Baking Cookies – A Christmas Tradition

Of course I have cardamom. I’m Swedish.


Quotes like that are quotes from moments when you realize you have made the right choice in friends to share holiday traditions.

Krumkake and Sanbakels

Once upon a time, long ago, my relatives would gather on an annual basis to make Krumkake, Sandbakkelse and Fattigmann. We’d play Christmas classic songs, decorate with Nisse and spend the day pressing dough and flipping the iron on the stove. I loved it.

But then I grew up and moved way far away.

Lucky for me, I had a friend in my new home who was strong on Nordic traditions, and Betsy, too, had an iron and tins (and a bunch of kids). For well over a decade she and I would spend a day making cookies together. I stopped making Fattigmann, but the Krumkaka and Sandbakkelse are going strong. Can’t believe I never blogged about it. The time each year was a treasure.

Then I moved again.

And the kids moved out.

It didn’t seem important to make the cookies for a few years, but I missed it.

This year I decided to get back to the tradition. I mean, really, we can mail cookies to kids, right? I asked our friend Mark (also of Scandinavian descent) if he wanted was into a cookie-baking day. He is near our Massachusetts home, and we don’t have an oven in our place there. To my great delight, he was into the experience.

Last time I left NY, I made sure my iron and tins were packed, but I messed up and forgot my cardamom. Hence the quote from the top of this post. Mark totally rescued the cookie-baking process with his cupboard stash. Cardamom is an essential ingredient in the cookie-making endeavors.

Do you know someone who just simply has the talent of being a great host? That’s Mark. The second you arrive at his place, you feel super welcomed. He had Norwegian Christmas music playing and had set up a table in the kitchen so we could prepare the cookies.

Funny thing is that Betsy and I used to bake all day for our families, making multiple batches. It was a bit jarring for me to have the entire process only take 2.5 hrs for the limited supply that fits our world, now. Still better than nothing, though.

Since the Krumkake cookies are made one-by-one, there is plenty of time to relax and connect with others. When I wasn’t talking with Chris and Mark, I was texting Betsy and the kiddos. It felt like they were all part of the process, and it made me really happy.

I will try to share recipes for the Sandbakkelse cookies and the Krumkake. I’m waiting to get permission from the people who gave me the recipes.

The snow outside the window contributed to holiday vibes while a pot of stew simmered on the stove, teasing us with dinner aromas. We enjoyed yakking while the cookies baked then went outside to watch the sunset (which ended up not being visible due to cloud coverage, but it was still nice to be outside). If you listen to the video above, you can hear the snap of the fire, the breeze and some lovely wind chimes. The moon rising was beautiful as well.

When we were a bit chilled, we headed inside to divvy up the cookies and to enjoy the stew as we watched an old pirate film. Mark’s cat came out for some food, and I grabbed a snuggle. It was all so perfect.

The day was truly delightful, and it feels really good to have traditions continue with new friends and in new places. I hope we can do it again next year.

5 responses to “Baking Cookies – A Christmas Tradition”

  1. I could almost smell the cardamom. Oh, wait. I keep it in the cupboard. I wish I’d bake cookies, but I have to make the Christmas pudding first.

  2. Ahhh, family traditions. I too have been missing them this year. At some point I need to find my counterpart to “Mark” and spend some time making biscotti and peanut butter blossoms. <3

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