The Suitcase Lady


December 17, 2019, 8:40 pm

Norway is a land that loves Christmas and one of their most cherished traditions is syv slags kaker. That translates to seven sorts of cookies. Norwegians consider that to be the magic number of treats to bake for family and friends. They also believe that vast quantities of butter must go into those cookies to make them special. These are my kind of people.

This tradition goes back hundreds of years when Norway was not the rich country it is now; in fact, it was one of the poorest Scandinavian countries. Farmers would sell their butter to get badly needed income and use lard for daily use. Butter was a huge treat that was only used for baking at Christmas time.

Although the number of cookie varieties to bake is seven, no specific types of cookies are prescribed. Being dedicated bakers, the Norwegians have hundreds of recipes for buttery cookies. Each family has its own list of seven favorites that have been passed down through the generations. Some of the most popular cookies on the family lists are krumkaker, berlinerkranser, fattigman, sandkaker, smultringer, spritz, snipp and pepperkaker. Even the names are fun to say.

I love both baking and traditions. For our Christmas, I always bake twelve things, eleven different cookies and one fruitcake. If you are shuddering at the thought of fruitcake, my recipe has no candied fruit, only dates, apricots, walnuts and coconut.

Baking begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the results go directly into the freezer. We are great believers in the joy of anticipation. Christmas cookie eating for us commences on Christmas Eve. But rest assured, if you visit our home before Christmas, we will dip into our stash.

Cookies waiting in our freezer!

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