When Expedia recently got in touch with me to see whether I would be interested in taking part in their Christmas World on a Plate challenge there was really only one country I could have chosen. The challenge has been running throughout the year with Expedia asking bloggers to create a recipe inspired by one of their holiday destinations.
Having just spent the weekend in Oslo I was really looking forward to give one of their wonderful Christmas treats a go. One thing I noticed whilst we were in Norway is that they love their baked treats at this time of year. In fact, there is a tradition known as 'Seven Sorts' where seven different types of cookies and biscuits are made and laid out to be enjoyed at various points in the festivities on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and beyond.
Whilst we were in Oslo we visited the largest Christmas market in the city and there were so many stalls selling large cookies on sticks with brightly coloured designs, marzipan shapes and plenty of other delights.
It felt a bit overwhelming trying to choose just one baked treat to give a go but eventually we settled on Kringla cookies. Kringla are an interesting creation. On the surface they look fairly plain and uninspiring (they only darken in colour if you seriously overcook them *ahem*) with no decoration at all, especially compared with some of the other baked treats on offer but the taste is actually something else. They actually taste like cake rather than biscuit and the squishy softness of the texture, along with the simple sweetness makes them really rather nice.
I've seen a couple of different shapes from researching the best recipe on the internet but I liked the figure of 8 shape best and thought it would be the easiest one to test out.
600ml sour cream
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.
2. Combine sugar, egg and sour cream.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
4. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and combine completely. The dough will be very sticky.
5. Refrigerate overnight (I did try a Great British Bake Off special here and try to freeze the mixture but it didn't work and I found leaving it overnight the only way to reduce the stickiness and make the dough even slightly workable)
6. Remove dough and separate into two.
7. Take half and form the dough into a long roll with your hands.
8. Cut off a narrow slice (about 1 inch wide) and roll into a thin sausage shape.
9. Form a figure 8 shape with the dough, pinching the ends together.
10. Place onto greaseproof paper and repeat. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the dough feels firm and is lightly coloured.
Things to note:
* Make sure you roll the dough out on a well floured surface. Despite being left overnight in the fridge the dough was still remarkable sticky and I did find it difficult to work with initially.
* Leave more of a gap than seems necessary in your figure of 8 as the cookies will rise and the gap will close.
* Don't leave them out otherwise you will find yourself returning again and again for just 'one more' taste!
Even our kindness elves got in on the action...
I also gave some JuleKake (Norwegian Christmas Cake) a go in our breadmaker which is the dark loaf you can see in some of the pictures. This is so simply and so tasty; we've been eating it as a little sweet treat for breakfast this week and the kids are loving it! I have to admit that I'm not a fan of traditional English Christmas cake but this is just subtle and light enough to have me completely hooked.
1/3 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups white bread flour
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cardamom seeds
1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 cup dried mixed fruit
1. Put all the ingredients, except the dried mixed fruit into the bread maker.
2. Add the dried mixed fruit at the beep.
So easy, so delicious and perfect for a little pick me up snack in the day.
Thank you to Expedia for inviting me to write this post and for the gift of a voucher and a hamper to help towards the purchase of ingredients as well.