Syv sorter: Seven kinds of Scandinavian Christmas cookies

How we start the Christmas season: with butter and friends!

For the third year in a row, we have made Scandinavian Christmas cookies on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year we had 14 helpers in the kitchen (and dining room): a mix of BYU students & instructors, neighbors, friends and family. We used the finest European butter we could find because the water content is lower. Among others, we used Plugra, Kerrygold, and Land O Lakes European style (in the black box).


From top left going clock-wise: krumkaker (with whipped cream and raspberries), pepperkaker, sandbakkelse with raspberry jam and cream, peppernøtter, sirupsnipper, LoriAnne’s fattigman bakkelse, berlinerkranser. Not shown: vafler.

The favorites were peppernøtter and krumkaker. We found that you can substitute a gluten-free flour for the regular flour in the krumkaker and they are just as nice and crumbly. We technically made 8 kinds; the lemony gluten-free waffles were a bonus. You can download the pdf file of the Norwegian cookie recipes 2015.

Seven Kinds of Norwegian Christmas Cookies
Julekaker: syv sorter


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and almond extracts and stir until combined. Add flour and salt and mix until incorporated and the dough comes together. Gather the dough together, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC) partway through the shaping process.

To start, pinch off a little dough and roll into a ball about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Place into the center of the mold, using your thumbs to flatten the dough into the mold. Rotating the mold as you go, work the dough out from the center of the mold and up the sides. You’ll want the dough on the bottom to be as thin as it can be while still holding up when baked.

As you work, take special care at the ridge where the bottom connects to the side. Dough tends to collect here, and it’s easy to let this part be too thick. Delicately continue to work the dough from this ring up the sides.
Using your hand, scrape off the excess dough from the top of the mold, and set aside while you form the rest of the cookies.

When it’s time to bake, arrange the sandbakkels on a cookie sheet (if you’re using different shapes of tins, try to keep the like tins together in a batch so they cook evenly) and place in a preheated oven.

Watch closely as the cookies bake, as they quickly go from done to overdone. When they’re just starting to take on a slightly golden hue, remove from the oven and take the molds off the cookie sheet to cool.
Allow the cookies to cool for a while, and then carefully remove from the tins. This is done by inverting the molds onto your work surface and giving a little tap. The cookies should pop right out.

Bake until cookies just start to take on a slight golden hue, then remove the tins from the cookie sheet and allow to cool. To remove cookies from tins, invert the molds and tap them on your work surface. The cookies should pop out easily.   Yield: About 5 dozen cookies, depending on size of tins.

Source: Outside-Oslo blog by Daytona Strong



4 eggs
1 ½ cups flour (can substitute gluten-free flour blend)
1 cup sugar
½ cup melted butter (1 stick, 4 oz, 113g)
2 Tbs corn starch
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ Tbs ground cardamom

Beat eggs and sugar until light yellow. Add cold melted butter, vanilla and cardamom. Sift flour and corn starch and add to egg mixture. Batter will have a  very soft dough-like consistency.  Use a spoon to place 1 inch balls on the griddle.

Use the wooden conical tool to roll them into cone shaped while fresh off the griddle. Cool on a rack. Fill with whipped cream and jam such as cloudberry, raspberry, etc. Note: can also be made gluten-free.

Source: Bethany Housewares “Krumkake Baker” instruction manual


Berlin Wreaths – “Berlinerkranser”

2 boiled egg yolks
2 egg yolks, keep the egg whites
½ cup (120 g) sugar
3 ½ cups (350 g) white flour
1 cup (250 g) butter, unsalted

2 egg whites
Pearl sugar (or coarse white sugar)

Start by boiling the 2 eggs for 8 -10 minutes.
Mix the boiled and raw egg yolks to a smooth paste. Add sugar, and whip till it is white and light bubbly. Mix flour and butter.

Add small amounts of the flour/butter mix to the egg mix, don’t use too much force otherwise you’ll loose the elasticity. If this dough seems a bit dry, try adding a little water to soften it.

Cool in the fridge for 60 min. You should now be ready to roll out the dough into 1 cm thick and 10/14cm long rolls, which gives you either single or double wreaths.

Brush with egg white, and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake in oven for 10min till golden, at 190-210˚C (400F)


Peppernøtter (Norwegian peppernuts)

“A wonderful old-fashioned from the family of Kaptein Sverre Hock of the Bergen Line, who ran a fine and most abundant table on his ship.” Source: Classic Scandinavian Cooking by Nika Hazelton, 1965 & 1987

⅓ cup butter
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
4 eggs
4-5 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs lemon rind
¼ cup candied orange peel
½ cup candied lemon peel
½ cup candied citron
4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
¾ black pepper
1 tsp anise seed
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ tsp almond extract

Cream butter and gradually add 2 ½ cups powdered sugar. Beat in eggs and blend thoroughly. Stir in 3 Tbs lemon juice, lemon rind, orange and lemon peels, and citron. Sift flour with remaining ingredients except almond extract. Add to fruit mixture and stir in extract. Blend thoroughly. Shape 1-inch balls and place on greed and floured cookie sheets (or use parchment paper). Chill overnight.

Set oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Bake pepper nuts about 15 minutes or until browned. While still warm, brush with a lemon glaze: mix 1-2T lemon juice into 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and stir stir to spreading consistency.



⅔ c (5.25 oz or 150g) dark inverted sugar syrup
⅔ c  cup white sugar
⅔ c (1.5 dl) cup heavy cream
1 stick (½ c or100g) butter
1 egg, yolk and white divided
2 (450g) cups flour
½ tsp finely ground black pepper
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp ground anise
¼ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp baking soda
3.5 oz (100g) sliced blanched almonds

Melt the syrup, sugar and cream together in a medium pot over medium-low heat.  Add butter to the mixture and stir until butter in melted. Cool this mixture until it is lukewarm (about 100ºF)  and then add egg yolk.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and mix thoroughly. Knead lightly on a floured surface. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Roll the dough out thinly (using minimal additional flour) and cut into diamond shapes, add blanched almond half to each, brush with lightly whipped egg white, and transfer to lined baking sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, store airtight and cool.

See also:

*Swedish dark syrup can be found by searching online, or a substitute can be made by mixing 2 parts dark Karo corn syrup with 1 part molasses.


Svenske pepperkaker

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark inverted sugar syrup*
¾ cup water
1 c plus 4Tbs (10 oz or 300g) butter
2 Tbs cinnamon
2 Tbs ginger
2 Tbs cloves
1 Tbs baking soda
8 cups (1kg) flour

Heat the brown sugar, white sugar, syrup and water in a pot. Add the butter and let it melt. Stir and let cool slightly, then blend in the spices and baking soda. Mix in the flour to a smooth consistency. Sprinkle a little flour on top and refrigerate several hours to overnight.

Knead the dough smooth, adding more flour if needed. Roll out to about 2-3mm, cut out with cookie cutters, bake at 350ºF/180ºC for 8-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet a few minutes, transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Decorations can be added with a stiff frosting such as royal icing.


*Swedish dark syrup can be found by searching online, or a substitute can be made by mixing 2 parts dark Karo corn syrup with 1 part molasses.


Sprø vafler (gluten-free)

4 eggs
1 1/8 cups (250 g) sugar
1 1/8 cups (250 g) butter, melted and cooled
2 3/4 cups (500 g) potato starch*
3 tsp baking powder
lemon zest (optional)

Beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy, add the butter. Mix in the starch, baking powder and zest (if using); dough will be firm. It says to drop them by a heaping tablespoon onto the waffle iron, although I think it might take up to ¼ cup per batch. These get a little crispy when cooled. Great with raspberry jam.

*Bob’s Red Mill makes one, also check the gluten-free or the Israeli foods section of a good grocery store. Different from a straight potato flour.

4 thoughts on “Syv sorter: Seven kinds of Scandinavian Christmas cookies

  1. Pingback: Syv sorter 2016: Seven kinds of Scandinavian Christmas butter cookies | Thirty Marens Agree

  2. Pingback: Sju slags / syv sorter 2017 | Thirty Marens Agree

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