5 Favorite Nordic Christmas Recipes: Lingonberry Cardamon Rolls

As you may have guessed from my post yesterday featuring Norwegian Heart-Shaped Waffles with Lingonberries, I absolutely LOVE lingonberries. Abundant in Scandinavia, they are a vibrant red fruit known for their tart juiciness. They are similar to cranberries though much smaller – and in my opinion, much sweeter!

Lingonberries are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Magnesium.

The recipe I share today is relatively new to us as it was published in the March 2015 edition of Sons of Norway’s Viking magazine. When it arrived in our mailbox and we caught a glimpse of these mouth watering rolls gracing the cover – we immediately went to the kitchen to try our hand at baking them. We were not disappointed!! So yummy!

5 Favorite Christmas Recipes: Lingonberry Cardamon Rolls @EvaVarga.net

Lingonberry Cardamon Rolls

Dough

3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
Zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons fresh ground cardamon
1 packet instant yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Filling

3/4 cup lingonberry jam

Glaze

3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice

5 Favorite Christmas Recipes: Lingonberry Cardamon Rolls @EvaVarga.netMix the flour, sugar, cardamon, lemon zest and yeast together in a large bowl. Combine the water, melted butter, salt, and eggs together and then add to the bowl of flour. Stir until a soft dough forms and then turn out onto a well floured board and knead dough for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover the dough and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, butter a 9″ x 9″ baking pan and set aside. After the dough has rested, place onto a well floured board and roll into a 8″ x 14″ rectangle. Spread the lingonberry preserves evenly on the dough and roll up jelly-roll style, pressing the edges to seal. Cut the roll into 9 equal pieces and place the slices cut side facing up in the pan. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the rolls have risen, place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow the rolls to cool for 15 minutes while you prepare the glaze. Mix the powdered sugar with the butter and then stir in the milk and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the rolls with the glaze.

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In case you missed my earlier posts this week, you will love this easy recipe for Nordic Almond Bars. If you feeling up to a challenge, I encourage you to try the popular Norwegian flatbread, Lefse.

Join us tomorrow as we highlight another Christmas favorite – Joulutortut or Finnish Christmas Stars.

Looking for more inspiration for a Nordic høytiden (Norwegian Holiday Season) … read my earlier posts here and here.

5 Favorite Nordic Christmas Recipes @EvaVarga.net

It’s a holiday hopscotch! Join the iHomeschool Network bloggers for more Christmas themed posts all week!

5 Favorite Nordic Christmas Recipes: Norwegian Waffles

Have your tastebuds been watering? Mine sure have. I love the smells of sweet breads and cookies baking that mingle through the house – especially during the cold months of the holiday season.

Today, I share a favorite recipe that is traditionally for breakfast but also makes a wonderful treat to enjoy with coffee or tea any time of the day, vaffler or Heart-Shaped Norwegian Waffles.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for more information.

5 Favorite Christmas Recipes: Våfflor @EvaVarga.net

A traditional Scandinavian waffle iron makes individual heart-shaped waffles. You can certainly use a standard waffle iron, though they may be slightly thicker and not quite so light. If you want to stay traditional, I recommend the Chef’s Choice 830 WafflePro Heart Waffle Iron. It is well constructed and takes a beating (my son actually knocked it off the counter once).

Våfflor

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons melted butter
butter for brushing the iron or non-stick spray
powdered sugar
lingonberry jam or fresh berries to serve with the waffles
whipped cream to serve with the waffles (optional)
Gjetost Goat Cheese (optional)

Stir flour and cardamon together and set aside. In a small bowl or electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together at high speed for 10 minutes until mixture forms ribbons when beaters are lifted.

Sprinkle flour mixture over eggs; stir the sour cream until smooth and add to the mixture, folding until batter is smooth. Fold in the melted butter.

Place the waffle iron over medium heat and heat until a drop of water sizzles on the griddle. Brush the griddle with butter or spray with non-stick spray. Spoon in the batter. Bake according to waffle iron instructions or until golden brown.

Remove from iron and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately with lingonberry or other jam, fresh berries and whipped cream, or thin slices of gjetost goat cheese.

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Earlier this week, I shared a recipe for our favorite Norwegian cookies .. Nordic Almond Bars .. as well as a traditional flatbread that is popular in many Norwegian American homes .. Lefse.

Tomorrow, I bring you yet another recipe featuring Lingonberries .. Lingonberry Cardamon Rolls. Mmmmm .. I can smell them baking already.

Looking for more inspiration for a Nordic høytiden … read my earlier posts here and here.

5 Favorite Nordic Christmas Recipes @EvaVarga.net

It’s a holiday hopscotch! Join the iHomeschool Network bloggers for more Christmas themed posts all week!

5 Favorite Nordic Christmas Recipes: Lefse

Each day this week, I will be sharing one of our favorite Scandinavian recipes for the holiday season or høytiden. Yesterday, I shared our favorite cookie recipe, Nordic Almond Bars. Today, we try something a little more complicated.

For many Norwegian-American families, the biggest Christmas treat isn’t foil-wrapped chocolate or sugar-dusted cookies. It’s lefse, a simple flatbread. It is made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk or cream. It is cooked on a griddle.

Lefse are sort of like soft tortillas, made mostly out of mashed potatoes (with a little fat and flour mixed in to form a tender dough). They’re usually spread with butter and sugar, or rolled up with a bit of lingonberry jam.

When we make them, we make them by the dozens. They freeze well and are the perfect way to eat up leftovers at Thanksgiving and Christmas – we simply roll em up.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for more information.

5 Favorite Christmas Recipes: Lefse @EvaVarga.netLefse

The following recipe comes from the Sons of Norway website; lodges across North America utilize a variation of this basic recipe each year for their annual lefse and bake sales.

Ingredients

10 Lbs. Russet Potatoes, peeled
1 Lb. Unsalted Sweetcream Butter (room temperature)
Salt
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

Materials Suggested

Electric Lefse Griddle by Bethany Housewares
Pastry Board and Cloth Set
Corrugated Wood Rolling Pin and 3-4 Rolling Pin Covers
Lefse Stick
Potato Ricer

Recipe

Step 1

Bring a large stock pot full of water to a boil. Cut your peeled potatoes 2-3 pieces depending on size and cook until they are tender. You may need to do multiple batches if you are using a smaller pot.

Step 2

Rice the cooked potatoes into a large bowl with your potato ricer. Once you have riced all of the potatoes cover and let them cool overnight in your refrigerator.

5 Favorite Christmas Recipes: Lefse @EvaVarga.netStep 3

Remove your potatoes from the refrigerator and let them warm slightly. Move approximately half of the riced potatoes to a smaller bowl. Add the flour in 1/4 cup increments, along with 1/2 stick of butter in chunks and 1 Tsp. salt. Knead the mixture until everything is well mixed. Test the consistency of your dough, you are looking for a texture similar to light pie dough. It should form into a ball without sicking to your hands and hold its shape without cracking if you press the dough ball lightly with your thumb.

If the dough feels too sticky add a little more flour, if it is too dry or is cracking when pressed add another couple pats of butter. Taste the Lefse dough as you go, it should taste like potatoes not flour. The dough should be slightly salty and buttery, but be careful not to over-do-it on the salt.

Warm your griddle to 400°F/200°C. If you are using a traditional lefse griddle remember to place it on a surface that will not be damaged by the high level of ambient heat. The heat from your lefse griddle could cause your stone counter top to crack or your laminate counter tops to delaminate. It is recommended that you use something to cover your countertop to help dissipate the heat.

5 Favorite Christmas Recipes: Lefse @EvaVarga.netStep 4

Form the finished potato mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. Flour a pastry board covered with a pastry cloth and rub the flour into the cloth. You want enough flour so that your lefse will not stick, but not so much that your lefse is completely covered in flour. Roll out your lefse on your pastry board until it is 1/8 inch thick. Using your lefse stick transfer the lefse to your griddle. Cook on the griddle until bubbles form and each side has browned. Place the lefse on a damp towel to cool slightly and then cover with a damp towel until ready to serve.

If you are storing the lefse, after it has cooled fold it in quarters and place 8-10 sheets into a 1 gallon freezer bag. Store in your freezer for upto 3 months. To thaw – remove from freezer, place on a plate covered with paper towels and allow to come to room temperature.

Tips

Making lefse takes practice. It may be helpful to watch a video tutorial or two. I have also written a Hub Page describing the process, How to Make Lefse. Better yet – contact your local Sons of Norway lodge. They may offer classes. 🙂

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Join me tomorrow when I share our annual tradition of making Norwegian Heart-Shaped Waffles!

Looking for more inspiration for a Nordic høytiden … read my earlier posts here and here.

5 Favorite Nordic Christmas Recipes @EvaVarga.net

It’s a holiday hopscotch! Join the iHomeschool Network bloggers for more Christmas themed posts all week!

5 Favorite Nordic Christmas Recipes: Nordic Almond Bars

My kids presently are working on earning their first Cultural Skills pin in cooking from Sons of Norway. They have opted to begin with Level 2: Baked Goods & Desserts and as the holiday season is upon us, I thought it the perfect Christmas Hopscotch.

Each day this week, I will be sharing one of our favorite Scandinavian recipes for the holiday season or høytiden. Try one and I guarantee you will want to make them all!

Christmas cookies are a must-have for any Christmas celebration and baking them at home is a great way to bring the family together. There are many wonderful cookie recipes in Norway some of the more popular cookies are:

  • pepperkaker or gingerbread,
  • krumkaker (waffle cookie curved in a cone shape),
  • sandkake or sand cakes that are simple short cake baked in molds and filled with jelly, and
  • fattigmann (poor man), a recipe that dates backs to over 100 years ago.

5 Favorite Christmas Recipes: Nordic Almond Bars @EvaVarga.netMy daughter’s favorite Nordic inspired cookies are Nordic Almond Bars and thus we begin …

Nordic Almond Bars

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
Almond Icing

Materials Suggested

Rolling Pin
Mixing Bowl
Pastry Brush
Electric Mixer
Cookie Sheet
Oven

5 Favorite Christmas Recipes: Nordic Almond Bars @EvaVarga.netRecipe

Step 1

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Stir together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until combined. Beat in egg and almond extract. Add flour mixture; beat until combined.

Step 2

Divide dough into four equal portions. Form each portion into a 12-inch long roll. Place two rolls 4 to 5 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Using your hands, flatten each roll until it is 3 inches wide. Repeat with the remaining rolls on another cookie sheet. Brush flattened rolls with milk and sprinkle with almonds. Bake one sheet at a time in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. While still warm, slice diagonally into 1-inch wide pieces. Transfer to wire racks; cool. Drizzle with Almond Icing. Makes 48.

5 Favorite Christmas Recipes: Nordic Almond Bars @EvaVarga.netAlmond Icing

In a small mixing bowl stir together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, and enough milk (3 – 4 teaspoons) to make an icing of drizzling consistency.

Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze undecorated cookies for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, then drizzle.

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Join me tomorrow when I share our annual tradition of making Lefse! What will I share later in the week? You’ll have to come back to see! ?

Looking for more inspiration for a Nordic høytiden … read my earlier posts here and here.

5 Favorite Nordic Christmas Recipes @EvaVarga.net

It’s a holiday hopscotch! Join the iHomeschool Network bloggers for more Christmas themed posts all week!

Rock Candy Tutorial: What NOT to Do

Whenever I teach introductory chemistry, one of my favorite activities is to create rock candy. Rock candy is formed by allowing a supersaturated solution of sugar and water to crystallize onto a surface suitable for crystal nucleation, such as a string or stick.

STEM Club kids were delighted the day I told them we were making rock candy in class. Sadly, our “experiment” didn’t turn out as expected.

How to Make Rock Candy @EvaVarga.net

Words to Know

Mixture :: A mixture is simply a combination of two or more substances that do not react to form something new.  For example, mud, cake batter, milk, salad, latex paint, black top (asphalt and gravel).  Mixtures are combinations of compounds that can be separated by mechanical or physical processes. If the atoms can only be separated with chemical reactions, they are complex molecules, not mixtures.

Solution :: A special kind of mixture called a solution is where mixing occurs at the molecular level.  Examples are sea water, Kool-Aid, antifreeze, seltzer water, and gasoline.

In a solution, one or more substances are dissolved into another substance.  In the example of Kool-Aid, the sugar and mix are dissolved into water.  The substance that gets dissolved is referred to as the solute.  The substance that dissolves a solute is referred to as the solvent. A solvent is usually a liquid but can also be a solid or a gas. In this example, Kool-Aid is the solute and water is the solvent.

All solutions are mixtures, but not all mixtures are solutions. Solutions are homogeneous mixtures (uniform in composition or character).

Saturated Solution :: A saturated solution is one in which no more solute can be dissolved.

Supersaturated Solution :: The physical properties of a compound can change when other substances or compounds are added.  The melting or boiling point can increase or in some cases decrease.  Raising the temperature of a compound (water for example) will enable you to dissolve more sugar into the solution.  This creates a super-saturated solution.

How to Make Rock Candy @EvaVarga.net

How to Make Rock Candy 

Materials

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp flavoring extract or oil (optional)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • glass jar
  • wooden skewer and a clothespin

Procedure

1. Wash a glass jar thoroughly with hot water to clean it. Wet the skewer, and roll it in granulated sugar. This base layer will give the sugar crystals something to “grab” when they start forming. Set the skewer aside to dry while you prepare your sugar syrup.

2. Place the water in a medium-sized pan and bring it to a boil. Begin adding the sugar, one cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Heating the water before adding the sugar allows more sugar to dissolve thus producing larger crystals.

You will notice that it takes longer for the sugar to dissolve after each addition. Continue to stir and boil the syrup until all of the sugar has been added and it is all dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. If you are using colors or flavorings, add them at this point. If you are using an extract, add 1 tsp of extract, but if you are using flavoring oils, only add ½ tsp. Add 2-3 drops of food coloring and stir to ensure even, smooth color.

4. Allow the sugar syrup to cool for approximately 10 minutes, then pour it into the prepared jar. Suspend the skewer into the solution about 1 inch from the bottom.

5. Carefully place your jar in a cool place, away from harsh lights, where it can sit undisturbed. Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap or paper towel.

7. You should start to see sugar crystals forming within 2-4 hours. If you have seen no change to your skewer or thread after 24 hours, try boiling the sugar syrup again and dissolve another cup of sugar into it, then pour it back into the jar and insert the string or skewer again.

8. Allow the rock candy to grow until it is the size you want. Once it has reached the size you want, remove it and allow it to dry for a few minutes, then enjoy or wrap in plastic wrap to save it for later.

Our Results & What We Learned

As we were underway, my thought was, “I don’t want a dozen jars of sticky sugar syrup on my counter for the next week or so. We may as well put all the skewers into the same jar – one for every student.”

I clearly didn’t think this through. As the water evaporated, the crystals grew and expanded. Eventually, they merged and even began to grow onto the sides of the jar. I was unable to remove the skewers and a few even broke off from the tension as I tried to pull them out.

I tried using a knife to break apart the crystals. I even placed the jar into a water bath in an attempt to reheat the solution and melt the crystals. Can you guess what happened?

Yep! The jar broke!! Even though it was a pressurized Kerr canning jar. Yikes!

We thereby learned it is best to suspend a single skewer into a glass of sugar solution to avoid crystal conglomeration. Keep an eye on the progress – don’t let it grow too large. You don’t want the crystals to reach the bottom or you’ll have difficulty removing the skewer.

Cultural Notes

Rock candy is a common ingredient in Chinese cooking, and many households have rock candy available to marinate meats and add to stir fry. It is used to sweeten Chrysanthemum tea and Cantonese dessert soups.  It is also an important part of the tea culture of East Frisia and Tamil cuisine in India.

Cool Chemistry

If you enjoyed this activity and would like to expand on the concepts introduced here, I encourage you to check out my 10-weekmultidisciplinary, hands-on chemistry curriculum, Physics Logic: Cool Chemistry.

In the Kitchen with Barnesklubb: Aebleskivers

In our home, the second Thursday of each month is all about Scandinavia.   This is the day our Barnesklubb (Scandinavian Kids Club) gathers to explore the culture and language of our shared ancestry.  Throughout the year we engage in a variety of activities – including weaving, Rosemaling, Orienteering, and painting.  This week, we made progress towards our Cultural Skills pin in Traditional Norwegian Cooking as we learned how to make aebleskiver.

This post contains affiliate links. 

BarnesklubbAccording to Wikipedia, Æbleskiver (Danish meaning apple slices, singularly is is written æbleskive) are traditional Danish pancakes in a distinctive shape of a sphere. Somewhat similar in texture to American pancakes crossed with a popover, Aebleskiver are solid like a pancake but light and fluffy like a popover. The English language spelling is usually aebleskiver or ebleskiver.

Aebelskiver (Traditional Recipe)

Mix together:
1-1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt

Beat together with a whisk or fork:
1 Cup Sour Milk or Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1 Cup Sour Cream

Combine with the dry and wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Put 1 tsp oil in each space in the ebelskiver pan and heat the pan until hot before adding batter. Cook until golden brown and turn over to cook the other side until golden brown. (Can be turned with a fork or two toothpicks.)

Serve hot, right out of the pan. Dip in powdered sugar. You can also fill the inside with apples or jam by placing a teaspoon of filling in the center as soon as the batter is put into the pan, then push it down into the batter a bit with a spoon.

<— This is a great book of ebleskiver recipes.  You might also like the recipe I found at Williams Sonoma, Spiced Apple Aebleskivers with Maple Whipped Cream. When we were in China, we saw something that looked a lot like aebleskivers.  As I researched to write this post, I think it may have been Japanese Takoyaki.  Takoyaki are similar but are generally savory rather than sweet.  Regardless of your preference for sweet or savory, you’ll need an aebleskiver pan.  I highly recommend a Cast Iron Pan, but less expensive varieties (cast aluminum) are available.  You can sometimes find these at second hand stores or garage sales.

For more information about the Sons of Norway’s Cultural Skills, see my post Lessons in Heritage and Cultural Skills.  For related youth activities, you may also be interested in following my Pinterest board, Barnesklubb.