–makes it possible to have the amazing texture with the cracked surface.
For some people they are known as ammonia cookies because of that ingredient. Either way, it is one of the easy home-baked cookies that you can share with anyone.
What is baker’s ammonia?
The scientific name for baker’s ammonia (or baking ammonia) is “ammonium carbonate.” It is also called hornsalt which means “deer horn’s salt.” This is because originally it was made from deer antlers.
It was the primary leavening agent before baking soda and baking powder were available in olden days. Baker’s ammonia makes baked goods extra crisp and crunchy, but in the lightest possible way that baking powder or baking soda can’t match. Its leavening power is activated by heat rather than moisture.
The downside of this leavener is the smell. It can be strong, and smells almost like fertilizer, but the odor dissipates as the cookies bake. While the raw cookie dough might be unpleasant, you’ll find the baked dream cookies are delicious and will literally dissolve in your mouth.
Warning: Do not attempt to put the jar of baker’s ammonia right under your nose to smell it. Doing so can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs. You’ll get a lesson of a lifetime–one that is better left unlearnt.
Baker’s ammonia is still used today in Swedish cookies recipes and other Scandinavian baked goods for its ability to leaven dough without toughening it. The texture of ammonia cookies is amazing. As they bake, they puff up to more than double their height, creating a crisp yet delicate texture.
You can get baker’s ammonia at an online store since it might not be easily found in your local grocery store. Baker’s ammonia can be substituted with the mix of baking powder and baking soda, although this will alter the texture of the cookie and make it less crumbly.
“Bakers Ammonia” is a uniform high purity leavening agent, produced by a chemical reaction of Ammonia, carbon dioxide and water.
Recipe success tips
- The secret to good Swedish dream cookies with a beautiful cracked surface, is in the oven temperature. A warm, but not overly hot, oven temperature (300˚F) helps the cookies rise and crack on the surface, creating a toffee-like taste.
- One thing to remember. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN while baking. Baker’s ammonia smells terrible while baking but just wait until the cookies are finished baking. The smell will pass.
- You can mix the cookie dough by hand if you desire to make it by the traditional method. Make sure your butter is at the room temperature.
- Salt is optional. It is not shown on the traditional dream cookies recipes, but I found it adds a good balance to the overall taste.
As you will see the ingredients, there is no egg included in these cookies, which makes them wonderful eggless cookies for people who are allergic to eggs.
List of ingredients
- butter: Use unsalted butter at room temperature
- sugar: white granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- oil: Use any non-fragrant oil. I used grapeseed oil
- baker’s ammonia: If substituting, use 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of baking soda (This will alter the texture, though)
- flour: all-purpose flour
- cornstarch: It will add a delicate texture to the cookies
- salt: optional
How to make Swedish dream cookies
Step 1. Wet ingredients
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. If mixing by hand, blend the butter and the sugar with a spatula or wooden spoon until they are mixed well. Mix in vanilla.
Slowly add the oil to the butter mixture and continue to mix until combined.
Step 2. Dry ingredients
Sift together flour, cornstarch, baker’s ammonia, and salt (if using). Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and continue mixing until well incorporated.
Step 3. Shape the dough
The dough will be on the dryer side. Shape the dough into 24 balls and place them 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
Step 4. Bake
Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until firm and cracked on top. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes and then transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.
Swedish dream cookies will stay fresh up to 3 days at room temperature. They also freeze beautifully. Put them in a freezer zip bag and freeze up to 3 months.
More European dessert recipes
If you enjoy European style desserts, try some of these recipes below. They are my family’s favorites.
- Creamy Finnish Blueberry Pie (Mustikkapiirakka)
- Swedish Gingerbread Cookies (Pepparkakor)
- Coffee-Free Barley Tiramisu
- Polish Apple Pie (Szarlotka)
- Raspberry Fool (Raspberries and Cream)
- Sugar and Butter Brioche Tart (Brioche Galette)
Buttery Swedish Dream Cookies (DRÖMMAR)
- 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch, or potato starch
- 1 tsp baker's ammonia
- 1/4 tsp salt, optional
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened but not too soft
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cornstarch, baker’s ammonia, and salt (if using); set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. If mixing by hand, blend the butter and the sugar with a spatula or wooden spoon until they are mixed well. Mix in vanilla. Slowly add the oil to the butter mixture and continue to mix until combined.
- Add the flour mixture and continue mixing until well incorporated. The dough will be on the dryer side.
- Shape the dough into 24 balls and place them 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until firm and cracked on top.
- Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes and then transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.