Showing posts with label Norwegian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Norwegian. Show all posts

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Shortbread Cookies - Norwegian Morkaker

I don't know about you, but I greatly enjoy meeting people who have different food traditions than mine. You get to know a lot about people (do you eat from a common pot or tray ~as some African nations, or is everything in separate bowls~as in some Asian nations). Food and eating is a common denominator for all peoples. Forget stuffy boardrooms and press conferences. Let's have world peace kitchens.  Come in, by my side, let's share, exchange food and traditions, and talk.

Sweeti-Pi's sister's beloved Lloyd is Norwegian and I savor every word as he speaks of his childhood and the foods he remembers and loves.  Lloyd nearly waxes poetic as he speaks of his mother's fish recipes (herring and salmon in particular it seems), but fish is something I try once every couple of years, just to confirm, yep, still don't like it. 

So, that leaves me with baked goodies, a task I undertake with delight for Lloyd. I saw this simple recipe on and could not resist its simplicity.   I can assure you with great enthusiasm, I loved these cookies.  Methinks these are a cousin to the snickerdoodle, not so much cinnamon and sugar, but lots of gorgeous butter,  tender, slightly crispy.  This cookie is going to be year 'round favorite with me for its ease of preparation, simple pantry ingredients, and delicious flavor.

Alas, I cannot say how the cookies went over with Lloyd.  I can attest that his and Susan's three naughty cats liked them, as the box I packaged them in was gnawed on and broken into...apparently the aroma was irresistible to them...

The dough requires a couple hours of refrigerator time, so you might want to start these earlier in the day and putter about until you're ready to bake.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, no substitutes (!)
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour

cinnamon-sugar mixture (roughly 1/4 cup sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon)

In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar until white and creamy, about 6 minutes.  Add the flour gradually until well blended. 

Chill the dough in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes.  Remove the dough and place on waxed paper and form a 2-inch roll.  Place back in the refrigerator to complete cooling (about two hours).

Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on all sides of the outside of the cookie roll.  Cut into slices and place on cookie sheets. Bake at 387*F for 10 minutes.  Cool cookies completely before placing in airtight tin.

**MY NOTES:  I took a shortcut with this recipe that seemed to work pretty well.  After mixing all the ingredients, the dough is crumbly, but will form a mass if gently squeezed.  I ripped off a two foot or so piece of waxed paper and squeezed the dough into a rough cylinder, and then rolled the dough in the wax paper, shaping further as I rolled it.  I cut off any excess waxed paper, tucking ends up to form a neat cylinder and then just popped in the refrigerator for two hours.  No need to handle the dough twice.

The cinnamon adhered well to the dough roll, but the sugar wasn't quite so cooperative.  I spread a line of cinnamon sugar mix on the waxed paper and gently, but firmly rolled my cylinder of dough back and forth through it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Julekake ~ Norwegian Christmas Bread

Sweetie-Pi's sister Susan is dating a man of Norwegian heritage.  Lloyd is a gentleman of courtly old world manners and demeanor, and when I say he is one of the sweetest men whom I have ever met, I do not exaggerate.  He is gracious and soft-spoken and a pure delight. When he smiles, his blue eyes sparkles and you can feel his heartlight beaming bright.   So when we were invited to their house for Christmas for an overnight stay, I wanted to do something a little special with him in mind. 

I am not familiar with Norwegian cooking and I do not have any friends who are either, so I had to rely on the internet.  As I often do, I turn to where recipe reviewers rate the recipe and often add a personal note of an ethnic recipe's authenticity.  A couple of reviewers said this recipe was much like the one in their own family archives, so I was encouraged and heartened to try.

My, my, my is this good.  Cardamon was an unknown spice to me (mainly because it can be expensive and it is not used in the typical recipes I make and I didn't want to invest in a spice that I was unsure I'd enjoy), but now I am addicted to it.  It is fragrant (almost flowery, but not) and sweet (unlike cumin or turmeric which I consider to be savory and hot).  The bread has a nice sweetness to it, but is not cloying.

You can see from this picture that this is not a tall loaf, and that initially troubled me, but once I stopped to consider that these loaves are made in a cake pan, I realized that they should be above even with the tops of the cake pan when fully baked.  Also, the directions say to allow the bread to double, approximately one hour, at both rises.  On the second rise, the bread had not doubled at the end of one hour, and I actually let it rise for two hours.  It still didn't really double, but I put it in the oven, and it finished rising as it baked.  I think the added weight of the fruit slowed the rising.

And what did Lloyd think.  Well, he took a slice and ate it.  Asked for a second slice and ate that.  He took a third slice.  "Reminds me of my mother," he said. 

Jukekake ~ Norwegian Christmas Bread
(found at Allrecipes.Com)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110-115*Fahrenheit)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup raisins (I use dried currants)
1/2 cup diced citron or mixed candied fruit

Grease two 9-inch cake pans and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Add the sugar, egg, butter salt, and cardamon and 2 cups of flour.  Mix well.  Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough.  Add the raisins (currants) and the citron.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; divide in half.  Shape each portion into a flattened ball and place one ball in each of two greased 9-inch round baking pans.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Bake at 350*F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pans to finish cooling on wire racks.