Make your own macaroons à la Ibsen’s Nora 

A classic favorite

Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American


Photo: Kristi Bissell
These almond macaroons are delightfully crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Almond macaroons play an important role in Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s three-act play, A Doll’s House. As the play opens, Nora Helmer has returned home from Christmas shopping, laden with gifts and other purchases for the upcoming holiday.  She takes a bag of macaroons out of her pocket and eats a couple.

Nora then quietly sneaks over to her husband’s study and listens at the closed door. When he emerges, she quickly wipes away the crumbs from her mouth and hides the cookies. She clearly wants to keep her macaroons a secret, fearing her husband’s disapproval of her decadent treat.

As it turns out, Nora is keeping many more secrets from her husband, Torvald, which are revealed throughout the course of the play. The macaroons are simply a clever metaphor for both the secrets she keeps and the control Torvald holds over her.

Interested in making a batch of almond macaroons à la Nora?  These cookies are surprisingly simple and contain just five ingredients. And an added bonus: they are gluten-free, so you can serve them to just about anyone. These tasty macaroons should definitely not be kept secret!


nora macaroons

Photo: Bjarte Rettedal / Space Productions,
Nora visibly delights in her forbidden macaroons before hiding from her husband. Gina Abolins appeared on stage at London’s Arcola Theatre in 2011.

Almond Macaroons   

Makes 30 cookies



3 cups slivered almonds

1½ cups granulated sugar

½ tsp. salt

3 large egg whites

1 tsp. almond extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325° and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Transfer the almonds to the work bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the salt and sugar and process for an additional 30 seconds. Add the egg whites and almond extract and process until a soft dough forms, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as necessary. If the dough seems dry, add a teaspoon of water and process again. Repeat until you have a workable dough.

3. Using damp hands, roll the dough into 1 inch balls (using damp hands to roll the dough will create a smooth and shiny surface on the baked cookies) and place on one of the prepared baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space between the balls of dough (you should get about 12 cookies on each sheet).

4. Bake one sheet of cookies at a time until they are just beginning to brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

5. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Repeat with the remaining dough.



This article originally appeared in the June 10, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog,