Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baking Weather

Many of you know that I love to bake.

I've been planning to share some recipes on my blog and I think today is a good day for sharing one.

Why? 

Because here in Minnesota we're in the middle of a big snowstorm. Events are being cancelled. The roads are too bad to drive. Plows won't be coming through our neighborhood for hours. The temperature is going below zero tonight and is expected to stay below zero or in the single digits through Tuesday. So it's a good day to do indoor activities - like baking cookies made with butter.
Lots of butter.
And cream. Yep, cream is good, too.
So, if you are stuck in this Minnesota snowstorm or just want to pretend you are, I'm going to link you to an easy recipe for Mandel Kakor - Swedish Almond Butter Cookies.
Why a recipe for Swedish cookies today?
Well, last night I attended the 35th annual Lucia Festival hosted by the Northfield Swedish Club. My husband and kids attended the event a few years ago but this was my first time. I enjoyed it immensely. The evening was casual and fun and started with a Julbord (Christmas Buffet) which we enjoyed as we listened to traditional music played by a number of talented local musicians.
Rose as a Lucia Attendant

The highlight of the night was the Luciatag, the Lucia pageant, when the lights were dimmed and two Lucias led their Tarnor (Attendants) and Stjarngossar (Star boys) out into the room. My daughter, Rose, was an attendant for the first time. I almost cried to see her holding her candle, to see all of the children walking in, to hear them singing Sancta Lucia. Okay, I did cry a bit. I do that.
After the pageant, the Lucias and their attendants delivered Julkakor (Christmas cookies) to the guests. Rose delivered a tray of cookies to our table and we finished off the evening with more music including a sing along of Svenska Julsanger (Swedish Christmas songs), a visit from a tomte (a Swedish elf) and Dans kring granen (Swedish folk dancing around the Christmas tree). 
Each family is asked to bring two dishes for the buffet and a dozen cookies. I made Shortbread Fruit Squares, a buttery shortbread cookie my Mom makes every Christmas, and Mandel Kakor. I LOVE Mandel Kakor. I had them for breakfast yesterday and for an after breakfast snack today. The recipe is easy even though the cookies require two trips to the oven and they taste oh so good!
Here's a link to the recipe:
http://www.relishmag.com/recipes/view/41188/mel-kakor.html
Correction - as of 11/16/2011 the above link does not work. Try this one instead:
http://www.relish.com/recipes/mandel-kakor-swedish-almond-butter-cookies/
And for some reason, the link has changed again. As of 12/23/12 here is the link:
http://relish.com/recipes/swedish-butter-cookies-mandel-kakor/

Mandel Kakor. Photo from Relish. Mark Boughton Photography; styling by Teresa Blackburn

Step 6 of the recipe states that during the second bake cycle you  can bake the cookies for 20 minutes if you like crispy cookies or 10 minutes for chewier cookies. I always bake 10 minutes for the chewier cookies. I think they are better that way.
It's still snowing and blowing like crazy outside. I've got a lot of writing work to do today, a bit of baking (probably plum puddings to embrace my English roots. We always have plum pudding on Christmas) and need to carve out some time to exercise. Gotta keep working out so I can eat more cookies, you know!
Happy baking - and stay warm!

1 comment:

j said...

She is just the most adorable girl anyway . . . but that costume makes her like a thousand times cuter.