Have a cozy and delicious New Year

Ring in 2018 with a warming drink paired with savory cheese biscuits with a Nordic flair

New Year menu: cheese biscuits and hot aquavit toddy

Photo: Daytona Strong
Coziness done two ways: biscuits made to satisfy cravings for cheese and caraway pair excellently with an aquavit hot toddy.

Daytona Strong
Taste of Norway Editor

By the time Christmas has come and gone, it seems like everyone’s talking about healthy eating and cleanses. But before we go the way of “dry January” (if you’re into that), let’s not forget about New Year’s celebrations.

Now for me, New Year’s Eve has never seemed like a party holiday. Sure, celebrations are always happening, but I’m just as happy hanging out at home, reflecting on the past year and waiting in anticipation for the clock to strike midnight.

Still, any celebration—large or small—calls for a bit of a treat. So I’m sharing with you one of the coziest I can imagine—a hot toddy spiked with Norwegian aquavit and some savory little cheesy bites.

hot aquavit toddy

Photo: Daytona Strong
A hot toddy spiked with Norwegian aquavit makes the perfect New Year’s Eve drink.

The toddy? That’s obvious. I think it was my husband who first served me an aquavit version. (He has a way with mixing drinks.) As for the biscuits, I first encountered the root of them a few years back when flipping through Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen. She had a recipe in there for Västerbotten and Caraway Sablés, made with the Swedish cheese I could never seem to find stocked even in the local Scandinavian food store in Seattle. Parmesan does the trick, however, and I thought it’d be fun to top half of the biscuits with caraway, as Johansen recommended for the full recipe, and top the other half with a flaky smoked salt as a way to vary the flavors (and accommodate those for whom caraway seeds are a bit too intense).

These little biscuits would be as good with a glass of Champagne as with a toddy, so go ahead and improvise as needed—but let’s ring in the New Year together with hope and anticipation. And if you’re resolving to eat more kale salads and drink more green smoothies, then by all means go for it with all your might. As for me, I’m more about attempting to practice moderation with a touch of indulgence all the year through. Regardless of how you go about the year, I wish you a happy celebration and a great year ahead.

Hot Aquavit Toddy
Ingredients:
3 oz. freshly-boiled hot water, plus more to preheat mug
1 ½ oz. aquavit (I use Linie)
1 tbsp. honey
1-2 lemon wedges, plus a slice for garnish
Directions:
Preheat a mug with hot water for a minute or so, then discard water.
Pour aquavit and honey into the mug. Squeeze juice from 1 lemon wedge into the mug and drop the wedge in too. Pour freshly boiled hot water over it and give it a good stir to help the honey dissolve. Taste and adjust honey and lemon juice as needed. Garnish with lemon slice if desired.
Makes 1 drink.

Savory Nordic Cheese Biscuits, Two Ways (Gluten-Free)
Adapted from the Västerbotten and Caraway Sablés in Scandilicious Baking
by Signe Johansen
Ingredients:
1 cup gluten-free flour mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
4 tbsps. cold unsalted butter
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium egg
2 tbsps. whole milk
for topping:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tbsp. Parmesan
¼ tsp. smoked sea salt (regular course or flaky salt will work too)
Directions:
Using a food processor, whirl flour, butter, and salt until they combine into a sandy mixture. Add cheese and give it another whirl, then the egg and mix again. Finally, add the milk one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together, taking care to not over-mix.
Press the dough into a log about an inch in diameter. Roll in plastic wrap and chill until firm.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Once chilled, remove and unwrap the dough. Slice it into 24 pieces (each slice should be about 1⁄3- to ½-in. thick).
Arrange these on the baking sheet about an inch apart. Brush lightly with the beaten egg. On half of the biscuits, sprinkle caraway seeds and Parmesan cheese. On the other half, sprinkle smoked sea salt.
Bake until golden and firm and cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes.
Makes 24 biscuits.

Daytona Strong is The Norwegian American’s Taste of Norway Editor. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo), Twitter (@daytonastrong, Pinterest (@daytonastrong), and Instagram (@daytonastrong).

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 29, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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