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:
150ml dark syrup sugar
150ml caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
800ml plain flour
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp powdered cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
Utensils: saucepan; wooden spoon; bowl; rolling pin; spatula; baking sheet; Christmas cookie cutters; baking rack
Time: 45 minutes
- Mix syrup and sugar in saucepan and bring to boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved, cut butter in small cubes and stir into sugar mixture until melted. Set mixture aside to cool.
- Beat egg in a separate bowl for 30 seconds and stir into syrup mixture when cooled down. Sift spices, bicarbonate of soda and the flour into the syrup mixture and stir until well blended. Knead dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Put in fridge for two hours or overnight.
- The next day, heat oven to 175°C and ready a baking sheet with baking paper or greased aluminium foil.
- Roll out dough thinly on a floured surface and use biscuit cutters to cut out Christmas shapes. This is a popular activity for children in the household.
- Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in batches at 180°C until crisp – for about 6-8 minutes. Cool on cake rack. Store in biscuit tin until needed.
- If desired, decorate the biscuits with white icing by mixing icing sugar with lemon juice and eggwhite for a thin icing.
Utensils: saucepan; spoon; mixing bowl; fork; wooden spoon; electric mixer; baking sheet; pastry brush; spatula; baking rack
Time: 45 minutes
2 egg yolks
125g caster suger
250g unsalted butter
- Boil two eggs for 8-9 minutes. Remove yolks and mash them well with a fork. Mix in the two raw egg yolks . Using an electric mixer add sugar to egg yolks and mix until well blended.
- Continue mixing and add butter at room temperature and flour alternately and when all is mixed, put dough in the fridge.
- Heat oven to 180°C. Prepare a baking sheet, covered with baking paper or greased aluminium foil.
- 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.
- Place the twists on the baking sheet and using a pastry brush, brush the twists with egg whites and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool off on a baking rack and when cold put in biscuit container.
Utensils: saucepan; spoon; mixing bowl; fork; electric mixer; butter knife; pastry brush; baking rack; biscuit container.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
2 egg whites
120g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
250g desiccated coconut
Utensils: kitchen scales; bowl; electric whisk; spoon; two teaspoons; baking sheet; cake rack. Time: Ca 2 hours
- Heat oven to 180°C.
- Mix the coconut and remaining sugar in a bowl. Using a spatula, gently fold the in the egg white until just combined.
- Form macaroons with teaspoons, or pipe them out with a star nozzle and place on a baking sheet covered with greased alufoil or baking paper.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and cool down on cake rack. Store in biscuit tin until needed.
2tsp baking powder
125g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla sugar
250g unsalted butter
50g almonds, chopped, or
50g sugar crystals
1 egg white
Utensils: saucepan; fork; electric mixer; butter knife; pastry brush; baking rack; biscuit container.
Time: 30 minutes
- Heat oven to 180°C. Mix flour, baking powder, caster sugar, vanilla sugar and butter with fingers until it resembles coarse sand. Add beaten egg. Work dough just enough to roll into a sausage, and put in fridge overnight.
- Slice roll in 1cm thick discs and roll them into small balls. Place them on a baking tray lined with greased alufoil or baking paper.
- Press each ball flat with a fork and brush, sprinkle with almonds or sugar crystals and brush with beaten eggwhite.
- Bake for about 10 minutes. Cool on rack. Store in biscuit tin until needed.
(Almond shortcrust biscuits)
One of my favourite Christmas biscuits which makes tart cases that can be enjoyed on their own with sweet fillings for dessert.
100g almond meal
1 egg, beaten
Utensils: bowl; wooden spoon; spatula, cutting board; vegetable knife, tart moulds
Time: 1 hour
- Crumb flour and butter. Add sugar, almond meal and egg and stir just enough to form a firm dough. Put in fridge to rest.
- When cold, slice dough in 5mm thick discs and press into greased tart moulds dusted with almond meal.
- Bake at 180°C until golden and cool on cake rack.
- Remove from moulds when cold and store in biscuit tin until needed. (Can be served on their own or filled with whipped cream and berries as a sweet.)