Cookie Extravaganza: Knekk-Kaker
One of the great things about holiday baking is that everyone has their own traditions and favorites. These are recipes that span generations, recipes that cross continents, recipes that adapt and evolve in one’s own kitchen. Each recipe has a history and a story. This old-fashioned Norwegian Christmas cookie was first shared with me by my friend, Anne Lise, who credits it back to her bestefar. “Knekk” refers to the caramel aspect of the cookie. As they bake, the sugar and syrup melt and break down giving these cookies their distinct caramel scent and taste while the oats almost fade away, providing bulk and substance. Knekk-kaker are thin and crispy, yet they can be faintly chewy toward the center. They go well with tea and coffee and would be divine dipped into a little melted chocolate. These have become a favorite of my family, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as well!
Makes about 48 cookies
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. (160 g) granulated sugar
3 tbsps. (50 ml) Norwegian light syrup (Lyle’s Golden Syrup is a good substitute)
3 tbsps. heavy cream
2/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. quick-cooking oats
1 cup sifted, all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla sugar or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Blend all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Use a small spoon to scoop out some dough and place it on the prepared baking sheet. You should be able to fit up to 8 spoonfuls of dough at a time per baking sheet. Space them well, so they don’t cook into each other.
- Place one baking sheet in the oven and bake the cookies for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. After 5 minutes, or when the cookies have stiffened, transfer them to a cooling rack. While the first batch is cooling, place the second baking sheet in the oven. Spoon more of the dough on the first baking sheet after you have transferred the cookies to the cooling rack. When the second batch of cookies are ready, take them out of the oven and put the newly prepared baking sheet in the oven. Continue until all of the dough is used.
- Store the cookies in a cookie tin or airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 weeks.
But you mustn’t stop with just one kind of Christmas cookie! Browse our recipes to fill your holiday table with at least syv slags!
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 27, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.