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:
2tblsp unsalted butter
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered cloves
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
Utensils: saucepan; wooden spoon; rolling pin; spatula; baking sheet; Christmas cookie cutters; baking rack
Time: 45 minutes
- 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.
- 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.
- The next day, heat oven to 175°C and ready a baking sheet with baking paper or greased aluminium foil.
- 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.
- Place the biscuits on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until crisp.
- Remove biscuits and let them cool off on a baking rack.
- Decorate the biscuits with white icing if desired 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
50g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla sugar
300g desiccated coconut
½ tsp baking powder
Utensils: kitchen scales; bowl; electric whisk; wooden stirring spoon; two teaspoons; baking sheet; cake rack. Time: Ca 2 hours
- Heat oven to 200°C. Melt butter and set aside to cool down.
- Whisk egg with sugar and vanilla sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Fold in coconut, flour, baking powder and melted butter.
- 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 10 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.)