An Old Regional Recipe for A Christmas Favourite
There are several cookies and cakes that one usually finds on the "kakebord" (cake table) at Christmas in Norway and sirupsnipper are a firm favourite. They are a crisp, spiced cookie with a thin base that snaps pleasingly when you break them.
This recipe is from an old book of regional specialities from Telemark and I loved the idea of cooking a seasonal favourite from a village that I like so much. The village of Heddal is right in the heart of rural Telemark and has a rather lovely claim to fame. It is home to one of Norway's most beautiful and probably most iconic stave churches. You can pretty much be sure that most photos of stave churches are of Heddal stavkirk. It's a large imposing building, made of tarred, black wood and embellished with incredible engravings of dragons and dragons heads. It really is something straight out of a fairy tale.
Traditionally sirupnipper are made in diamond shapes with fluted edges, but I've gone a little "off piste" with mine and made them in different shapes for the fun aspect. It is Christmas after all!!
If you're not a fan of nuts (or maybe have a nut allergy), you can leave the half almonds off the tops and try sprinkling a little demerara (raw cane) sugar on top before cooking for a crunch and added sweetness.
A note on the syrup I used. In Norway we have both light and dark syrup. Our light syrup is like the English golden syrup and the American corn syrup. The dark syrup is somewhat lighter than treacle or molasses. Although both of those would work in small amounts they might make it taste a little too strong.
Sirupsnipper fra Heddal
125g / 4 oz white granulated sugar
65g / 2.3 oz butter
250g / 9 oz syrup (I used a combination of both golden syrup and dark syrup)
125ml / 4.2 fl oz milk
440g / 15.5 oz plain, all purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
50g / 2 oz shelled, blanched almonds that have been split in half (optional)
In a large bowl sift together the flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt.
In a small pan, melt the butter with the sugar, syrup and milk. Once melted and blended add this to the dry ingredients and mix together well. It will be a bit on the soft side. Knead it slightly and wrap in film wrap or place in a box with a lid and refrigerate overnight or for several hours.
Preheat the oven to 160C / 320F
Line a few baking sheet with baking parchment or grease well.
After a few hours in the fridge, the dough will be much firmer and more manageable. Turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it very thin. I like to go for about 2mm thick at the most. Cut shapes of your choice and place on a baking sheet. Either firmly place an almond on top, or sprinkle with sugar and bake for about 4 minutes. Keep a close on eye on the cookies because they cook quickly. They should be a nice golden brown and just starting to turn a darker colour on the edges. Let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling and crisp up.
Store in a sealed box.
Vær så god!
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