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Behind the Scenes of a Norwegian Christmas

Dec 27, 2010 | 0 comments

My extended family are all Norwegian (on both my parents’ sides) so I’ve grown up with a lot of Norwegian traditions, particularly at Christmas. Ever since I can remember, I’ve made several varieties of Scandinavian cookies with my mom (Krumkake, Fattigman, Sandbakel, and more) and made the traditional lefse with my aunt and uncle. If you don’t know, lefse is the Scandinavian version of a tortilla, made with mashed potatoes, and usually eaten spread with butter, optionally with a sprinkle of sugar.

This year was no exception. Mom and I made the cookies on the 23rd of December at my house. We made four varieties this year (fewer than we used to, but fewer people eat them now)…the Krumkake, which are cone shaped, crispy cookies, are made in a special iron, as seen below. They are then wrapped around a wooden mold, and allowed to cool to keep their shape.

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We also made Fattigman, which are made with a lot of cardamom and tied into a knot shape, then fried and coated with powdered sugar. These are my personal favorite! Finally, we made my great grandmother’s ginger snaps and snowball cookies (both of which are wildly popular around the world and could hardly be called characteristically Norwegian). Great batches this year!


On the 24th, Mom and I headed to my Aunt & Uncle’s house to make the lefse. The tortilla-like creation is made from flour and mashed potatoes that have been seasoned with salt and a bit of cream and butter. They are truly delicious, and go with a smorgesbord or a full dinner (we seem to have it at every meal during the holidays!). We dry fry them in large saute pans until we have a very respectable stack to get us through Christmas.

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So there’s are pre-Christmas preparations! We had a wonderful year this year, and the food was delicious. Next post (coming later today) is about the actual meals we had Christmas Eve and Christmas day. ¬†Stay tuned, and here’s hoping you all had a wonderful holiday!




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