• 26Oct

    “Sju sorter kakor” – that’s Swedish for “seven kinds of cookies.”  Seven kinds of cookies is a centuries old tradition in Sweden.  Any hostess worth her salt always offers her guests seven kinds of cookies.

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    Now I love to make cookies, but it’s a lot of work to make seven different batches of cookie dough.  Last Christmas when I was in cookie making mode, I noticed how similar all the cookie doughs were for the different cookies I was making.  I wondered if I could make one big batch of dough and turn it into seven different kinds of cookies.  The hardest part was narrowing my list down to just seven!  Once I’d decided on the seven cookies I would do, I mixed up the dough and began the experiment.  I ended up with over 13 dozen delicious cookies. Here ere are the results.

    Basic Cookie Dough

    1 lb butter at room temperature

    1 cup sugar

    2 eggs

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 tsp salt

    5 – 5 1/2 cups flour

    In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla and salt and beat until incorporated.  Slowly add flour until you have a soft dough.  It’s better to have it a little soft, to make it easier to incorporate the additional ingredients.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times until smooth.  Form into a large log 10 1/2″ long.

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    Make a mark along the top every1 1/2″.

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    Cut the dough into seven pieces and set on a lightly floured Silpat or piece of parchment paper.

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    Now it’s time to add additional ingredients to the dough or shape it for seven different kinds of cookies!  As you’re working with the different doughs, you might want to add more flour if you think it’s too soft—but not too much.  The dough will firm up in the fridge.  I labeled my doughs after I wrapped them so I didn’t get confused later.

    1. Raspberry Caves – To one piece of dough add 2 tablespoons fresh orange zest.  This adds additional moisture to the dough, so work in 2 – 3 tablespoons of flour until dough feels smooth.  Form into a ball, press to flatten a bit, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    2. Cranberry Orange Squares – To one piece of dough add 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest, 1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries and 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans.  Hint: Add a tablespoon of flour to the dried cranberries to keep them from sticking to the knife when choppin.  Add additional flour to the dough if necessary.  Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    3. Coconut Walnut Crescents – To one piece of dough add 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup finally chopped coconut.  Form into a ball, press to flatten a bit, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    4. Pistachio Almond Cookies – To one piece of dough add 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    5. Chocolate Mint Thins – Divide one piece of dough in half.  To the first half add 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder.  Once cocoa powder is incorporated, roll dough into a log 6″ long.  To the second half add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and 2 – 3 drops of green food coloring.  Form into a log 6″ long.  Wrap the two logs around each other and roll a bit more until the log is about 8″ long.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    6. Sanded Shortbread Coins – Roll one piece of dough into a log 6″ long.  Roll in 2 tablespoons of sanding or colored sugar.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    7. Lingonberry Logs – Shape the last piece of dough into a ball, flatten slightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    At this point you can start making your cookies or leave the dough(s) in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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    When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  All the cookies will be baked at this temperature.  I use Silpats on my cookie sheets.  If you don’t have Silpats, use parchment paper.

    Raspberry Caves – This is one of my favorite Swedish cookies.  If you want to make a big batch of just these, I’ve blogged about it before.  You can find the recipe here.  Divide the dough into 18 pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and place into a small fluted paper.  Brush the top of each cookie with a little cream.  Sprinkle with pearl sugar.  With the end of a wooden spoon make a hole in each ball.  Put a small amount of seedless raspberry jam in each indentation.  Bake for 15 minutes.

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    Cranberry Orange Squares – Roll the dough into a 7″ x 10 1/2″ rectangle.  Cut into 24 1 3/4″ squares.  Bake for 10 minutes.

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    Coconut Walnut Crescents – Divide dough into 12 pieces.  Roll each piece into a rope about 4″ long that is a bit thicker in the middle than on the ends.  Form into a crescent.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool about 2 minutes and press tops into powdered sugar.

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    Pistachio Almond Cookies – Roll dough 1/4″ thick.  Cut with a 1 3/4″ round cookie cutter.  Press a blanched almond into the top of each cookie.  Bake 10 minutes.  Makes 24.

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    Chocolate Mint Thins – Cut dough into scant 1/4″ slices.  Bake 10 minutes.  Makes 36.

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    Sanded Shortbread Coins – Slice log into 1/4″ slices.  Bake 10 minutes.  Makes 24.

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    Lingonberry Logs – Divide dough in half.  Roll each into a 9″ log. Press a shallow trough down the length of the log.  Fill with lingonberry jam.  Bake 15 minutes.  While cooling, make a glaze from 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and 1 – 2 tablespoons of cream.  After the cookies have cooled for 10 minutes, drizzle with glaze and cut into 1″ pieces on a slight diagonal.  Makes 20.

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    Brew up some strong coffee and enjoy!

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  • 25Oct
    Categories: musings Comments: 2

    In Sweden last summer I learned to make “saft,” a fruit concentrate that you add to water to make a yummy drink.  I made rhubarb saft and currant saft.  Both were delicious.  But now that it’s cranberry season here at home, I decided I should try my hand at making some cranberry saft!

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    It was mighty tasty!

    A few people have asked for the recipe, so here it is.

    Cranberry Saft

    8 cups cranberries

    4 cups sugar

    4 cups water

    Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves.  Add berries and bring to a boil.  Boil 15 minutes.  Pour into a jelly bag and let drain several hours.  Voila!  Saft!

    Add your syrup to still or sparkling water for a refreshing drink.  I find a 1 to 4 ratio of syrup and water suits my taste, but experiment and see what you like.

    This will keep several weeks in your refrigerator.

  • 03Oct
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 1

    What’s not to love about a country that has a designated Cinnamon Bun Day!?!  October 4 is Kanelbullens Dag – Cinnamon Bun Day!  As a Swedish-American, I feel compelled to celebrate my heritage!  ;-)

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    If you want to celebrate your Swedish heritage, or just be a Swede for a day, I thought I’d share my Cinnamon Bun recipe with you.  I make my dough in my bread machine, using the “dough” setting, but you could do it the old-fashioned way.

    Bread dough ingredients

    • 1-1/4 cups milk – room temperature
    • 3/4 cup melted butter
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 2-1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (1 packet)
    • 4 – 4-1/2 cups flour

    Put all these ingredients in your bread machine and set it to the “dough” setting.  Shortly before it’s done, gather/prepare the following ingredients.

    Filling ingredients

    • 1/4 cup melted butter
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    • 1 egg
    • pearl sugar

    When the dough in the bread machine is done, turn it out onto a floured surface, punch it down and knead until smooth and shiny.  Let rest a few minutes.

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    Roll dough into a 12″ x 18″ rectangle.

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    Brush with melted butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the dough.

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    Beginning with the long side of the rectangle, roll up jelly roll style.

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    At this point, it’s time to cut the dough into 20 slices – or something close to that. I use a serrated knife to mark the top of the roll.

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    You can use a sharp knife or use a length of dental floss to do the cutting.  If you use dental floss, slide it under roll, cross the ends and pull to make a clean slice!  (I learned this tip from Bob, who used to watch his grandmother do this using a piece of string!)

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    Swedish cinnamon buns aren’t crowded into a single pan, but baked in baking papers, individually, on a baking sheet.  You can use cupcake papers for this, but they are a little deeper than needed.  You should be able to find baking papers at a kitchen store.

    Place each slice into a baking paper and place on a baking sheet.  Cover and let rise until double—about 45 minutes.

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    Make an egg wash with 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water.  Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar.  Don’t know about pearl sugar?  It’s a coarse, dense sugar available at specialty food/kitchen shops or Ikea!

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    Bake at 425º for 7 – 10 minutes.

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    Enjoy!

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  • 10Sep
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 1

    It all started when our summer neighbor in Sweden, Karin, brought us a bottle of homemade rhubarb saft (pronounced “soft”).

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    Saft is a fruit concentrate that you add to still or sparkling water for a refreshing summer drink.  It’s so delicious, I just had to try making some myself.  And Karin was nice enough to share the recipe.

    You will need:

    4 – 5 pounds rhubarb

    2 lemons

    Boiling water

    5 cups sugar

    2 pinches sodium benzoate

    2 pinches citric acid

    Wash the rhubarb and cut into 1/2″ slices. Place half in a heatproof pan or bowl.

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    Wash the lemons and slice thinly.  Spread over the rhubarb in the pan.

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    Add the rest of the rhubarb.

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    Cover with boiling water.

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    Cover with plastic or a lid and put in a cool place (our cellar worked great) for four days.

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    Strain the fruit through a jelly bag or two layers of cheesecloth.  Let it run about 60 minutes.

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    Add the sugar and boil for 20 minutes.  Let stand for five minutes and skim.

    Add preservatives.  Pour into warm bottles and seal.

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    Pour about 2″ in the bottom of a glass.  Add flat or sparkling water.

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    Perfect on a hot day!

     

  • 22Jul
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 1

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    Much to my delight, I discovered we have several rhubarb plants in our yard here at our Swedish house. My grandmother was the best pie maker, and one of my favorites was her rhubarb custard pie. I couldn’t wait to make one!

    When I posted a photo of this on my Facebook page, several people asked for the recipe, so here it is. I didn’t have a pie plate here, so I used this 10” square pan. And, I didn’t have a rolling pin, so had to adapt a no-roll pie crust recipe I found online. I liked this one because it used both butter and oil.

    Rhubarb Custard Pie

    Crust

    1-1/2 cups flour

    1 tsp salt

    2 tbl sugar

    ¼ cup cold butter, grated

    ¼ cup oil

    2 tbl milk

    Mix dry ingredients. Stir in grated butter to distribute evenly. Add milk and oil. Stir. Dough will be crumbly. Press into bottom and up the sides of a 10” square pan (a 10” pie pan or 9” x 13” pan would work, too). Chill while preparing filling.

    Rhubarb Filling

    3-1/3 cups rhubarb

    1-1/3 cups sugar

    2-1/2 tlb flour

    ½ tsp salt

    4 egg yolks

    1-1/3 cup heavy cream

    Cut rhubarb into small pieces and spread over crust. Whisk remaining ingredients. Pour over rhubarb. Bake at 350 degrees 50 – 60 minutes, until custard is set. About 5 minutes before pie is done baking, prepare meringue.

    Meringue

    4 egg whites

    ¼ tsp cream of tartar

    ¼ cup sugar

    Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over top of pie, all the way to the edges. Make peaks with the back of a spoon or edge of a spatula. Return to oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.

    You can serve this warm or cold. Refrigerate after a few hours.

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  • 18Dec
    Categories: musings Comments: 0

    Here’s another favorite from Bob’s side of the family.  His mom made them every Christmas.  They have a brown sugar dough and a filling of dates and walnuts.  Yum!

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    Date Pinwheels

    Ingredients for Cookies:

    4 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    4 sticks butter
    2 cups brown sugar
    3 eggs, beaten

    Ingredients for Filling:

    2-1/4 cups chopped dates
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup finely chopped walnuts
    1 cup water

    Put first three ingredients in a bowl.  Stir with a whisk to combine.

    In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and brown sugar about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and mix until well blended.

    Add the dry ingredients in three or four parts to butter mixture.  Mix until a nice ball comes together.

    Divide the dough into three equal balls.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

    While dough is chilling, prepare filling by combining dates, sugar, walnuts and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.

    On a lightly floured board, roll out one ball of cookie doing into a 12″ x 8″ rectangle.

    Spread a third of the date filling evenly on the dough.

    Beginning with the long side, roll the dough up jelly roll style.

    Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Repeat with the other two balls of dough.

    With a sharp, thin knife, slice rolls into 1/4″ thick slices.

    Place 1″ apart on a cookie sheet.

    Bake at 375 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes.

    Yield – 144 delicious cookies!

  • 12Dec

    Today we leave Sweden and travel to Scotland for out latest cookie — Scottish Shortbread.

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    While not Swedish, they are a perfect, buttery cookie to go along with our others.  And, besides, they’re a tradition in Bob’s family.  This is his Scottish grandmother’s recipe and has been passed down through his dad.  And, now, I’m happy to say, his boys are sharing it with their kids, too!

    This simple cookie has only three ingredients — butter, sugar and flour!  The final product can take on many shapes, but this year, we did “coins.”  Start by dividing the dough into fourths and rolling out a log 1-1/2″ to 2″ in diameter.

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    We like to roll these in colored sugar.

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    Just sprinkle some on a piece of waxed paper…

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    …and roll!

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    You can use lots of different colors.

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    Roll each log up in waxed paper and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.  Then, slice them with a sharp knife into little coins.

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    Bake until they just start to brown.  I overcooked some of mine.  ;-(

    But, we still plan to eat them!

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    Scottish Shortbread

    Ingredients:
    4 sticks butter
    1 cup sugar
    4 cups flour

    In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar about 2 minutes.

    Add flour in three or four parts to butter mixture.  Mix until a nice ball comes together.

    Knead lightly and divide into four pieces.  Roll each piece into a log approximately 1-1/2″ to 2″ in diameter.

    Roll in colored sugar, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate two hours or overnight.

    Slice into “coins” and bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.

    Yields 100 cookies.

  • 10Dec
    Categories: musings Comments: 0

    It’s Day Two of Seven Kinds of Cookies–the traditional number of cookies served with coffee in Sweden.  So, what’s more appropriate than Swedish Spritz.

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    These cookies require a special press or gun.

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    I got mine in 1974!  Can you tell by the avocado green and big daisy?

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    It’s a basic, shortbread dough that’s pressed through the gun onto your cookie sheet.  BIG TIP!  Sometimes they don’t want to stick to the cookie sheet.  The best way to improve this is to refrigerate you cookie sheets!  Then, it will work like a dream.

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    Sprinkle your cookies with colored sugar and bake.

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    That’s all there is to it.  Enjoy!

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    Swedish Spritz

    Ingredients:
    4 sticks butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
    2 eggs
    4-1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp salt

    In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar about 2 minutes.  Add the extract and eggs.  Mix until well blended.

    In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt.  Whisk together to mix, then add in three or four parts to butter mixture.  Mix until a nice ball comes together.

    Fill your cookie press and press out onto a chilled cookie sheet.

    Sprinkle with colored sugar.

    Bake 6-8 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

    Enjoy!

    Yield–a lot!

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  • 09Dec
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 4

    It is the tradition in Sweden that you offer your guests seven kinds of cookies when you have them over for coffee.  Now that Christmas is coming, cookie baking is in full swing for me, so I thought I would share my seven favorite cookie recipes with you.  First is Hallongrotor – Raspberry Caves.  This is the first year I have made them, and they are my new favorite!

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    Once you make the dough, which has fresh orange rind in it, you roll them into little balls and put them into lined mini-muffin tins.

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    You need to make a “cave” for the jam.  You could use your finger, but I found the end of this scoop worked great for me.

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    Then it’s time to add a bit of jam.  Raspberry is traditional, but I suppose you could use whatever you like.  Before you put the jam in, brush the tops with a bit of water.  Then, add the jam and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

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    I used to bring pearl sugar home from Sweden with me, but now you can find it at Ikea!

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    The jam bubbles up a bit during baking.

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    Enjoy!

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    Hallongrottor – Raspberry Caves

    Ingredients:
    2 sticks butter
    1 cup sugar
    zest of 1 orange
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
    2-1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    Pearl sugar
    3/4 cup raspberry jam

    In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar about 2 minutes.  Add orange zest, vanilla, egg and yolk.  Mix until well blended.

    In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together to mix, then add in three or four parts to butter mixture.  Mix until a nice ball comes together.

    Using you hands, shape pieces of dough into balls, about the size of a walnut, and place in lined mini-muffin tins.

    Make an “cave” in the top with your finger or the end of a kitchen utensil, like the scoop I used.

    Brush the top of the cookies with a little water.  I did one pan at a time.

    Fill caves with raspberry jam and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

    Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Yield 48