Christmas is less than two weeks away! With Thanksgiving falling early in the calender this year, it seemed like we had an extended time in which to savor all the wonderful things about the holiday season. But, at least for me, the weeks have gone by so rapidly that I’m amazed that it’s already mid-December. If you, like me, are still looking for the perfect gift for friends and family, don’t worry–we have more ideas to share with you soon! In the meantime, here’s a roundup of some great DIY edible Christmas gifts from our archive. Enjoy!
One of the things I love most about my Norwegian heritage is the appreciation of simple yet delicious baked goods. From the cakes and cookies to the tortes and candies, Norwegians know how to take a few simple ingredients–butter, sugar, flour, and eggs, for example–and transform them into something spectacular and beautiful.
This year I’ve been observing the tradition of the syv slags kaker, or seven sorts of cookies, that are a must in a Norwegian household during Christmastime. I started tracking my progress over at Outside Oslo on November 1, and so far I’ve discovered a new favorite: serinakaker, pictured above. These cookies are at once crisp yet delicate, with an elegant sprinkling of chopped almonds and pearl sugar on top. It takes a lot for a cookie to make me sit up and take notice, but these do exactly that.
Another favorite type? Sandbakkelse.
These pretty and delicate little cookies are formed one by one in molds, and are perfect to make with loved ones as you sit around the table catching up and talking about life. They are a specialty of my Grandma Adeline, who has been teaching my mom and me to make them. While you could certainly fill them with some sweetened whipped cream and lingongberry preserves, many Norwegian families–including my own–prefer to eat them as cookies rather than tarts.
Last week we baked krumkaker together, and I have a batch of pepperkaker dough chilling in my refrigerator now. I’m starting to feel the clock ticking, though, as I still have three more sorts to make! If you happen to have a traditional syv slags recipe that you enjoy making, let me know–I’d love to hear from you! Or if the tradition is new to you and you’re interested in learning more, I’d be delighted if you’d follow Outside Oslo, where I’ll be writing much more about these cookies in the coming weeks!
How are you doing on your Christmas shopping? To be honest, I haven’t even started. I do know what I’m giving some people, but I haven’t actually done anything about it yet. With some pretty major deadlines on my calendar for November and December, and all the Christmas baking I’ve been doing, there hasn’t been a lot of time. I consider it my duty, however, to give you some great ideas for Christmas gift-giving this year, however, and I have a new idea for you today: Homemade Graham Crackers!
I came across this recipe while looking through a copy of Catherine McCord’s new cookbook, Weelicious, and decided to whip up a batch for my son. It turns out that these cookies are delicious and contain the perfect balance of crispness and softness–just like a graham cracker from a box. Even better, they can be made in any shape you like, and you know exactly what goes into them. These would make a great gift for the coworker who always brings homemade treats to work and obviously loves to bake, or perhaps for the other mothers in your playgroup. Wrap them up in a pretty cookie tin with a copy of the recipe, and you’ll be good to go! Get the recipe!
Photo originally from Outside Oslo