Monday, April 25, 2011

Scandinavian Spicy cookies

I know.  This was meant to be a Christmas Post.  Terrible of me really.

These are delicious - buttery cinnamon and spice flavoured cookies, and they literally bring home the smell of Xmas into the kitchen and all around the house.  it's awesome!

I've seen so many differing recipes for these cookies, but the one I liked best was from an issue of Taste (Issue 7, winter 2005), a Maltese magazine that comes out with the Independent.  They had an article about a Danish and a Swedish person living in Malta, and they gave this recipe for "brown cookies".  I had just been to Sweden and tasted these awesome biscuits so thought i'd make them.  and they were delicious! And so much fun to make!

With shortbread in a plate...

Ingredients (adapted from the brown cookie recipe):
125g golden Syrup
125g Danish butter
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon water
125g brown sugar (light or dark soft)
250g plain flour (plus extra for rolling)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of allspice
2 tablespoons cinnamon
***the original recipe also calls for 50g of chopped almonds and 3 tablespoons of finely chopped candied orange peel, but I prefer to omit them)

Cookie cutters like stars, hearts, Xmas trees, or any shape you fancy!

Measure out the butter and syrup, place in a small saucepan.
Sift the flour and spices and place in a bowl. 

The butter/syrup ready measured, and the flour/spice mix.
 Heat the syrup and butter in a small pan until the butter has melted.  Mix the baking powder with the water in a small cup or bowl and stir it into the syrup mix.  Be prepared for awesome frothy golden syrup butter!
Adding the rising agents to the syrup mix, my absolute favourite part of this method!
Add the brown sugar (and almonds and peel if using), stir until smooth and well mixed. 

Allow mix to cool until just slightly warm.

At this point, add most of the flour/spice mix and incorporate, using your hands (you are going to get sticky, so have extra flour ready!).  Add enough flour until it all comes together (you might not use all the mix, or you might use a little extra.. really depends)

Put on clean floured surface, and knead it thoroughly.

Bring into a ball (or a flattened square which I find easier to soften, and also easier to roll out!) and wrap tightly with cling wrap, and refrigerate until slightly firmer, at least 10 minutes.

At this point, you are able to keep it in the fridge for a few days, I would imagine it would even stay there a couple of weeks but it's never lasted that long in our house!

Ready for firming up/storing in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 160C, and line a few (2-4, depending on how many you have :P) cookie sheets with baking paper.

Prepare a clean flat surface (oh to have a granite/marble kitchen top!) with flour, and bring out the dough (if it's been in the fridge for longer than 10 minutes you'll need to take it out for at least 10-15 minutes to soften it enough)

Roll it out thinly (1/2cm), using remaining flour (or extra flour) and use cutters to cut various shapes.

ready to be rolled out

Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, but start watching them at 7, until slightly more golden than the dough.  They will not spread, but they will lighten and puff up slightly at first, giving them a wonderful light butter texture. 

This recipe makes around 120 cookies!!! :)
They are quite soft when you take them out of the oven, so leave on the tray for a minute or two before cooling on one layer on wire racks.  The ones above have been cooled and are just getting ready to be stored. 

They get a little hard a couple of hours after making them, and soften to a crispy and tender biscuit after a day or so.  I like to make these a few days before serving.  I even prefer them when they have softened a little (after a week or so) so they taste like a thin ginger free gingerbread (my favourite type :P)

These biscuits are delicious served with coffee after a large meal, or also with mulled wine (glogg in Swedish).  I even like to dip them into the hot mulled wine.  It feels wrong, but it's really tasty!

All baked!

1 comment:

  1. I so want to try these! I remember them when I came to your house at Christmas! :) I love spices in sweets! Will try to upload my Chocolate Spice cake recipe when I have some time! :)