We Americans come from all over the world and while I’ve always known that my ancestry is largely from Britain and Ireland, I feel that I’m now becoming slightly Scandinavian. To wit, my husband is of Norwegian and Swedish descent and hence, my children as well, and after searching through genealogy sites I find that I am distantly related to King Haakon that once ruled Norway and Sweden. I take that last qualification with a grain of salt, by the way! Additionally, after a recent visit to Stockholm, I found that sparkling city to be so charming that I feel I could happily live there. To top it off, if I’m making lefse this Christmas season, doesn’t that make me slightly Scandinavian?
As Scottish and Irish as my mom was, every Christmas she would make King Haakon (yes, that King Hakkon) cookies, which are essentially biscotti. They can be flavored with cardamom, almonds or anise seed, although my mom always chose the latter. To celebrate my newfound heritage, I’m making these tasty treats this holiday season. To remind me of Stockholm, I’m dipping my cookies in white chocolate and tiny white sprinkles, as I imagine the city to be covered in lovely snow by now. Of course, as I bake I’ll also be reminded of my mom who has been gone a year now. She always loved this time of year.
King Haakon Cookies
½ cup melted butter
¾ cup sugar
2 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom *
In a large bowl combine butter, eggs, sugar, flour baking powder, salt and flavoring. Form dough into 3 long rolls on a greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles or cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 325°F for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly and slice diagonally ½-inch thick. Place on the cookie sheet and toast in oven for 1 hour at 200°F or until lightly browned. Makes 3 dozen
* or substitute 1½ teaspoons anise seed or 2 teaspoons almond extract (if using almond extract: ¼ cup chopped almonds, toasted in microwave for 3 minutes or until browned)