Taste of Tradition

Holidays have their own taste requirements. What would Thanksgiving be without some form of pumpkin on the menu? Cookies are the dessert of choice when it comes to Christmas. Years ago (when I was younger) I would come home from school every day in December and prepare a batch of cookies each evening. Some days it would be two different kinds. I don’t mean your everyday kind of cookie either. No chocolate chip, peanut butter, or oatmeal for this season. These cookies were usually labor intensive and pretty. I didn’t mind because it was fun and I always had cookies available for friends dropping by. These days, I don’t make so many.

However, there is one cookie that is a requirement. It is a Norwegian cookie, sandbakkel (pronounced like sun buckle). This is a cookie that has been made for generations in our family. It is a simple butter cookie, but the dough is pressed into small tins, then baked. This is one of those cookies that takes extra work, but it is so worth it! I divide my tins into thirds so I can have one set in the oven baking, one set cooling on the counter, and the final set getting dough put into the tins. The tricky part is getting them out of the tins (oh shucks, it broke, guess I have to eat it). Once these have been baked, I know the season is here.

Party mix is another must have for December. Usually it is made the first weekend of December, but not this year. However, it did get made, just later.

It takes three boxes of Chex cereal, only rice and corn (wheat gets too tough), a bag of pretzels (prefer sticks), a box of Cheez-its, a container of mixed nuts without peanuts, and a container of cashews (both nuts from Costco). Of course it can only be made with butter (no Parkay here).

I find the largest container in the pantry to hold all the dry ingredients. Mix and toss, now the process begins. Melt the butter, stir in the seasoned salt, and worcestershire sauce. Pour it over a bowlful of mix, pop it in the microwave for two minutes. Stir, the tang of the worcestershire sauce tickles my nose and makes my eyes water. Back to the microwave for another two minutes. Stir again, more watering eyes. Two minutes to go. Lay out a layer of newspaper covered by paper towels. Ding goes the microwave. Spread the mix onto the paper towels to cool. This process is repeated over and over until the last batch has been prepared. Eager hands are ready to scoop up the mix. Crunch, crunch, now I know Christmas is near.

"Can I have some now?"

12 thoughts on “Taste of Tradition

  1. grade4wizard says:

    I love reading about the different traditions and foods people have during holidays. There is no Christmas without gingerbread cookies in my family.
    Merry Christmas! Kauneid jõule!

  2. Sounds great, Elsie. I love the “(oh shucks, it broke, guess I have to eat it)”. My mantra exactly! We have different kinds of sweets every year except there’s always fudge, & it was made Sunday. Guess it’s time for Christmas! I love hearing about your cookies, a nice tradition to hear about, & see. And I liked the way the writing was really about the season & taking care of each other. You showed it very well!

  3. Ooh those look delicious! I used to make these years ago but lost the tins somewhere among our many moves…now I want to make them again. Merry Christmas, Elsie!

  4. Some things just say “Christmas,” and food is one of those things. Thanks for sharing your favorites. Now I’m thinking what my grandchildren think of when Christmas comes–any of my foods? If not, I need to make some memories soon.

  5. I like your reflection of the specialness of seasonal foods! I love baking my family’s traditional Christmas cookies (like you, we don’t make any other time of year) — there is such a special feeling to them that brings back so many good memories!

  6. The butter cookies are beautiful. Almost too pretty to eat. The use of sound words “Crunch, crunch” brought your mix too life. And I enjoyed your description of eager hands. Too fun! Enjoy the holidays!

  7. “Taste requirements” — I like that…and it makes me think. Around our house, the Christmas taste requirements include:

    Andy’s made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls
    Cinnamon roasted almonds (a new addition this year)
    Spinach balls

    Merry Christmas, Elsie. 🙂

  8. I loved reading about your baking memories. We always had dozens of cookies in the house when I was a kid as Christmas came around. We baked a lot when our kids were younger too. While we don’t make as many now, there are a few favorites that always bring back Christmas. Our favorites are Candy Cane cookies and Stollen.

  9. jee young says:

    Oooh looks delicious!!! I’m hoping to bake some more holiday cookies as well since I’m on vacation now. Have a great holiday season!

    Jee Young

  10. I first heard of sandbakkel when we lived in Minnesota, just on the other side of the Mississippi River from LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Now that we are back in the East, there’s no one that makes them. It is nice to see them again!

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