Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Season

“Christmas is coming, 
the geese are getting fat. 
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.  
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha-penny will do.  
If you haven’t got a ha-penny, 
Then God bless you!”

I woke up the other morning with this 19th century Christmas Song running through my head, and I thought it perfect for the season.  It reminds us that not only is this the season of celebration, but also a time for charity to be given to the less fortunate.

It also is a reminder that you should definitely come to Harbor History Museum, bringing your family, friends, and especially children on Friday, December 12 at 4:00 to 6:30 PM.  Why?  Because you will be able to enjoy a festive family night learning about the Feast of St. Lucia, the Bringer of the Light.  It’s an evening of Scandinavian culture, sights, sounds and tastes of the holiday season.  There will be all sorts of crafts and activities for all guests.  There is a token fee for tickets:  Adults 18 and up of $3; Children 7-17 $2 and children under 5 are free.  You don’t want to miss “Light Up The Night”.

Speaking of tastes, I did a little research on some Scandinavian holiday treats for you in case you want to bake up some goodies to have on hand for your family and guests.  And, of course, check out the Gift Shop at the museum for cookbooks with many, many more recipes.  (But, I’ve also included some Croatian recipes as well.)

Icelandic Rolled Cookies (Fred Bjornson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

2/3 cup sugar        1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup softened butter 1 beaten egg yolk
1 1/4 to 2 cups flour Sugar for sprinkling

Cream butter and sugar together.  Combine 1 1/4 cups flour and baking powder; add to butter mixture.  Mix well.  Roll out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes.  Place cookies on greased baking sheet.  Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Asa’s Kleinur (Fred Bjornson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

1 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons cardamom
1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs beaten         2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cream         5 to 6 cups flour

Combine first 5 ingredients.  Sift together cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 5 cups flour.  Add to buttermilk mixture with enough flou to make a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 1/3 inch strips.  Cut a slit into the center of each strip.  Twist one end of strip through the hole.  Fry in oil like doughnuts until golden brown.

Krumkaker (Cone Cookies) (Geraldine Ackerman)

1 cup whipping cream 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar        1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup flour

Mix together.  Heat krumkaker iron on stove, using medium high heat.  Put teaspoon of batter in center of iron.  Cook one minute on each side.  Remove from iron; roll on handle of wooden spoon to shape ice cream cone.  Cookie should be light brown.  Store in airtight container for up to one month.  

Finnish Sticks (Katherine Franich)

3/4 cup butter 1 egg, well beaten
1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
1 teaspoon almond flavoring 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups sifted flour

Cream butter and sugar well.  Stir in almond flavoring.  Add flour and mix thoroughly.  Roll round lengths with hands about the thickness of a finger (8 strips).  Put lengths real close together.  Brush with pastry brush with be aten egg and sprinkle with a mixture of almonds and sugar.  Cut into 1 1/2 inch strips.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Makes about 50 cookies.

Berlinerkranser (Norwegian)

1 cup powdered sugar 3 cups flour
1 cup butter 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs          egg white
sugar for dipping

Cream sugar, butter and eggs together.  Sift together flour and baking powder.  Add to sugar mixture; mix well.  Roll pieces of dough into rope about the size of a pencil, about 4 inches long. Cross the ends and dip the top into egg white and then into sugar.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 375 for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Hrustule (Mary Sunich)

1/2 lb. butter 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6-8 eggs (take out 4 whites) 1 tablespoon anise oil
6-8 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar enough flour so dough is like bread dough

Roll out practically paper thin, cut in strips 4-5 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, tie in loops and fry in deep fat until golden - drain on paper toweling and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Both Scandinavians and Croatians make Strudel for the holidays, and as best as I can tell, the recipes are very similar.  I’m not sure if the Scandinavians put the prunes and raisins in theirs, and some people use fill for the pastry dough.   Here is Ann Stancic’s recipe:

Strudel Pastry (Ann Stancic)

3 cups all purpose flour Cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Crisco

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder into large bowl.  Cut shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add water, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring lightly until just dampened.  If necessary, add a little more water to make dough hod together.  Form into ball.  Cover with a cool, damp cloth.  Chill about 1/2 hour.  Divide pastry into thirds.  Roll out 1/3 of dough on lightly floured board or canvas to form a 16 X 9 inch rectangle.  Spread filling over rectangle and roll up like jelly roll, place in a greased and lightly floured 15 X 10 inch jelly roll pan.  Repeat with remaining 2/3 of pastry.  Bake at 375 for 60 minutes.  Brush with powdered sugar after baked and let cool.

Strudel Filling (Ann Stancic)

12 apples 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup pitted & chopped prunes 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dark seedless raisins 1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 oranges 1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 lemon        1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup sugar 2 cups chopped walnuts

Peel, core and cook 12 apples.  Cook primes separately, add sugar, raisins, grated rind and juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon.  Add spices, flavoring and walnuts.  Combine with cooked apples and set aside to cool.

So, here are a few recipes to get you into the holiday season.  I have not made any of these recipes, but many others have and they had lasted through the years.  You can always try just one new recipe along with all your traditional recipes.  Happy Holidays!

Recipes from Gig Harbor Women’s Auxiliary of there GH Fishermen’s Civic Club 1970
Scandinavian Cooking in the Museum Gift Shop
Croatian Cookery in the Museum Gift Shop 

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