Tag Archives: Norwegian

Kokosmakroner and Christmas in Norway

julekrans Yes, we had a Norwegian Christmas! Almost everyone in the family had been sick or was getting sick with coughs and colds, so I was lucky not to get ill until the very end. I have just been ill ever since (cold, bad cold, bronchitis, then really bad bronchitis) with too much travelling (Accra-Norway-Accra-Rome-Accra) so finally I can catch up a bit. Norway was lovely: hardly any snow over the holidays, but lots of family and Christmas spirit. Back to the family farm to stay with my parents, which is no longer something I take for granted. We are all getting older, but they are still in good shape, fortunately. My mother has been fighting breast cancer again, but this time it seems to have gone better.

pyntet juletre

We decorated the tree with old tinsel, Norwegian flags and familiar old ornaments from all over the world (I can see a German wooden house and a star from Kampala there), and enjoyed the peace before the youngest generation arrived. Of course, the julenek had to be put up for the birds (a sheaf of oats for Christmas), despite the lack of snow.

julenek We waited for the hurricane Urd to hit the west coast, but hardly noticed it in the east. We ate clementines, walked in the woods, made Norwegian paper stars and just enjoyed being home with parents, siblings and their spouses, and the increasing horde of nieces and nephews, who are all very sweet. It was great. The ten days went so quickly!

Norwegian paper starAnd we baked. Traditionally there should be seven kinds of cookies for Christmas, if you are Norwegian. But we eat less cookies now (not the grandchildren, they hoover down any cookies around), and had plenty of cake, but some cookie making must be done. As my father is diabetic and, we made almond macaroons for him with artificial sweeter (not bad), and coconut macaroons for the rest of us, along with some other varieties This is from “Kaker som smaker”, a classic baking book, and as you see, the recipe can vary quite a bit. Egg whites only, or whole eggs; potato flour or wheat flour, or no flour. Butter? I never used butter in mine. But maybe it works?


Kokosmakroner (coconut macaroons with whole eggs)

3 eggs
200 ml white granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
5 tbs all-purpose wheat flour
600 ml flaked coconut

Whisk eggs and sugar light and airy, quite stiff. Sift in flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar (the latter is Norwegian, can be skipped or maybe add a very small splash of vanilla extract). Stir in the flaked coconut carefully, you do not want to lose the air whisked in. We had large fresh eggs from our neighbour’s farm,  so I added more coconut than the recipe specified as as the cookie batter was very runny. You might want to do a test cookie as well, the cookie should hold its shape when dropped on cookie sheet with teaspoons. With smaller eggs or drier coconut, you might need less. Bake 10-12 minutes at 180 C, in the middle of the oven, until they are lightly golden but not too dry. Store in air-tight box, keeps for ages.  If you have any left after the holidays, old kokosmakroner are nice in apple crumble too.

kokosmakronerYes, Santa came and left gifts…….. and the rice porridge left in the barn for him was eaten up.

julenisse fotspor



Riskrem for Christmas Eve

IMG_4404Being Norwegian, it would not be Christmas Eve without rice porridge for lunch. Cooked with milk, and served with cinnamon, sugar and an eye of butter, it is essential. Usually there is a blanched almond hidden in here, and whoever finds it wins a marzipan pig  (in red wrapper below).  This one came from Norway. ingredients for rice porridge I had brought rice for the porridge from Norway, and found expensive almonds at Koala here in Accra (32 cedis for 200 grams, about 8 USD. Still the almonds were in the fridge and thus not rancid, so worth it.  With power cuts and heat, nuts are often not at there best even well before expiry date, but these were good. As mentioned earlier,  I was searching high and low here for cinnamon for my Christmas Eve rice porridge, and almost cried when shop after shop had no cinnamon and it was the 23rd. Cloves, nutmeg, ginger: none of those would have been quite right. I must have looked upset: one of the staff in the last shop found me an opened jar of cinnamon sticks in the back, which I clasped with joy and took home, grating it with much gratitude. The lone blanched almond cooling on the kitchen counter attracted an army of tiny ants: we must keep all food sealed, I can see.

As you see, there is also raspberry syrup and potato flour here: leftover rice porridge is cooled and mixed with whipped cream, and served cold as riskrem for dessert Christmas Eve, with a fruit-based sweet sauce. If the almond has not been found, it’ s the second chance to find it. I made

Riskrem med rød saus   (Creamed rice with red sauce)

Rød saus: (do earlier):
3 desilitres of undiluted sweet fruit cordial (raspberry, cherry, or red currants)
4.5 desilitres water
1.5 tbs potato flour (cornflour might work too)
3 tbs water

Heat cordial and water. Stir the potato flour into the 3 tbs of water, and when the cordial mixture is coming to the boil, pour it in while stirring. Boil briefly, it will thicken and become syrupy. Cool.

7 desilitres cold rice porridge
5 desilitres whipping cream
1.5 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tbs sugar

Whisk cream with sugar, fold gently into cold porridge. Serve with a little cooled red sauce poured over. Voila!  As I forgot to take a photo, here is a nice one from http://ceciliesmat.no/  (many thanks!)

PS If you want a to make a  vegan version of rice porridge and creamed rice, have a look at Arctic Grub’s Riskrem: a classic Norwegian Christmas Dessert.  Informative, vegan and delicious!

Trying my hand at semmelwraps……

semmelwrapWhat is THIS, you might wonder? Well, I am trying my hand at semmelwraps……  To explain: Carnival season is approaching, there are tacky costumes for kids in Rome shop windows and bits of confetti here and there on the wet sidewalks. The bakeries have frappe, bits of flat deep-fried pastry dusted with icing sugar. It hailed here this morning, brrr….. and I really fancied fastelavnsboller, which are Norwegian yeasted Shrovetide cardamom cream-filled buns, so time to bake! In Norway we have fastelavnsboller to mark the last Sunday before Lent, which is actually in two weeks, but I wanted these now. Last year, mine looked like this: imageIn Sweden these are called semlor and are sometimes also filled with some marzipan or almond mass. Lovely. Only this time I thought I might try the super-trendy semmelwrap, the 2015 Swedish version of cronut-mania, invented by a Stockholm bakery. You make your sweet yeasted dough, roll it out like a tortilla, an then stuff it with almond mass and whipped cream, and make a wrap. See Baka semmelwraps  for what it SHOULD look like, and recipe in Swedish. Very, very hip in Sweden right now. I used a basic sweet yeast dough for the buns, and optimistically rolled out two of the buns to see if I could make a semmelwrap. How bad could it be?

Fastelavnsboller (Shrovetide cardamom cream buns) + 2 attempted semmelwraps

25g fresh yeast (or 13g dry yeast)
70g butter, melted and slightly cooled
350 ml lukewarm milk
500g plain flour
1 tsp ground cardamom
70g sugar

300ml whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar
(Optional: marzipan)

A little icing sugar, sifted over
This makes 14-15 buns, depending on the size. Or 13 buns and two wraps.

Melt butter, and add milk. Heat until it is just finger warm, about 37C. Crumble the fresh yeast in a bowl. When the milk and butter are lukewarm, dissolve the yeast in the milk and butter, in a large bowl. Careful it is not too hot, that will kill the yeast. Add flour, sugar, salt, cardamom, and sugar. Stir well, the dough will be quite sticky. Knead for a few minutes, you will feel the dough getting smoother. Let the dough rise at room temperature, under cover (I use a plastic shower cap) for 1-2 hours, you will see it doubling soon.  (ALTERNATIVELY: we went for a very long Sunday lunch with friends today, so this dough was tossed together quickly and then sat in the fridge for six hours before I came home, pulled it out and shaped the buns. Dough seemed OK.)

Knock the dough back. Divide it into 14-15 pieces, and roll these out to round buns, roughly the same size. Leave to rise on parchment paper on a baking tray, covered with a tea towel. Leave to rise until it doubles, 20-30 min or so. You can glaze them with beaten egg if you like before baking, but I skipped that this time. Bake buns at 240ºC on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes. Let the buns cool on a rack.

When buns / wraps are cool (otherwise the cream goes runny): whip the cream with the vanilla and sugar. Slice the buns in half. Spoon a generous blob of whipped cream on the bases, then replace each bun top carefully. Sift over icing sugar, and serve. It can be messy but is delicious!


WRAPS: Bake at 240ºC on the middle rack for 5-6 minutes. Let the wraps cool on a rack. (Note: the Swedish video warns against over-baking, and recommends 3 min at 240C. Mine might be a bit thick, I baked them 8 minutes.)  For the two test wraps, we excavated some leftover marzipan (35 grammes or so) and crumbled that in the two wraps.  Add some whipped cream, and dust with icing sugar. Try to fold. Discover that yes, your baked wraps are a little too thick….. mine were like thin naan, but they really need to be rolled quite thin. One was foldable, one just cracked. Both were delicious though!