Thursday, December 9, 2010

You Can Put Some Rømmegrøt * and Rosettes on Your List


(This rather obscure line was the only one I could think of about Christmas cookies. It’s from “I’ll Be Home for Lefse” by Leroy Larson and the Minnesota Scandinavian Ensemble – get it from the UffDa Shop, where else?)

Fancy cookies like rosettes (pictured above, about which more later) were not a part of my childhood, although I do recall my mother making pinwheel cookies, which always seemed like a lot of work to me. I mostly remember the sugar cookies which were slightly different from the year-round variety and were cut in shapes and iced or sprinkled with colored sugar. sugar cookies

Mama also made year-round a filled cookie with a soft sugar cookie dough; at Christmas time she was apt to fill these with mincemeat. I remember also my grandmother’s soft molasses cookies (and though not a cookie, the popcorn balls she made for the grandchildren each year – she had 27 of them, and since my eldest cousin is, I think, 12 years older than I, several great-grandchildren too. Those popcorn balls were the tastiest I’ve ever had.) One of my aunts used to make and distribute around the family some of the no-bake cookies that featured cereal, coconut or maybe chow mein noodles nobake I bought some at a cookie walk a few weeks ago and was instantly transported back to childhood.

Rosettes are a deep-fried cookie requiring special equipment and made by nearly everyone in Minnesota. I well remember my first sight of them, at a Christmas concert at one of the Lutheran churches in the small town where Onkel Hankie Pants and I lived when I first came to Minnesota. I had seen klejner (the Norwegians call them fattigmand or “beggarmen”)


and brune kager brune kager (these don’t look quite right, my mother-in-law’s were larger and diamond-shaped) the previous Christmas, when my new mother-in-law had sent them to Berlin for our first Christmas. But rosettes don’t travel well. So I was amazed and delighted to see them on the cookie plate at the after-concert reception. Even though it’s been many years, and I’ve even made some myself, these fragile beauties still amaze and delight me.

I love to eat cookies, but I’m not so fond of making them. It seems that once one has prepared the dough, that should be enough – but then there’s the rolling, shaping, dropping, and the multiple cookie sheets, the short baking time…it’s a good thing that Sisterfilms loves baking cookies and will be here soon to take charge. It’s much more fun baking with her than alone. Before then, I might make some cookies to take to my niece’s caroling and cookies birthday party; probably these, which I’ve been making ever since early in our marriage when I had a chilly kitchen and no electric mixer, because they use melted butter and can be stirred by hand. cardamom cookies two

Cardamom Cookies (Kardemomme Kager)

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds or ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup flour
Mix ingredients in order given. Refrigerate dough one hour or more. Roll into balls and flatten down to the size of a fifty-cent piece.
Bake on a greased and floured cookie sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven until lightly browned on the edges. (Not very long! Try six minutes and see how it goes depending on your oven. However, I have overbaked these and as long as they aren’t burnt they will still taste good.) To me, the taste of cardamom is especially Christmasy. The recipe came from a book called Wonderful, Wonderful Danish Cooking by Ingeborg Dahl Jensen.

*Rømmegrøt: is a Norwegian dish which contains no rum. For that you want Rombudding, which I’ve had once. I’ve never tasted Rømmegrøt, which is basically cream – sour or sweet – cooked a long time with a bit of flour. You can find one recipe here, or Google to take your choice. Not for the lactose-intolerant!

1 comment:

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

Your cookies look yummy & beautiful. They could be photos from a cook book!