Sunday, December 11, 2011

'Tis the season, Cookies, 6

Kitchen Aid with paddle

Here is another true Norwegian cookie I make called Hjortebakkels. I think they may be region specific to Os the area just south of Bergen. They take a whole crew of people to make and are a wonderful family activity during the holidays. This year we did manage to get enough people together to make them. It really is too much work for one person, although it can be done by one. We had four of us this year some years we have had six or more people helping. The cookies look a little like the better-known Fattigmann but Hjortebakkels are more like a donut and do not have powdered sugar on them. Just plain little brown twisted cookies that have that same cardamom bite. I could never figure out why Fattigmann is called Poor Man when it takes so much butter, many eggs, and expensive spices. Maybe the baker is poor after making them!

As a side note, I once offered Hjortebakkels to a young man I didn’t know very well. He wouldn’t even taste it because he thought it was fish (I made the tactical error of telling him they were Norwegian cookies). Go figure….

This recipe is from Maggie Landaas Lorig and may have come originally from her mother, Karen Landaas or even her grandmother, Kristi mor. There were no mixing instructions just a list of ingredients but my mother told me to just mix it up as you would normally do for a cake or cookies, i.e, cream the butter, sugar, eggs and add the dry ingredients so I am providing those instructions with the list. I do make most of my cookies by hand with a wooden spoon and not a mixer but I cannot imagine making these without a heavy-duty mixer with a paddle or dough hook. The dough is just too thick and sticky to work by hand.


6 eggs (at room temperature)
6 Tablespoons butter (at room temperature, softened)
6 Tablespoons cream (in a pinch you can used canned milk)
[it calls for ½ cup Brandy here but since my family does not use alcohol we substitute 1/3 cup orange juice and it seems to work fine]
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
1 teaspoon mace
Enough flour to roll out (5 or 6 cups)


Deep fryer
Plenty of paper towels
Ruffled edged cutter like a pasta cutter
Slotted tool to turn and lift out the cookies from the fryer
Large bowl or pan to put the finished cookies in
Some sort of pastry board for rolling and cutting the dough
A “Gonzo” mixer helps (like a Kitchen Aid with a dough hook or paddle blade)
Sharp paring knife for cutting the slits
Metal spatula for lifting dough off the cutting board

1 Use a heavy-duty mixer to cream the butter, add the sugar and eggs then the cream.
2. When these are well creamed together add some of the flour (I usually put in about 2 cups of flour with the spices and baking powder), then the extra liquid (orange juice or brandy)
3. Gradually add more flour until the dough is very thick (pulls away from the side of the bowl).
4. Put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight. (This will help when rolling it out.)

Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight before rolling

The dough can be quite sticky so you may have to add more flour as you begin to roll out. Warning: the more flour you add the harder the cookie so if you want a soft donut like cookie use less and deal with the stickies.

5. Roll to make a rectangle and choose how thick you want your cookies to be. Thin cookies will be crunchier thick ones will be more donut-like.
6. Cut into roughly diamond shapes by cutting long strips two directions.
7. Cut a slit in the center of the diamond and draw one pointed corner through to make a buckle shape. (You may need to use a metal spatula to get the dough off the cutting surface.)

Roll, cut into strips to make diamond shapes, cut a slit and pull one corner through

Ruffled pasta cutter used to cut the strips of dough

Bee preheating and melting the shortening in the fryer

8. Drop raw cookies carefully into preheated, melted shortening in the fryer.

(I have never tried using cooking oil but I suppose it would work, we always just use Fluffo or Crisco brands of vegetable shortening.)

Oh boy, these are ready to turn! See the slotted utensil used to turn and lift the cookies out of the fryer?

9. Watch the cookies carefully as they cook, turning as soon as you see the brown from the underside edging around the sides. Once they are turned it will not take too long for the other side to cook.

Mrs. Gimlet and Curly cooking and cutting. Chinook are you hoping for a treat to fall on the floor?

10. Lift out and place on paper towels to drain.

Oooh, don’t they look pretty? Yummy

Warning: Makes a TON of cookies but it is never enough for those of us who have acquired the taste for them.

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