A plate of Norwegian cookies: krumkaker, kokosmakroner, brune pinner, and vepsebol. Still no snow, but the house is full of family, which is great. The family WhatsApp chat has snaps of negative tests, so far all so good. We are all trying to eat more clementines and less cookies, but there is still a respectable selection. This is the krumkake recipe used this year, a classic from Tine (dairy co-op). Translation below. You will need a krumkake iron, usually electric. Last year I made regular, gluten-free, and vegan krumkaker but these are easier to make. After a walk in the woods, with sun and -9C, a cup of coffee and a cookie feels well deserved.
Krumkaker 2021 4 eggs 250 g sugar 250 g melted butter, a little cooled 250 g plain wheat flour ½ tsp cardamom, ground
Whisk eggs and sugar light and airy. Beat in butter, flour and cardamom. Rest half an hour. Add a little water if batter is too thick. Cook in krumkake iron, about a tablespoon of batter, and roll quickly on a small cone when golden before they cool. They should be thin and very crispy. Store air tight.
We are due to head to London next to see family, but are waiting to see if there are new restrictions announced for the UK tomorrow. If so, we may rebook flights. Best to be careful. It feels pretty safe here deep in the countryside, and so nice be home. I remember what it was like a year ago, with lockdown Christmas in Rome, which was good too but much quieter.
Kokosmakroner (coconut macaroons) are one of the classic Norwegian Christmas cookies. I often make them with whole eggs, but this batch was with eggwhites only, and a new method of heating the cookie dough before baking. Interesting. My mother and I also made more brune pinner today, and vepsebol (wasp nests, eggwhite, almonds and grated chocolate), which are a recent family favourite. The cake boxes are filling up nicely. Good to get most of the baking done before the rest of the family arrive. I had a nice walk in the woods, skirting around icy patches on the path, marveling over how quiet it is here!
Kokosmakroner (coconut macaroons with eggwhites – makes a tray)
150 gr eggwhites
250 gr flaked coconut
250 gr white granulated sugar
After heating: 1 tbs potato flour
No whisking: Mix eggwhites, coconut and sugar well in a saucepan and heat gently while stirring, for about 5- 6 minutes. This is mean to give a chewier cookie. The consistency should be like rice porridge. The dough did get a little stretchier while warming up. Keep stirring, the eggwhite should not cook. Once it is warmed through, take off heat and stir in potato flour. Drop dough in mounds in parchment-lined baking sheet. The cookie should hold its shape when dropped on cookie sheet with teaspoons. Bake 12 minutes or so in preheated oven at 180 C, in the middle of the oven, until they are lightly golden on top but not too dry. Store in air-tight box, keeps for ages.
We made it back to Norway for Christmas! We tested before the flights (voluntarily) and had rapid antigen tests on arrival at Oslo. (See details below). There are restrictions here to limit social interactions, and a ban on serving alcohol, but no lockdown at present, and we are very happy to be here with family. We are following the news closely in case of more flight restrictions, as our tickets may need to be changed at short notice. For now we are deep in Norwegian countryside, with minimal mingling. There is not much snow, but the days are crisp and sunny, so still lovely for walks.
Time to bake! Today, brune pinner, “brown sticks”. Every year my sister and I tweak the recipe to see if we can get closer to what we remember: a dark, crispy cookie with a hint of caramel and a lot of cinnamon. Last year I doubled the treacle, which helped the flavour but made the first batch a little soft. This year my mother tried a new variation with more spices, a clear winner so far.
200 gr soft butter
200 gr white sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tbs treacle or dark syrup
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
300 gr white flour
1/2 tsp salt
To top: 1 beaten egg for eggwash, plus pearl sugar
Chill the dough for at least a couple hours before baking. Divide the dough into four sausages, and press them out medium thinly with your fingers on a baking tray with baking parchment. Too thin, and they are hard to handle, but too thick and they will not be crisp. Brush a stripe of beaten egg down the middle, and sprinkle with pearl sugar (or a mix of pearl sugar, chopped almonds, and coconut). Heat oven to 180C.
Bake 8-10 minutes at 180C until baked but not burnt. Keep an eye on them, and see what works for you.our oven. As soon as they come out, slice each length diagonally with a sharp knife to make individual cookies, and leave to cool before breaking apart. Best to taste-check the ends at once just in case 🙂 as the house will now smell amazing. Store in an airtight box.
In two days it is the winter solstice. We are in southern Norway and have sunrise at 0912, the days are noticeable shorter than in Rome. The paths in the woods are not too icy, so it is nice to go out and we hardly meet anyone. Good to get out of the house between all the winter sports being followed (biathlon, downhill, cross country, ski jumping, football…..). In a few hours Norway plays France in the IHF Women’s World Championship finale, which is meant to be quite exciting.
Happy countdown to the holidays to all!
Travelling to Norway for the holidays soon? Some practical tips, based on my experiences:
The mandatory travel registration before arrival to Norway can be done in several languages, and you get an SMS back with the reference code. They ask for name, date, destination, and whether you have the vaccination certificate. The check-in staff at FCO were not sure about my registration SMS in Norwegian, but as my husband had done his registration in English they were fine once they saw the same message on his phone in English. Next time I would do it in English.
The police checked for the mandatory travel registration code as soon as we entered the terminal. There is a link in the SMS message they ask you to click on, that shows a QR code that they scanned. It was all very quick and efficient. I then had another SMS saying my arrival was registered, which my English husband did not seem to get. Not sure why.
The tax free was open, but I did not see any Smash this time either (a delicious chocolate snack). Masks mandatory at airport.
Make sure your phone is well charged as test registration and results are all with QR codes and it may not be easy to charge while shuffling through lines. Or bring a small battery pack.
There is free wifi at OSL.
If you have several bags it might be good to get a luggage trolley. I wish I had taken one.
After collecting luggage and exiting customs we were sent two flights up to the test area in the departures hall. There is a lift and an escalator.
Registration for COVID testing is done while in the line by scanning a QR code and entering your details (name, phone, passport or ID number). Once you reach testing area you show your QR code and they give you two stickers, one for doctor and one to get test result.
We arrived in the afternoon and had an hour in line to wait, with OK distancing, then the test, then 20-25 minutes to wait for the results.
After being tested we waited (there were chairs) and received an SMS saying test results were ready. We used link in SMS and sample ID on the test receipt to see the result, I also saved it to my phone.
Rapid antigen tests on arrival at OSL were free. They handed out free water.
We were out about 90 minutes after landing. Not bad.
There is a test facility at OSL airport to test before departure from Norway, if you need that (we will). No booking, just be there four hours before. Private service, you pay.