Kakemenn – Norwegian christmas cookies

Kakemenn is always a favourite among the kids. It’s sweet, very mild in taste and, like the pepperkaker, they are shaped in various recognisable figures. They are very easy to make and the ingredients are items you most likely already have in your cupboards. Kakemenn is to me important come christmas, and I never go a year without making them.

Kakemenner

The recipe is very straightforward and easy. Just mix all ingredients together (but do feel free to reduce the recipe – we used about half this year):

1 kg of white wheat flour
0,5 kg of sugar
4 teaspoons of horn salt (“Horn salt (also hartshorn) is used in traditional Norwegian baked goods as a leavening agent. Modern horn salt is ammonium bicarbonate.In the USA it can be purchased at the pharmacy” says this site)
85 grams of butter
4 dl of milk

Kakemenn'As with the pepperkake-dough, the kakemenn-dough must also be cold before it’s easy to work with. The dough doesn’t need to be as thin as the pepperkake dough, I would set the thickness of it to double that of the pepperkaker, see this post. The kakemenn are baked at 200 degrees until they get a wee bit of a tan. They should still be white-ish, so about the colour of a Scandinavian in April would do.

Never stand too close to the oven when opening the oven-door, and never get the horn salt too close to your nose. You have been warned! (sneezing and swearing could occur!)

Kakemenn – Christmas cookies

Kakemenn is always a favourite among the kids. It’s sweet, very mild in taste and, like the pepperkaker, they are shaped in various recognisable figures. They are very easy to make and the ingredients are items you most likely already have in your cupboards. Kakemenn is to me important come christmas, and I never go a year without making them.

The recipe is very straightforward and easy. Just mix all ingredients together (but do feel free to reduce the recipe – we used about half this year):

  • 1 kg of white wheat flour
  • 0,5 kg of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of horn salt (“Horn salt (also hartshorn) is used in traditional Norwegian baked goods as a leavening agent. Modern horn salt is ammonium bicarbonate.In the USA it can be purchased at the pharmacy” says this site)
  • 85 grams of butter
  • 4 dl of milk

As with the pepperkake-dough, the kakemenn-dough must also be cold before it’s easy to work with. The dough doesn’t need to be as thin as the pepperkake dough, I would set the thickness of it to double that of the pepperkaker, see this post. The kakemenn are baked at 200 degrees until they get a wee bit of a tan. They should still be white-ish, so about the colour of a Scandinavian in April would do.

Pictures for the blog are according to Son better if they also show a playmobil pirate, the standard of my photos has thus been raised. You're welcome!

Never stand too close to the oven when opening the oven-door, and never get the horn salt too close to your nose. You have been warned! (sneezing and swearing could occur!)

Pepperkaker – Ginger Bread

There is nothing that bring out the christmas feeling in me as baking christmas cookies with the family. Son, Husband and I spent an evening together making ginger bread cookies and what translates directly as cake men. I’ll get back to those in a different post.

Pepperkaker translates directly to ‘pepper cakes/cookies’, pepper as in black pepper. In Norwegian there is no word for cookies, we have ‘kake’, which means cake (doh) and also cover most cookies. The Norwegian word for biscuits, ‘kjeks’ (pronounces ‘sheks’ by me, but which should be pronounced with an initial palatal k-like sound (a fricative), which you also find in German ‘ich’ – kjeks would rhyme with shrek, but with a final s). ‘Kjeks’ then cover other types of cookies and, obviously, also biscuits.


The recipe I use for ‘pepperkaker’ is one going back a few generations. I would like to say it’s very straight forward, but I almost messed up this year (I managed to fix it though and save the day) so I would recommend you to follow the recipe (almost) step by step. You probably want to reduce this recipe though, or you’ll be eating pepperkaker until next summer:

  • 150 g butter (or margarine)
  • 5 dl sugar

Dice the butter and leave it on the counter until it’s tempered and soft. Whisk it with the sugar until it’s white and fluffy. Then add the remaining ingredients:

  • 2 dl of sirup
  • 2 dl of water
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1,5 litres (850g) of wheat flour

Mix it al together. The machine will help you to some extent, but will eventually start tearing the dough apart and crumbling it. Knead it together then by hand, add a bit of water if that proves difficult, and leave it somewhere cold (fridge is perfect) for at least a few hours before baking.

The figures should only be a few millimetres thick, so make sure you roll the dough out thin. Husband illustrates quite well how thick it should be (Dude is talented when it comes to rolling out that dough!)

The cookies are done after 5-7 minutes at 200 degrees in a pre-heated oven. You should time these cookies as it’s not all that easy to see when they’ve got the right colour. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Son's showing off a cookie shaped like a cat

Christmas cookies

I never posted anything about the christmas cookies we baked. I assume I’ll wait with the details for another, say, eleven months or so, but I wanted to post a few pictures of what we made last month just to show you a teaser of Norwegian christmas cookie traditions.

One of the classics are ‘cakemen’. Name is pretty self-explanatory, we make cookies in the shape of men and women. Son loves these and every time he sees something that reminds him of these he’ll ask for a ‘cakeman’.

I baked these for the very first time this yule. It’s my grandmother’s recipe (my father’s mom) and all her six grandchildren crave these cookies for the yule season. I am quite pleased with how mine turned out, but they weren’t as good as hers.

Lussekatter is baked on the 13th of December and resemble things associated with St Lucia, who we celebrate on that day. We have made it a tradition to make them on the eve of December 12, but I’ll get back to that again in almost a year’s time.

 

Catch up again in about a year and I’ll have more details for you on yule cookies. Hopefully I’ll see you around in the months before until then as well. Have great evening 🙂