Christmas Bites

Norwegian Christmas Cookies

Swedish gingerbread biscuits is a popular Christmas fare at IKEA stores. In Norway, gingerbread biscuits are part of a Christmas tradition. Starting on the first Sunday in Advent, households start baking Christmas biscuits throughout December, ending on the 4th Sunday in Advent with up to seven varieties. It is not necessary to make as many as seven but varieties you make have to be an uneven number – so as few as one variety, three or five are acceptable. Here are five easy-to-make Christmas biscuit varieties I grew up with in my household:

Gingerbread biscuits

Ingredients:

2tblsp unsalted butter
150g sugar
150ml syrup
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered cloves
450g flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg

Utensils: Saucepan; wooden spoon; rolling pin; spatula; baking sheet; Christmas cookie cutters; baking rack
Time: 45 minutes

Preparation:

  1. Heat butter in a saucepan. Add sugar and syrup and stir in pepper, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to touch, stir in flour and bicarbonate of soda and leave to cool down.
  2. Break egg into a bowl, beat with a fork for 10 seconds and stir into dough. Put dough in a bowl, sift some flour to cover, and let dough rest in fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, heat oven to 175°C and ready a baking sheet with baking paper or greased aluminium foil.
  4. Roll out dough 3mm in thickness on a floured kitchen counter or table, using the cookie cutters to make shapes. This is a popular activity for children in the household.
  5. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until crisp.
  6. Remove biscuits and let them cool off on a baking rack.
  7. Decorate the biscuits with white icing if desired by mixing icing sugar with lemon juice and eggwhite for a thin icing.
Berlin twists

Ingredients

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
125g caster suger
250g unsalted butter
300g flour

Preparation:

  1. Boil two eggs for 8-9 minutes. Remove yolks and mash them well with a fork. Mix with the two raw egg yolks . Using an electric mixer add sugar to egg yolks and mix until well blended.
  2. Continue mixing and add butter at room temperature and flour alternately and when all is mixed, put dough in the fridge.
  3. Heat oven to 180°C. Prepare a baking sheet, covered with baking paper or greased aluminium foil.
  4. Remove dough from fridge and roll out 10cm sticks on a floured surface – about 1cm in diameter. Make twists by folding one end over the other.
  5. Place the twists on the baking sheet and using a pastry brush, brush the twists with egg whites and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool off on a baking rack and when cold put in biscuit container.

Utensils: saucepan; fork; electric mixer; butter knife; pastry brush; baking rack; biscuit container.
Preparation time: 30 minutes

Coconut macaroons

Ingredients

4 eggs
200g egg yolks
125g caster suger
250g unsalted butter
300g flour

Preparation:

  1. Boil two eggs for 8-9 minutes. Remove yolks and mash them well with a fork. Mix with the two raw egg yolks . Using an electric mixer add sugar to egg yolks and mix until well blended.
  2. Continue mixing, and add butter at room temperature and flour alternately and when all is mixed, put dough in the fridge.
  3. Heat oven to 180°C. Prepare a baking sheet, covered with baking paper or greased aluminium foil.
  4. Remove dough from fridge and roll out 10cm sticks on a floured surface – about 1cm in diameter. Make twists by folding one end over the other.
  5. Place the twists on the baking sheet and using a pastry brush, brush the twists with egg whites and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool off on a baking rack and when cold put in biscuit container.

Utensils: sausepan; fork; electric mixer; butter knife; pastry brush; baking rack; biscuit container.
Preparation time: 30 minutes

Serina biscuits

Ingredients

4 eggs
200g egg yolks
125g caster suger
250g unsalted butter
300g flour

Preparation:

  1. Boil two eggs for 8-9 minutes. Remove yolks and mash them well with a fork. Mix with the two raw egg yolks . Using an electric mixer add sugar to egg yolks and mix until well blended.
  2. Continue mixing, and add butter at room temperature and flour alternately and when all is mixed, put dough in the fridge.
  3. Heat oven to 180°C. Prepare a baking sheet, covered with baking paper or greased aluminium foil.
  4. Remove dough from fridge and roll out 10cm sticks on a floured surface – about 1cm in diameter. Make twists by folding one end over the other.
  5. Place the twists on the baking sheet and using a pastry brush, brush the twists with egg whites and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool off on a baking rack and when cold put in biscuit container.

Utensils: sausepan; fork; electric mixer; butter knife; pastry brush; baking rack; biscuit container.
Preparation time: 30 minutes

sandkaker

(Almond shortcrust biscuits)

One of my favourite Christmas biscuits and makes tart cases which can be enjoyed on their own with sweet fillings for dessert.

Ingredients:

500g flour
500g butter
500g sugar
500g almond meal
Utensils: Bowl; wooden spoon; spatula, cutting board; vegetable knife, tart moulds
Time: 1 hour

Preparation:

  1. Put all ingredients in bowl and mix. Shape into a 5cm diameter “sausage” and put in fridge.
  2. When cold, slice dough in 5mm thick discs and press into greased tart moulds dusted with alsmond meal.
  3. Bake at 180°C until golden and cool on cake rack.
  4. Remove from moulds and cook on a baking rack. Keep in biscuit tin until needed. (Can be served on their own or filled with creams as a sweet or dessert.)”

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