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S E C T I O N 2 ❉ Holiday DECEMB ER 5, 2012 A sweet way to get together Baking Norwegian Christmas cookies continues a family tradition by Carol Blitzer G rowing up in Berkeley, Karin Thorne always looked forward to the days leading up to Christmas when the family gathered to honor their Norwegian roots — and make cookies. Lots of cookies. “I remember coming home from school to a house that smelled like every kid’s dream of Christmas. My mother’s kitchen was Santa’s workshop. We sampled every batch, and frequently,” she wrote in an email to the Weekly. She recalls her mother and grandmother starting early in December, filling every kitchen container, from lobster pots to canning kettles or soup terrines, to make vast quantities of traditional Norwegian treats. Her grandfather came from Norway in the 1890s, and graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota in 1906, she said. As kids, Thorne and her sister and brother would decorate shoe boxes with Christmas wrapping paper, which their mother would fill with cookies to be given to their father’s work colleagues, teachers and neighbors. Each of the 30 boxes would have a holiday note affixed. Thorne, who teaches seventh-grade social studies at Jordan Middle School, has continued the tradition at her Palo Alto home. Her 19-year-old son has participated each year in the family-andfriends gathering that starts with Thorne and her two siblings, who live in the Bay Area, agreeing on a baking day. “Skipping a year is out of the question. It just wouldn’t be the holidays without this ritual,” according to Thorne. This year they’re gathering on Dec. 16, making all the same recipes, but “not in the same quantities.” Friends and family get together to share the baking, then get to share the bounty at the end of the day. And the recipes have evolved over time, RECIPES Berliner Kranser 1 C. sugar 4 cubes butter (1 lb. total) 7 egg yolks (whites not used) 5 C. flour (unbleached) Cream together butter, margarine and sugar. Add egg yolks. Gradually add flour. Stir for a while then use hands to blend well; add additional flour until correct texture is obtained (dough should be waxy). Pat into a ball. Place ball of dough into a ziplock bag. Chill dough. Roll a small piece of dough to form a 4-inch-long pencil shape. Then overlap the ends of the pencil to form a wreath shape and dip one side in granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet with the sugar side up. Bake at 375°F for 15-17 minutes. Courtesy Rod Thorne Friends and family, including Chris and Janet Haugen, join in the cookie-baking tradition. with less butter and sugar. “We talk about how we did it last time,” Thorne said, adding that it’s not formal. “If someone doesn’t come on time, that’s fine. “It’s the kind of thing that keeps families together, talking to each other,” she said. “Every year we look forward to doing it all over again!” Below are the Haugen family’s traditional Norwegian Christmas cookie recipes. Associate Editor Carol Blitzer can be emailed at A Fattigmands Bakkelse Mrs. Oldrup’s Sandbakkles Beat together: 15 egg yolks 1/2 C. sugar 1 C. sugar 1 C. (2 cubes) margarine or butter 1 whole egg 2 C. flour (unbleached) 1/4 t. salt 4 grated almonds (I blanch almonds, then grind in a food processor) 1/2 t. almond extract 3 T. Whipping cream Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg, almond extract, whipping cream and grated almonds. Add flour, stir until well blended. The mixture will be sticky. Leave the dough in the bowl, place a piece of plastic over the top. Chill dough until firm. Prepare the cookie tins with PAM or other non-stick spray. Press dough thinly into cookie tins. Press a small piece of dough into cookie tin. Place the cookie tins on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F. Throw the cookie tins upside down on a surface to release the cookies from the tins. Beat together: 1 C. whipping cream 1/2 C. sugar 7 T. cognac ❉ Whip 2 egg whites until dry and fold into the yolks and whipping cream mixture. Gradually add 4 3/4 C. flour and chill several hours. Roll out and cut. Fry in lard at 370°F for about 3 minutes. Place on paper towels to soak excess lard. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still hot. ❉ See NORWEGIAN COOKIES, page 25 December 5, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN21

The Almanac 12.05.2012 - Section 2

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