In April, we spent a week in Denmark! I will be sharing our experiences in a series of six posts with recipes inspired by our travels. Today, I am finally covering our last post with a day trip from Copenhagen to Helsingør along with a recipe for Kanelsnegle (Danish Cinnamon Rolls).
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Here are my previous posts on Copenhagen in case you missed it:
- Tebirkes (Danish Poppyseed Pastries) and Copenhagen: Nyhavn, Christiansborg Slot, and Strøget
- Flødeboller (Danish Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Puffs) and Copenhagen: Tivoli Gardens, Nørrebro, and Vesterbro
- Birkesvafler (Poppy Seed Waffles) and Copenhagen: Experimentarium and Den Blå Planet
- Ristet Hotdog and Copenhagen: Rundetårn, Amalienborg, and Langelinie
- Kartoffelmad (Danish Potato Sandwich) and Copenhagen: Rosenborg, Torvehallerne, and Nationalmuseet
Sankt Peders Bageri
Before catching the train to Helsingør, we stopped by Sankt Peders Bageri. Located about 550 meters (0.3 mile) from Nørreport Station at Sankt Peders Stræde 29, Skt. Peders Bageri is the oldest bakery in Copenhagen! It has been in operation since 1652.
On Wednesdays, they sell over 4,000 Onsdagssnegle (Wednesday Cinnamon Rolls)! These Kanelsnegle are larger in size and available at a decreased price. I picked one topped with sugar, but glazed were also available. The kids were mostly excited to come across doughnuts.
The interior is on the smaller side with only a few seats, but we arrived shortly after the morning rush with a minimal line and some spots open. I parked the stroller just outside the entrance.
There are plenty of options for day trips from København. I researched a few, but ultimately decided on Helsingør.
It was a quick 45 minute train ride from Copenhagen’s Nørreport Station (also from Central Station) to Helsingør Station. We were easily able to hop on the train with the Copenhagen Card and there was no need to book a specific train or seats. The flexibility was particularly appreciated while traveling with small children.
Also known as Elsinore, Helsingør is located along the coast in Nordsjælland (North Zealand) about 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of Copenhagen.
You can even see the Swedish city of Helsingborg across the Øresund (accessible via ferry). This is actually the closest point of Denmark and Sweden at 4 km/2.5 miles across.
Kronborg Slot (Kronborg Castle) was what originally drew us to Helsingør. Acknowledged as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Kronborg Slot is perhaps best known as the inspiration and setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Construction began in 1574 by King Frederik II to replace an earlier fortress, Krogen, from the 15th century. It was strategically positioned at the narrowest point of the Øresund as a gateway to the Baltic Sea and charged tolls (Sound Dues) to those who passed through until 1857.
The castle burned in 1629 and was rebuilt into the same style by King Christian IV. During the Dano-Swedish War of 1658-1660, the grounds were occupied and plundered by the Swedish king, Karl Gustav. The castle never returned to its former opulent glory and was eventually converted into army barracks in 1785 before finally opening to the public in 1938.
We opted to walk through the castle on our own, but tours are available in Danish and English.
Notable features inside the castle include the ballroom (largest of its kind in Northern Europe at 60 meters long/nearly 200 feet), chapel (the only surviving section from the 1629 fire), and casemates with Holger Danske.
Halfway through our self-guided tour of the castle, the kids were pleasantly surprised to come across a room with crayons and lego bricks. It was a nice spot to take a break before continuing on through the rest of the rooms.
Under the castle, you will find the casemates. Built from 1574 to 1576, these underground tunnels provided a safe haven for soldiers during times of war.
As a note, this section was slightly traumatizing for the kids (to the point that they refused to go underground for all the future castle/palace sites during the remainder of our trip). It was a bit gloomy and damp with walls that narrowed a little the further we walked through. I ended up using the flashlight on my phone to help guide our way. Since we visited midweek during the off-season, there was only one other group further ahead of us out of sight and when someone laughed, it echoed back to us (at this point, both kids said they were done).
Found in the casemates is a statue of Holger Danske (Holger the Dane, you can find a smaller replica of him in Solvang, California). According to legend, he rests under Kronborg Slot until the day Denmark needs him. Then, he will wake up and defend the country.
The current concrete statue replaced the plaster model in 1985 due to the damp climate underground.
Admission is included with the Copenhagen Card. Ticket prices vary based on the season (special events and live performances of Hamlet are held during the summer) and can also be purchased online. Children under the age of 18 are free. Those who visit the M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark on the same day will receive a 25% discount to Kronborg Slot. Plan on spending about 2-3 hours exploring the castle.
Current hours are 11:00-16:00 Tuesday-Sunday from October to March and daily 10:00-17:00 from April to September (closed January 1st and December 24-25, 31st). The inside of the castle is not accessible to strollers or wheelchairs. We parked our stroller near the entrance inside the castle courtyard.
We didn’t eat at the castle, but on the grounds they do have Brohuset (a cafe with ice cream, coffee, cake, drinks, and sandwiches), Kadetten (cafe and bakery in the historic building of the second lieutenant school), and Strandvejsristeriet (they roast and sell freshly ground coffee).
We stopped by Værftets Madmarked for lunch. Located in the warehouse of a former shipyard at Ny Kronborgvej 2, Værftets Madmarked (translates to Shipyard’s Food Market) is an indoor (+ outdoor seating/activities) food hall with stalls featuring cuisines from around the world.
It opened in 2017 and is currently home to 10 stands. We loved the nautical-themed decor. There is even a spot to swap books and events are held throughout the week.
Choices include Italian, Indian, Seafood, Japanese, Coffee, Juice, Burgers, Middle Eastern, Crepes, and more.
We went shortly after opening on a Wednesday (hours have since changed- see below) and mostly had the building to ourselves before crowds started to enter around noon. The kids were in an Italian mood yet again. Claire decided on pasta bolognese, while Evan was drawn to pizza. Overall, it was a perfect stop near the castle to take a break and relax for a bit.
Current hours are Friday and Saturday 11:00-21:00, Sunday 11:00-19:00, and closed Monday-Thursday. The food stalls stop serving an hour before closing.
While scrolling the list to see what else in Helsingør was covered by the Copenhagen Card, we came across Øresundsakvariet (The Øresund Aquarium).
Located at Strandpromenaden 5, Øresundsakvariet is a small saltwater aquarium affiliated with the Department of Biology at Københavns Universitet (University of Copenhagen) that focuses the local marine life of the surrounding Øresund and Kattegat sea.
The kids especially enjoyed the touch tank and being able to feed the fish (at 11 am daily, but you can also watch the guides feed hourly). We spent about an hour here. Due to the tight space, walking around the tanks with a stroller may be difficult. We were directed to park ours in a designated area next to the touch tank. The ticket office does have one umbrella stroller and two baby carriers available to borrow.
Admission is included with the Copenhagen Card. Otherwise, check the prices here. The aquarium is currently open 10-16:00 on weekdays and 10-17:00 on weekends. Special events are also held during school holidays, summer (snorkelling and porpoise watching), and autumn (seabird watching).
The aquarium is about 1 km (15 minute walk) from Helsingør Station and 700 meters (10 minute walk) from Kronborg Slot.
Other notable places in Helsingør
We only had a brief amount of time in Helsingør, but there is even more to see in the town! Other sites include the Carmelite Monastery, M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark (conveniently located directly next to Kronborg Slot), Sankt Olai Kirke (Saint Olaf’s Church), and more.
I also originally had Brostræde Is on the list, but didn’t get the chance to stop by. Hidden off the Main Street at Brostræde 2, this cash-only ice cream shop is the oldest in Helsingør. Everything is homemade, even the cones.
Kanelsnegle (Danish Cinnamon Rolls)
During our week in Denmark, we came across so many variations of Kanelsnegle (check out Scandinavia Standard for a list of some of the best in Copenhagen) with the Onsdagssnegle from Sankt Peders Bageri leaving quite the notable impression. They have been on my mind ever since and I was excited to make my own at home.
These Kanelsnegle (Danish cinnamon rolls, literally translates to cinnamon snails) definitely help bring back those memories and they are particularly wonderful paired with coffee or Claire’s favorite, varm chokolade (hot chocolate).
A Few Tips
I chose to make these Kanelsnegle with a soft yeast dough, but have also seen them prepared with a flaky puff pastry. After combining the ingredients, the dough should be smooth and soft. If it is too crumbly, add a little more milk. Add a little more flour if too sticky to handle, but be careful not to add too much or it can cause the rolls to become tough. In a warm kitchen, the first rise should take about one hour to double in size. During the winter, it sometimes takes closer to 2 hours.
When topping the Kanelsnegle, I decided to showcase a little bit of the variety we came across with a few different options. My personal favorite is a simple powdered sugar glaze. Powdered sugar is combined with a little water until smooth enough to drizzle over the rolls. After the rolls have baked and cooled to room temperature, simply add a dollop of the glaze towards the center of the Kanelsnegle or swirl it around to highlight the layers. The glaze can easily be made chocolate by whisking in some cocoa powder.
Another option is perlesukker (pearl sugar). The Kanelsnegl I tried in Sankt Peders Bageri was covered in a more fine Danish pearl sugar, but I have also seen others with the coarse Swedish pearl sugar. I was unable to locate the Danish version, so I substituted with a white sanding sugar. After brushing the risen rolls with the egg wash, I sprinkled the sugar over the Kanelsnegle before baking until golden.
The Kanelsnegle are best the day they are baked, but can be frozen once cooled to room temperature without the glaze.
Kanelsnegle (Danish Cinnamon Rolls) Recipe
Adapted from Cook Yourself Happy
Kanelsnegle (Danish Cinnamon Rolls)
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk 105-115˚F
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 egg beaten
- Pearl sugar
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons water
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm milk. Stir to combine and allow to sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt.
- Mix in the milk with the yeast, followed by the butter to form a dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth and soft. Place back in the bowl, cover with a towel or plastic, and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
To make the cinnamon filling:
- In a medium bowl, mix together the softened butter, sugar, and cinnamon until smooth.
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the risen dough into a rectangle about 24 inches long and 18 inches wide. Cover in an even layer with the cinnamon sugar filling. Roll up the dough, short end to short end to form a log. Pinch together the end to seal.
- Cut the log into rolls about 1 inch thick with a sharp knife. Arrange the rolls on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until puffed, about 30 minutes.
- Brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg. If using pearl sugar, sprinkle over the brushed rolls and bake in the preheated oven until golden, 12-14 minutes. Transfer the cooked rolls to wire racks to cool.
- If topping with a glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk the water into the powdered sugar to create a smooth glaze. If too thick, add a little more water. If too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. If desired, mix in a little cocoa powder to make the glaze chocolate. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled rolls, either a dollop in the center or around in a swirl.
- These Kanelsnegle are best the day they are baked.