By Chloe Ellefson, Museum Curator
From the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries
by Kathleen Ernst
Almost everyone has favorite food traditions that emerge around the holidays. Even people who don't spend much time thinking about heritage often treasure Grandma's cookie recipes.
My parents pride themselves on being among the dwindling group of Wisconsinites who can claim "pure" Norwegian heritage. Some of my earliest Christmas memories involve food. My mom really goes nuts for the holidays! Here are some of her favorite Norwegian Christmas cookies.
Goro, from the oldest recipe, are made in special griddles that produce pretty designs.
Sandbakkeler (sand tarts) require lots of little molds. The finished cookies are often filled with jam.
Rosettes are formed on irons and deep-fried.
Fattigman, known as "poor man's cookies," are cut into diamonds, slit and twisted, and fried.
Krumkaker are made on a special irons and formed into cones.
Sirupsnipper (syrup diamonds) also require special cutting. They are a bit like gingerbread, but sweeter and crunchier.
When I was a kid, I often wished that my mom baked some of the cookies my friends brought to school. Cookies with colored frosting. Cookies with chocolate or other gooey and wonderful things.
My attitude has changed, though. These Norwegian cookies are delicious, and they pay homage to my ancestors.
They're also putzy to prepare. I realize now that my mom fussed over these cookies as a way of showing love for her family and friends.
If you have the good fortune to receive a tin of Norwegian cookies, know that they were made with affection and care. Happy holidays!
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Giveaway! Name your favorite holiday cookie or treat in a comment below, and you'll be eligible to win the Chloe Ellefson mystery of your choice. Please leave email (such as sue.smith <at> gmail.com) so I can contact the winner. Giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday, December 19.