Seven Kinds of Cookies: A Scandinavian Christmas Tradition

Being a Scandinavian-American, I grew up with a Norwegian Christmas celebration. Dancing around the tree, going to the Sons of Norway Christmas party, visits from Julenisse. Our traditional Christmas feast is no exception. We have meatballs in brown gravy, lefse (a kind of potato tortilla), and sweet fruit soup. For dessert, we have a "little lunch", as my grandma calls it: 7 kinds of traditional cookies, breads, and rømmegrøt (a cream pudding).

For most Scandinavian families, it is traditional to have seven kinds of cookies (sju sorter småkaker), but the kinds vary from household to household. This year, some of my friends at the Sons of Norway lodge are getting together to all bake cookies together. We are each going to bring some recipes for our cookies to share with others. Here are the seven I am going to bring: 

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Children at the Sons of Norway Christmas party 2007, Portland, OR, USALittle girl running away with a krumkake, SON Christmas party 2007, Portland, OR, USA
Children at the Sons of Norway Christmas party 2007, Portland, OR, USA
Children at the Sons of Norway Christmas party 2007, Portland, OR, USA
Little girl running away with a krumkake, SON Christmas party 2007, Portland, OR, USA
Little girl running away with a krumkake, SON Christmas party 2007, Portland, OR, USA

Caramel Balls

Ingredients:

1 cup Rice Krispies

1 cup coconut

1 cup corn flakes

1 cup nutmeats

36 Kraft caramels

3 tablespoons cream

Directions:

Mix first four ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, melt caramels, then add cream.  Butter a large bowl and mix all ingredients together, then roll into balls.  Put (not touching each other!) on a waxed-paper covered cookie sheet and put in the freezer until just frozen.  Take out, put in tins, and freeze. 

Thumbprints

Ingredients:

1 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup quick rolled oats, uncooked

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Beat butter until creamy.  Add sugar gradually, beat until fluffy.  Stir in vanilla, flour and salt.  Blend in rolled oats.  Dough will be quite stiff.

Add in spices and mix well.  Shape dough into balls.  Make depression in each with thumb.  Bake about 26 minutes in 325°F oven.  When cool, fill depressions with jam or jelly. 

Cherry Winks

Sift:  2 1/4 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. soda, 1/2 tsp. salt

Blend:  3/4 cup Crisco or other shortening, 1 cup sugar, creaming well

Add:  2 eggs, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Beat well.

Blend in:  The dry ingredients gradually, mix thoroughly.

Add:  1 cup pecans, 1 cup chopped dates, and 1 cup maraschino cherries, drained & chopped.  Mix well.

Drop:  By rounded tsp. into 2 1/2 cups Kellogg's corn flakes, crushed.  Toss lightly to coat, form into balls.

Place on greased baking sheet.  Top each with 1/4 cherry.  Bake in moderate oven (375°F) 12 to 15 minutes. 

Filled Icebox Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup Crisco

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon soda

2 3/4 cup flour

Filling:

Cook together until thick:

1 cup dates -- cut up

1 cup ground raisins

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

wee bit salt 

Directions:

Mix and form into 2 rolls and put in refrigerator overnight.  (May put in freezer for a few hours instead).  Slice thin and put filling on cookies.  Cover with another slice.  Do not press down (it will melt down).  Bake at 375°F about 10 minutes.

Kringler

Ingredients:

3 pkgs. yeast

2 Tbsp. shortening, melted

3 or more cups water

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 or more tsp. anise (optional)

Flour to roll

Directions:

Soak yeast in small amount of water -- let set til it foams.  Mix all ingredients together until a soft, consistent dough forms.  I roll mine out in about 15 minutes after I mixed them.  Take enough dough to make finger-sized rope about 10" long.  Form into figure eight.  Bake on greased baking sheet (or parchment paper) in moderate oven until done.  Top should be golden, but not overly brown.

When warm, glaze with mixture of granulated sugar and hot water. 

Glazed Raisin Crescents

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup raisins

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. boiling water, or enough to make thin glaze

1/4 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Sift flour, baking powder, salt & sugar into bowl.  Cut in shortening.  Beat egg and add with milk to first mixture.  Divide in half.  Roll each half into round 8 to 9 inches in diameter.  Spread each with melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar & raisins.  With sharp knife, cut each circle into 8 equal sized pie-shaped pieces.  Starting from outside edge, roll up each triangle to its point.  Place on lightly greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart, and curve pointed ends into a crescent shape.

Bake in hot oven, 425°F, about 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove and spread tops with glaze while warm.

Makes 16 crescents. 

Date and Nut Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 cup chopped pitted dates

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 1/4 cups sifted flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Pour the boiling water over dates and let stand 10 minutes.  Meanwhile add sugar gradually to the egg while beating with a spoon.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt & soda and stir the walnuts into the mixture.  Add date mixture alternately with the sifted dry ingredients and nuts to the sugar and egg mixture.  Stir in melted shortening and vanilla and pour into greased pan about 10"x5"x3".  Bake in moderate oven, 350°F, for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done. 

Substitutions

All of these recipes work fine with a sugar substitute instead of the sugar.  I have not tried substitutions for the other ingredients. 

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Comments 9 comments

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

WOW!! Great recipes. They really look yummy and makes my mouth water...hehe


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 8 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

They do look good and if careful, not that difficult to make.


KT pdx profile image

KT pdx 8 years ago from Vancouver, WA, USA Author

Yep, most of them are at beginning cook level, and the caramel balls and icebox cookies are the easiest to make. Even kids can make the caramel balls with supervision.


anne.moss profile image

anne.moss 8 years ago from Israel

Thanks for sharing those! I can only imagine how much weight I would have put on if I had to go through a Scandinavian Christmas ;)


NYLady profile image

NYLady 8 years ago from White Plains, NY

Cherry winks!!! My favorite holiday cookie! Thanks for the great hub -- all the recipes sound delicious and I'm a fanatical Christmas baker. So I'll definitely try a few new ones.


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 7 years ago from Sydney

will certainly be making some cookies over Christmas.

Thank you


Anne 5 years ago

Sorry to tell you, but you are wrong. There is no Scandinavian 7 cookie tradition. Maybe a Norwegian, but definitely not a general Scandinavian thing. I am from Denmark an I have never heard of it before. For dessert after the Christmas dinner in Denmark we eat Risalamande, which is rice cooked with milk to a porridge, cooled and mixed with whipped cream, chopped almonds and vanilla, and served with cherry sauce. :-)


KT pdx profile image

KT pdx 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA, USA Author

Anne, thank you for reminding me of that. Norway and Sweden both have the tradition, so I forgot that Denmark does not.

Norwegians also have the rice porridge (risegrøt in Norwegian), along with a cream porridge (rømmegrøt in Norwegian), as a special treat. :)


john 4 years ago

tangina nyo ah

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