Riskrem: A classic Norwegian Christmas dessert

I am sure as children, and even adults, we have all been guilty of  quickly and dutifully finishing our dinner in anticipation of  dessert.  Whenever my mom declared we would have riskrem for dessert,  this was usually the time I didn’t care what the main course was once I learned what would follow.  Riskrem was a special treat, and which remains one of my favorite desserts to date, that I knew would come the day after my mom served “risengrynsgrøt” for dinner.  In typical Norwegian fashion,  every bit of food that was made from the days before were utilized and created into future meals.

Norwegian tradition through generations has been that on the day or night before Christmas Eve (also called “lillejulaften” or “Little Christmas Eve”),  families would make risengrynsgrøt for dinner, and a bowl was also placed outside by the barn for Santa Claus to enjoy before he went off on his long journey of delivering presents to all the homes in the world.

risengrynsgrotjulenisse

The leftover porridge from Little Christmas Eve will then be turned into the especially tasty, sweet and creamy riskrem dessert on Christmas Eve.  I love this tradition,  the way I love so many traditions from my home country.  When so much else changes in our daily life year in and year out, I really cherish that some things remain the same, such as what we eat and what we do on Christmas.

Riskrem is a traditional Scandinavian Christmas dessert; a delectable rice pudding served cold, made up with leftover rice porride,  sugar, whipped cream and vanilla sugar with a red berry sauce,    In Sweden and Denmark it is also common to add in chopped nuts, and in Sweden they also add in bits of orange, where it is referred to as appelsinris.  Read about that and get the recipe in my previous blog post. 

In Denmark,  riskrem is sometimes also referred to as “risalamande”, a sort of French spin off of the word riz a l’amande (rice with an almond),  referring to the almonds in the pudding.  As part of our tradition, an almond is hidden in the porridge or rice pudding and whoever finds the almond wins a prize, typically a pig shaped candy made out of marzipan.

marsipangris

According to statistics, almost half of all Norwegian families enjoy riskrem for dessert on Christmas Eve.  In my family we didn’t serve this dessert for the holidays, because my mother felt (and we agreed) that the main course was so heavy that nobody had much room to properly enjoy this dessert directly following the big “ribbe” dinner.   Instead we waited an hour or so and had an Irish coffee with some cookies while opening presents… worked for me!  The riskrem would wait for us the following day, which gave us something to look forward to once the biggest day of the year eventually was over.

There’s still time to whip this up if you want a little extra taste of Norway this holiday season!

RISKREM

Makes about 4 portions

2 cups rice porridge *

2 tbsp confectioners sugar or to taste

2 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups heavy cream or coconut cream

50 grams or 1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped (optional)

Whisk the heavy cream or coconut cream with the confectioners sugar and vanilla sugar/extract  in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.     In a bowl, fold in the whipped cream with the rice porridge and sprinkle in the almonds, if using.

riskrem

Many people use a pre-packaged red sauce (Piano is a very common brand in Norway) to make it easier to prepare this dessert, but I prefer to make everything from scratch. Here is a super quick and simple recipe for a delicious red sauce to pour over your riskrem:

Red Berry Sauce:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

500 grams or a little over 2 cups fresh raspberries (or strawberries or cherries or any berries you prefer)

In a medium pot, heat up the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Whisk until all the sugar has dissolved.  Pour the sugar water mixture in a blender or food processor and add the raspberries. Process until nice and smooth.   You can strain the sauce through a chinois if you prefer an even smoother consistency.

riskrem2

*Risengrynsgrøt

1 cup short grain rice, such as Arborio

2 cups water

4 cups almond milk (or coconut milk)

1 vanilla bean pod, split in half

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Rinse the rice in a colander and drain.  Pour the rice in a medium pot with the water and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until all the water has soaked into the rice.  Add the milk, the vanilla bean pod (scrape the insides out  and throw into pot along with the pod), sugar and salt.  Bring to a boil while constantly whisking, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes until you have a thick and smooth porridge.  Make sure the milk does not burn at the bottom, watch your temperature. Pour it into a large bowl and let it cool so you can make riskrem, alternatively eat it straight away warm for dinner, with a dollop of butter in the center and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Yum!!

risengrynsgrot2aperitif

Image from aperitif.no

Seven Types of Cookies for Christmas: Day Seven

Just two more days until Christmas and here comes my last day of my cookie series!  I wanted to leave a really easy one for last since most of you are probably feeling the stress of the holiday preparations by now.

This “cookie” is part cookie, part candy and particularly popular among children and those of us who have an extra big sweet tooth.   “Risboller” is a standard at children’s birthday parties in Norway but are also a big hit among grown ups. Gluten free and made with puffed rice, melted chocolate and coconut fat – what could really go wrong here?  Not much.  These treats have been a standard in my family my entire life so I wanted to include them in , as a part of my slightly “atypical” seven cookies series.   These are not baked, rather chilled – thus great for when you don’t feel like waiting for the oven to heat up to make some cookies!

Try these to add something different to your cookie collection. They have a different flavor, texture and look which can really brighten up your table!

Risboller

250 grams / 9 oz /1 cup coconut butter

200 grams / 7 oz/ 3/4 cup dark chocolate

2 eggs or 2 tbsp flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp water

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)

3 tbsp strongly brewed coffee

about 2 1/2 cups puffed rice

Muffin wrappers

Melt the coconut butter with the dark chocolate in a sauce pot over low-medium heat.  I typically let the coconut butter melt first then add in the dark chocolate (to avoid it separating). Be careful when heating it up and whisk continuously over low-moderate heat. Cool. Whisk in the sugar with the eggs or the flaxseed mixture, add the vanilla sugar and pour in the coffee and the coconut-chocolate mixture.   Lightly fold in the puffed rice.

Using a spoon, scoop up a bit of the rice mixture and place in a muffin cup and place on a tray and continue until all the “batter” is used up.    Chill in fridge for a couple of hours before serving.  After they have seized up you can place them in a cookie jar and store them in a cool spot.

risboller

Seven Types of Cookies for Christmas: Day Six

December is without doubt my favorite month of the entire year.  Not only is it my birth month, but also that of many of my closest friends, and the festive spirits that goes along with both birthdays and Christmas makes this a more carefree time where we can allow ourselves a little extra.  I never feel stress at this time as many people express they do, as I feel one should really embrace this special time of year and remember why we celebrate.    This holiday to me means spending time with your loved ones,  showing why they are special to you, not through presents,  but through wonderful food, drink, fun days and evenings where we all do something a little out of the ordinary and forget about every day worries and routines.

Since I have an unconventional job and work through most of the holiday (the negative bit about working in retail) I try to make every single day in December a fun and tasty day.  Part of my ritual is of course baking my seven kinds of cookies (and then some) . Today we’re on to day six, where I felt I needed to include perhaps what is one of the most classic cookies in the Norwegian repertoire:  Krumkaker.  These cone shaped, thin, slightly sweet, buttery and crispy cookies are not only beautiful to look at but delicious and light (depending on what you fill them with, perhaps not the latter!) and part of our baking history.

The cookies get a very  ornate and pretty pattern due to the special krumkake iron they are baked in.  Today you can purchase these irons online through many stores in the U.S.  Each iron can have a different pattern based on where in Norway you are and what traditions each family has, and they can be old fashioned (many Norwegian families haev had them in their family for generations) or more modern in style, if you purchase them today.

krumkakeiron1 krumkakejern2 krumkakejern3

A small tablespoon or less of batter is dropped in the middle of the iron, then baked rapidly as they are super thin, lifted off the iron and rolled around a special krumkake pin right away while warm, soft and pliable to shape them into pretty cones:

krumkakepinne

My mother has been bragging her whole life about how her krumkake recipe is the best,  so I must include her recipe below as it is also naturally the one I grew up eating.  She inherited the recipe from her grandmother, who in turn inherited it from her grandmother. Not sure how old it is – but old enough to be a truly special recipe that I am happy to be in possession of!

krumkaker

KRUMKAKER

2 eggs or 2 small bananas or 1 cup applesauce

1 cup margarine or butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 cup potato starch

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup water

2 tsp ground cardamom

Whisk the eggs lightly with the sugar and add in the butter and the remaining ingredients. Let sit for about 30 minutes before baking according to your krumkake iron’s instructions.   Typically your iron comes with a cone shaped stick that you roll the flat cakes around – it’s important to do this right after you lift the cookies off the iron /before they cool and stiffen. Fill the krumkaker with your favorite filling – whipped cream, cloudberry jam (yes I know that can be hard to find in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world), or a chocolate whipped cream with fresh berries. So delicious!

krumkaker2

Tørre Vafler; Not quite a waffle, not quite a cookie

My aunt Gudrun was one of the best cooks I have ever known. She was widely known in my home town of Sykkylven for being an  extremely knowledgeable and talented baker and homemaker, preserving traditions from our region of Norway that were hundreds of years old.  Every time I went home to Sykkylven on holiday,  I would look forward to visiting my aunt Gudrun who only lived a 5 minute walk away from the house I grew up in. I would always find her in the kitchen, where she felt most at home.  It seemed she always had a project going on her kitchen counter, the coffee machine was constantly brewing coffee for all the guests that would stop by during the day and the house smelled heavenly and lived in.  My aunt Gudrun’s house was a warm and welcoming house where we would learn about  life in the old days, and how she tended to the animals in the barn intermingled with baking everything from flatbreads to lefse,  breads and desserts from morning to night. I can still hear her laughter and see her big smile – she reminded me so much of my father, who had passed on several years before.  Unfortunately, my aunt Gudrun left us a few years ago too, at the age 92, and I still miss her and all her delicious food but I am happy to keep her alive in my heart through her recipes.

Aunt Gudrun was in great shape for most of her life, kept her own house and tended the farm after her husband  died, and she baked everything from scratch even after she turned 90 years old.  This is her recipe for “tørrevafler” –  her recipes were always rich and never skimped on anything, and was really a depiction of the type of generous person she was, always sharing with others and giving whatever she had.  I haven’t experienced or seen tørrevafler in many other households in Norway, and they always seem to be derived from somebody’s grandmother or great grandmother.  They look like regular waffles but are actually made into a dough rather than a batter, and then baked in a waffle maker.   They are a bit sweet, but not too sweet, and many people include this in their “seven types of cookies” they make for Christmas.  I choose to make these any time I want to think of my aunt Gudrun and our times together in her kitchen.  This is a very special recipe that evokes many wonderful memories of a fantastic woman I was lucky enough to call my aunt, and I would like to share it with you all today.

Ever since posting a photo of tørrevafler on my Facebook page, I have received many requests to share the recipe, so here it is.  Think of it like a cookie or a biscuit with a little extra softness, and unlike fresh waffles, these taste good for a week or two after you bake them as long as you keep them stored in a cookie jar.  They taste great with Norwegian gjetost, which is the classic way to serve these but you can certainly use your own imagination and use whatever topping sounds good to you!

TØRREVAFLER

2 cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature

1 cup full fat sour cream (or vegan sour cream)

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk (or 1 large banana or 1 cup applesauce)

2 tbsp hornsalt (or baking soda)

2 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract

about 400 grams all purpose flour (a little under 4 cups or enough all purpose flour to release dough from bowl when stirring)

In a stand mixer, combine sugar and butter and whip until light and fluffy.  Gradually add in the eggs or banana or applesauce, then the sour cream.  Fold in the hornsalt, vanilla sugar and enough flour to form a firm enough batter to roll out.  Be careful not to add too much flour, as the waffles will end up being too dry.  This you may have to try a couple of times before you perfect it.   Divide the dough into pieces and roll each out to about 1/4 inch thick, that fits your waffle iron.

julemannbaking

Place the piece in a prepared waffle maker (spray with baking spray or coat with butter) and cook according to your waffle maker’s instructions.  The waffles should be nice and golden and you will have extra dough around the heart or square shaped cookie that you can peel off once the waffles have cooled on a rack. Top with your favorite Norwegian brown cheese and /or jam!

torrevafler

Seven Types of Cookies for Christmas: Day Five

Every time I see “kransekakestenger” on a cookie plate, my mouth instantly starts to water.  These soft, chewy and flavor packed concoctions contain only three ingredients but taste so heavenly it’s easy to believe these take all day to bake, when quite the opposite is true.

I am sure most of my readers who are familiar with Norwegian cakes have heard of the “kransekake” – an impressive tower of “circles” of cake made out of ground almonds, confectioners sugar and egg whites and decorated with Norwegian flags and bon bons.   You can read more about it and get the recipe in my previous blog post here. Here’s a photo of one my mother made for my niece’s confirmation earlier this year:

kransekake4Norwegians have taken the contents of this cake and turned them into “stick” like cookies, hence the name ‘kransekakestenger’.    Much easier to prepare, and you still get the same taste and experience!  A popular way to present them is to dip each end in chocolate, bringing extra delight at the beginning and end of eating this insanely good cookie.

kransekakestengersparPhoto Source: Spar.no

These divine cookies are also gluten free if you don’t add in the optional tbsp of flour – I like to add it because I feel it adds a little texture to the cookies but the traditional recipe has no flour in it.

I’ve also added a plant based alternative to the egg whites, making these vegan if you would like to!  Happy baking!

KRANSEKAKESTENGER

250 grams or 9 oz (1 cup) scolded almonds (see below how to do this)

250 grams or 9 oz (1 cup)  whole almonds (unsalted)

250 grams or 9 oz (1 cup) confectioner’s sugar

3-4 egg whites at room temperature or 3 -4 tbsp ground flax seed whisked with 9-12 tbsp of water (this becomes gooey and gelatinous like egg whites)

1 tbsp all purpose flour (optional)

For chocolate dip:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To scold almonds (this can be done days in advance):    Bring some water in a pot to a boil, turn off heat and place the almonds in the water. Let them sit 2-3 minutes in the water, then rinse them in cold water.  Squeeze the almonds and remove the shells.  Let the almonds dry a couple of hours before using.

Grind up the scalded and un-scolded whole almonds in a food processor or an old fashioned grinder until fine.  Add in the confectioners sugar and all purpose flour and add in egg whites or flax seed mixture until you have a firm, sticky dough (you may not need to add all the egg whites /flax seed mix, adding too much liquid can ruin the consistency of the cookies).   Roll into a firm ball and wrap with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400F or 2ooC.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to about 4-5 inch pieces and place on baking sheets.  Cook for about 10 minutes until slightly golden on top.  While the cookies are cooling,  melt the chocolate on the stove in a double boiler. Dip the cookies in the chocolate on both ends, and place on rack to seize up.  You can also decorate the cookies as shown below- pretty, right?

kransekakestengerjaningehagaPhoto Credit:  Jan Inge Haga

Seven Types of Cookies for Christmas: Day Four

Today turned into the perfect day to bake.  A mix of sleet and rain had developed overnight here in the Hudson Valley and it was freezing outside this morning when I took my dogs out for their first outing.  We quickly ran back inside after the usual (yet unusually wet and short) walk,  where I was met with the warmth of the kitchen and the smell of freshly brewed coffee… My mind instantly went to day #4!!

Havreflarn, or “oatmeal wafers” are cookies that tastes just like candy. Super thin, crispy and almost caramelized cookies with an incredible texture and flavor that explodes in your mouth – these are laughingly easy to make, yet would impress even the most difficult to please guest.  These are cookies I associate with being “typical Norwegian” for Christmas and I always look forward to making these and offering them to my guests around the holidays.

Although I associate havreflarn with Norwegian flavors,  these are also made in Sweden where they go by the same name,  and  Ikea stores sell these in boxes as well across the world.  Of course, they are much better when you make them yourself- and now you can!

Don’t even plan on putting these into a cookie jar – I have a feeling they won’t make it as you and your family will gobble these all up before they make it that far.

havreflarntine

Image from tine.no

You can make the cookies without eggs (which I do) and eliminate the beating of the sugar/eggs, and just combine the sugar into the butter when you melt it. You can also add in some grated chocolate to the “dough” – (I use about 100 grams /about 1/2 cup for the below recipe) and create Chocolate Oatmeal Wafers.  Sooo good!!

HAVREFLARN  (Oatmeal Wafers)

Makes about 35 cookies

100 grams ( a stick less a tbsp) unsalted butter or margarine

300 grams or 1 1/4 cup oatmeal

1 egg or 1/2 cup applesauce or 1/2 banana

150 grams or 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp all purpose flour (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F /175C.  Prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.

In a medium pot melt the butter over medium heat.  Set aside and add in the oatmeal.  Whisk the egg or apple sauce/banana and sugar until light and fluffy and sprinkle in the baking powder and optional flour.  Fold in using a spatula with the slightly cool butter-oatmeal mixture.  Using a tea spoon or small ice cream scoop and place a dollop of the mixture on the prepared cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart (the dough will expand and the cookies will flatten as they bake).   Plan on placing 9 or 10 cookies on each baking sheet.

Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven for 6-8 minutes until lightly golden and crisp around the edges. It’s VERY important you keep an eye on the cookies while they are baking as the cookies bake very quickly and every oven is different.  Cool the cookies on the sheet long enough for them to be cool enough to move over to a rack. If you move them too quickly they will curl up.

havreflarnbirka.pirrka.fiImage from birka.pirkka.fi

Alternatively you can dip half of the cookies in melted chocolate (or both ends) and make “black and white cookies!”

havreflarnnotcreme

Image from notcreme.se

Seven Types of Christmas Cookies: Day Three

Despite the German sounding name, “Berlinerkranser” (Berlin Wreaths) is as Norwegian as lutefisk and Jarlsberg cheese – and an important part of our cookie collection during the holidays.  Why the reference to Berlin? It is believed that a lot of Scandinavian baking traditions came from German immigrants and their bakeries/ recipes. The Germans were considered masters at their craft and hence their baked goods became integrated into the Norwegian (and Swedish and Danish) food repertoire.  Reversely, many Scandinavians went to Germany to learn the trade there.   Regardless of  the actual facts, there is definitely a connection between Germany and Scandinavia! I was able to trace back recipes for Berlinerkranser as far as 1903 for these cookies – so it’s safe to say they’ve had a relatively long history in Norway.

berlinerkransertineImage from tinepartner.no

Berlinerkranser is  considered as one of the “seven” in the traditional cookie round up for Christmas, with its rich aromatic taste, and they are many people’s favorite.  The baking of these can prove to be quite the test, but the result will be the most delicious Christmas cookies – I promise!

These buttery, wreath shaped cookies are easy to make and can be made ahead of time and frozen until ready to enjoy, so there is no need to stress minutes before – you can bake these whenever you have the time.

BERLINERKRANSER (Berlin Wreath)

Makes about 30 cookies

* 2 cooked egg yolks (see below for recipe to replicate animal free egg yolks)

2 raw egg yolks or substitute 1/2 cup applesauce

125 grams or 1/2 cup granulated sugar

250 grams or 1 cup butter or margarine, softened

about 300 grams or 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Egg white  (or substitute nut based milk)  and pearl sugar for decoration

Preheat oven at 350 F (175C) . Prepare cookie sheets by coating them with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mash the cooked egg yolks well.  In a stand mixer, whisk the raw egg yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy. Combine with the mashed cooked egg yolks. Add the butter and flour and lightly work into a dough.   Don’t mix too much, as the dough can become difficult to handle. Let the dough rest in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  Remove the dough from fridge about 1/2 hour before rolling out.  Roll into about 6 inch links and shape them into wreaths.  The temperature of the dough is important here. If it’s too cold it may not be pliable enough to form it into the circle or if it is too warm, the link may break. This may take a few turns – but don’t despair!! Brush the cookies with the egg white or plant based milk and dip them in pearl sugar.   Place them on baking sheets about 2 inches apart (they will expand) and bake them in the middle of the oven for about 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.  Cool on a rack and keep the cookies in a cookie jar or freeze.

* How to make vegan egg yolks:1 lb. extra firm tofu (but I’d wager any kind would work just fine)

4 T Vegenaise (as a general rule, I loathe Vegenaise and Nayonaise and all that crap, but they work for this recipe. If you want to concoct something out of almonds or cashews, I’m sure it will be great too.)

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tsp mustard

2 tsp white wine vinegar

1 1/2 t salt

¾ t black salt

1 t turmeric

Put all ingredients in food processor.  Whip until smooth.

berlinerkransermatprat

Image from matprat.no

Seven Types of Cookies for Christmas: Day Two

This is admittedly one of my absolute favorite cookies during the Christmas holiday; although not in the classic seven, I bet if you ask any  family today in Norway you will get an acknowledgement and approving nod when mentioning “Brune Pinner”.   These have been in families’ baking repertoire for quite some time in our country and are always a hit among the young and old. Chewy, crispy and moist all in one with a heavenly buttery taste with vanilla and cinnamon and a nice textural crunch from the chopped almonds they are topped with, this is a perfect accompaniment to your afternoon coffee. The name translates to something un-sexy like “Brown Pins” (one article named it the best Christmas cookies with the most boring name), but believe me, once you taste these, you will be hooked!  Challenge yourself to have only one of these – it’s near impossible!

The below recipe is my grandmother’s who was an amazing cook. She passed away at 95 years old when I was only 12 years old… but I still remember her vividly and can only hope to become as great of a baker as she was!

P.S. Thanks to my sister in Sykkylven who has been great at maintaining old traditions in our family by constantly pestering my mother for these recipes and passing them on to me !

BRUNE PINNER

300 grams (10 1/2 oz)  butter or margarine/vegan butter

3 cups sugar

2 egg yolks or equivalent egg substitute (You can use non dairy yogurt, applesauce or banana)

6 tablespoons light syrup

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tsp vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)

3 tsp baking soda

About 550 grams (1 lb 4 oz)  all purpose flour

Plant based milk or egg substitute for brushing

Additional sugar and chopped almonds (or hazelnuts, if you prefer) for rolling the cookies in

In a stand mixer,  whip egg and sugar until combined and light in color.  Add in the remaining ingredients.  Knead the dough for a couple of minutes shape into an oval shape and wrap in plastic wrap.  Let sit in fridge overnight.  The next day,  preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheet by either coating them with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into six portions. Roll out into thick links and lightly press down on them to flatten.  Brush with egg substitute/or milk and dip in sugar and chopped almonds.  Place on baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.  Cut the links on the diagonal  into about 4 -5inch pieces while they are still warm and cool on a rack.

brunepinnermatpratImage from matprat.no

Seven Types of Cookies for Christmas: Day One

Baking seven kinds of cookies for Christmas has long been a tradition in Norway.   And why exactly seven, you ask? The number seven was regarded a lucky number in the old days, which  is why people felt the need to fill their cake boxes with this many varieties.  While the seven types vary from region to region and family to family,  generally speaking they were smultringer, sandkaker, sirupssnippper, berlinerkranser, goro, krumkaker and fattigmann.

Today, the selection in people’s homes may look a little different as we don’t measure our happiness by how many types of cookies we have in our cookie boxes.   Recipes have been updated to more modern or international palates (brownies,  biscotti and Sarah Bernhardt cookies to name a couple of popular examples)  while other old fashioned cookies have remained.    What is most important is creating great childhood memories for our kids by spending time with them, making something fun and delicious, or baking with friends as a way of bonding, relaxing and getting away from the stress of every day life.

julemann

Image from spar.no

For my series of cookies this year  I want to showcase what my family in Norway typically makes, as I think it’s a nice mix of both the old and the new, traditional and not so traditional.  I will include non dairy alternatives in each recipe for those that are lactose intolerant and/or vegan.

Today I’m kicking off with “Julemenn”, literally translated as “Christmas Men” .  These are for the most part made in the region of Sunnmøre where I am from, but they can also be seen in the eastern and southern part of Norway where they are called “kakemenn” (“cake men”).  These are cookies traditionally meant to please the little ones as kids love participating in the making of these.  The recipe is simple and the cookies are  cut out in shapes resembling men, women, Christmas trees, reindeer, etc. and are painted with edible paint afterwards.

julemannpynt

 

julemannpynt1

 

julemannpynt2

It’s a fun activity for the whole family and plus the children love the simple flavor of these.  Christmas is simply not the same in my house without a tray of these on the table!  They can be enjoyed plain (most common) or with a slice of cheese or some jam on top.

JULEMENN

125 grams (roughly 1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine or vegan butter, melted and cooled

2 cups  (or 5oo grams)  granulated sugar

2 cups (5 dl) milk or plant based milk

2 tsp hornsalt (or baking soda if you can’t find hornsalt)

1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

4  cups  (or 1 liter)  all purpose flour

Note: the dough is better if you leave it in a cold place overnight, before baking.

Combine butter, sugar, milk and half of the flour with the hornsalt and optional cardamom.  Gradually add the rest of the flour until you have a firm, smooth dough of appropriate thickness.  You may not need all the flour. Cover the dough with plastic and let rest in a cool spot for a couple of hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celcius).   Roll out the dough until it’s 1/2 cm (about 1/4 inch) thick.

julemannbaking

Cut out shapes using cookie cutters of various shapes and place onto  cookie sheets coated with cooking spray.

julemanntrykkut

Let cookies bake for about 7 minutes – remove them before they get a golden color (they should be pale).  They can easily become too dry so I typically take them out before I think they are done – don’t worry –  they will continue to bake on the sheet after you remove them from the oven.  Let the cookies cool completely before painting them with red, green and any other food color and decorative pattern of your choice! 🙂

julemenn