No holiday gathering in Scandinavian or Scandinavian-American households would be complete without a selection of at least seven elegant seasonal cookies, tarts, and small cakes. Here are seven traditional favorites to serve at your next gathering. Most of them can be prepared and frozen ahead of time, making it easy to offer a rich variety both in your home or for gifting to your favorite people.
Although made of almost the same ingredients as Goro, Fattigman, or "Poor Man Cookies" are twisted into pretty knots, quickly fried, and sprinkled with vanilla sugar or confectioner's sugar. They're a favorite in Norway and Sweden, and easy to prepare either with a special fattigman cutter or with a pastry cutter.
Actually, every Swedish grandmother in America has a similar version of Grandmother's Jelly Cookies (in Swedish, "Mormor's Syltkakor"); they probably shared the recipe on the boat to Ellis Island. Filled with currant jam and dusted with pearl sugar, these cookies have been a favorite in our family for five generations.
7. Sand Cakes
Called "Sandbakkelser" in Swedish and "Sandkakor" in Norwegian, sand cakes are formed in pretty fluted tins, quickly baked, and then served either inverted to highlight their beautiful shapes or else used as tart shells for both sweet and savory fillings. Try filling them with mincemeat or pumpkin butter for a bite-sized alternative to belly-jiggling helpings of holiday pie.