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!