(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.
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 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 (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 (Kardemomme Kager)
*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!