Honningkaker, one of Norway's Oldest Recipes
Updated: Apr 27
I love really old recipes, especially if they have remained unchanged through the years (or decades, or more!). Why fix was isn't broken?!
Honningkaker is the Norwegian version of the French pain d'epices and is a slightly spiced honey cake. It's a popular cake for Christmas time, but in my opinion anything with honey in it deserves a place all year round.
The recipe is probably one of the oldest Norwegian cake recipes still around and it was even made during the Middle Ages. The recipe I'm sharing with you is a bit younger than that. It is from a book called "Nyeste Kogebog" and was published in 1889. Although it's called a "cake" this recipe is more like a cookie, with a slightly crisp exterior and soft chewy middle. I was inspired to share this recipe from a slightly obscure book that my local library was giving away. The book is called "Til Bord Med Ibsen" (At the Table with Ibsen). It's a really interesting read, if you are food obsessed like me! And I am sure I will have some more recipes to share from there in the near future...
So enough talking. Here is the recipe for honningkaker. Let me know how you get on with them.
Honningkaker (makes approximately 16 cookies)
125g/ 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp honey
50ml/ 3 1/2 tbsp milk
125g/ 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
500g/ 3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
125g/ 1 stick butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 180C/375F
Gently warm the honey with the milk. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub in the butter. Once your mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, gradually add the milk and honey, mixing together to form a dough. You will probably find it's a bit grainy at this stage. That's OK, just turn it out onto a board and knead it all together gently until you have a ball of dough.
Roll out the dough to 5mm thick and cut into rounds about 4-5cm across. I tried both fluted cutters and plain cutters and found that the smooth edge of a plain cutter helped the cookies to cook better. If you don't have a cutter that size you can use a glass or a cup. Place on a baking tray that has either been greased or is lined with greaseproof paper and bake for about 5-10 minutes. They should be a light golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating.
Vær så god!
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