Posts

Showing posts from December, 2008

Christmas gingerbread sandwich cookies

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Mömmukökur (Mama's Cookies)

My mother only makes these gingerbread cookies before Christmas, but they are excellent at any time of the year. When I was little, I really thought it was my mother's own recipe.

Different people have different ways of making Mömmukökur. My mother makes them very thin and bakes them until they are dark brown and crisp. Others make light brown, thicker cookies that soften quickly once the icing is on. Mother allows them to stand until completely cooled, before putting in tins for storage. This is to ensure that they will stay crisp. Then, just before Christmas - usually on Þorláksmessa (December 23rd) - the four of us (my parents, brother and I) sit down together and make cookie sandwiches, sticking the cookies together two by two with vanilla butter icing.

125 g butter/margarine
250 g golden syrup
125 g sugar
1 egg
500 g flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 portion butter icing

Melt together the butter, sugar and golden syr…

Sarah Bernhardt cookies - Sörur

Image
Like several other great artists, most famously the ballerina Pavlova and opera singer Nellie Melba, actress Sarah Bernhardt had some sweet desserts named after her. There is a Sarah Bernhardt cake, and then there are these delicious confections called Sarah Bernhardt cookies, invented by a Danish pastry chef who wanted to honour the actress.
These cookies, which we usually just call "Sarahs", are a great favourite of mine, and I try to make some every year for Christmas.



Note:
I have updated the recipe. The original has one thing wrong with it, which is that the buttercream icing has a tendency to separate when made like the recipe tells you to. I found more precise instructions on how to make this kind of icing in my trusty cooking encyclopedia, and have added them into the original recipe (in closed brackets) for those interested. The downside to the new version is that it does not yield enough icing for all the macaroons (at least if you like to use as much as I do). A lit…

Spicy gingersnaps - Piparkökur

Image
The Icelandic term for gingersnaps and gingerbread cookies literally means “pepper cookies”.
These unusual gingerbread refrigerator cookies not only contain pepper, but also paprika. My mother modified the recipe from one she found in an old recipe booklet.

500 g flour
500 g brown sugar
250 g butter
2 eggs
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp powdered cloves
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

Mix together the dry ingredients. Add soft butter and eggs and knead until smooth. Cool in the refrigerator overnight. Roll out into sausage shapes of even thickness, pinch or cut off small portions and make little balls out of the dough. Put on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper and press your palm on top of each ball to flatten slightly. Bake at 200°C until browned.

Update: I made a batch on Saturday. These are very good gingersnaps. Instead of making balls and flattening them with my hand on the cookie sheet, I cut the dough rolls into thin slices (abo…

Cinnamon 'snails' (Kanilsnúðar) & Jewish Cookies (Gyðingakökur)

An anonymous commenter requested a recipe for Cinnamon 'snails', so here it is. This first recipe is the way my grandmother makes them. The second recipe is included for those who can not get their hands on hartshorn (baker's ammonia).

This is originally a recipe for Jewish Cookies, which are a Christmas staple in many Icelandic homes. I have included instructions for both cookies and 'snails'.

According to Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir, author of the Icelandic food encyclopedia Matarást,  Jewish cookies got the name because they were originally made and sold by Jews, who presumably had a different name for them. It's a bit ironic that they should have become associated with Christmas in Iceland.

Cinnamon 'snails'/Jewish Cookies

175 g flour
100 g butter or margarine
1/2 tsp hartshorn powder (baker's ammonia) – see Note
60 g sugar
1 egg
1 tbs sugar

For cookies:
10 almonds

For 'snails':
Sugar and cinnamon, mixed together, approx 4 parts sugar to 1 pa…

Rice Pudding - Hrísgrjónagrautur

Image
This lovely pudding is served for lunch at my parents' house almost every Saturday, and we all love it. This is a cheap, nourishing, tasty meal, which I make much too seldom in my own home.
At Christmas, we have a small serving of rice pudding before the main meal of hangikjöt. According to tradition, my mother hides a peeled almond in the pudding and we each choose one bowl. The person who finds the almond (usually my brother) gets a small gift, typically some chocolate.

1/2 litre water
200 gr. rice (do not use quick-cook or instant)
1 1/2 litre whole milk
1 tsp salt

Cook the rice in the water until it's almost completely absorbed. Add the milk and lower the heat to simmer. Continue cooking until the rice is tender (the whole process takes about an hour). Add salt and serve with cinnamon sugar.

- cook a handful of raisins with the rice for a few minutes before serving, for an authentic, old-fashioned "rúsínugrautur" (raisin pudding).

- The pudding is usua…