Not Just Another Christmas Cookie

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This comment (from my cousin) was in response to my post about my traditional Norwegian Christmas cookie post. I took this as a challenge, so I texted him asking for the recipe. A few days later, it arrived in the mail with an additional page of hints and clarifications to the recipe. As I read over the notes and recipe, I tried to visualize each step, it seemed complicated. I put it aside for a few weeks, planning to return to the challenge once I was finished working in schools.

Ingredients were gathered, I reread the recipe, made a quick call to my cousin to clarify a point, then I began. First I stirred up the almond paste filling. It seemed easy enough, I divided it into fourths, then rolled it into a log, wrapped it in Saran wrap to be refrigerated.

Almond aroma fills the air as I stir the filling.

Almond aroma fills the air as I stir the filling.

Pleased with how the filling went, I tackled the pastry portion. This seemed a bit trickier, there were only three ingredients: flour, butter, and ice water. How in the world were these three ingredients going to turn into a flaky pastry? I carefully cut the butter into the flour with the pastry cutter. Slowly I added the ice water, stirring until it became a dough ball. I divided the ball into two portions, wrapped them up, and refrigerated them for several hours.

Once the dough was thoroughly chilled, I rolled it out on my counter (I sprinkled a little cornstarch to prevent sticking). The dough was split down the middle and a tube of filling was placed inside. Working quickly I sealed the dough around the filling with a bit of water.

Rolled dough and almond filling

Rolled dough and almond filling

Soon all dough was rolled out, sealed as tight as possible to prevent the filling from leaking out. I pricked the top to vent the pastry, brushed on egg white, and sprinkled with sugar.

Before baking, wondering if it is sealed.

Before baking, wondering if it is sealed.

After removing the tray from the oven, I took a picture and sent it to my cousin, “Do these look right?” I inquired. “Great for a first try!” was the response I got. But we would not know if this was a successful endeavor until we took that first bite.

After baking, no filling leaked out. The brown bits are from the egg white brushed on them.

After baking, no filling leaked out. The brown bits are from the egg white brushed on them.

I sliced a piece off the log roll, the outside was crispy and flaky. The inside was delicious almond goodness. I think I have a new holiday tradition to bake every year, my Dutch heritage will insist that Banket (bahn-KET) be a part of our holidays.

Banket is hard to resist.

Banket is hard to resist.



18 thoughts on “Not Just Another Christmas Cookie

  1. Your signature cookie! It’s always a pain to make the fav but the reward of having others looking forward to it! These look yummy! I know thr Sweds in my fam would love!

  2. I’m so impressed and amazed that you stuck with this multi-step process. Thanks for the pics. I can almost taste one of the cookies. Hope your Christmas was wonderful.

  3. amandavillagomez says:

    I enjoyed seeing the process and especially loved the caption to the first picture. It really made me imagine the scent of almond. Happy holidays. I am glad that you found a new tradition.

  4. I LOVE how you share your learning process but I knew that we were getting to the finish line that I would feel frustrated because looks are just not enough for me 😦

  5. It looks to me like your cookies were “perfect for a first try!” They look so yummy!! Happy holidays to you and yours, Elsie. I’m glad I was able to meet you in 2014 and hope our paths cross again in 2015!


  6. Well done! I don’t really bake for Christmas because I live alone and end up eating most of what I bake myself. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your baking.

  7. Hmm, my mouth is watering!! So brave of you to tackle this new tradition. Actually that is exactly like you! Happy Holidays!

    PS excited to hear you are venturing back to California.

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