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Archive for November, 2017

Swedish Toffee Shortbread Slices (Skurna Knäckkakor)

Friday, November 17th, 2017

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Patrice Johnson is a Nordic food geek and meatball historian who loves to give old Scandinavian recipes a modern spin. Her new book is  Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions.

In exploring these holiday customs, Patrice begins with her own family’s Christmas Eve gathering, which involves a combination of culinary traditions: allspice-scented meatballs, Norwegian lefse served Swedish style (warm with butter), and the American interloper, macaroni and cheese. Just as she tracks down the meanings behind why her family celebrates as it does, she reaches into the lives and histories of other Swedish Americans with their own stories, their own versions of traditional recipes, their own joys of the season. The result is a fascinating exploration of the Swedish holiday calendar and its American translation.

Here’s her recipe for Skurna Knäckkakor or Swedish Toffee Shortbread Slices:

When I tested this recipe, I ate half of the batch before it was completely cooled. It was important to rid the house of the remaining cookies immediately so that I didn’t finish them all. These are the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. They have a dense texture with a hint of toffee. You have been warned.

02-11-toffee-shortbread1

¼ cup raw, unpeeled almonds

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon light or dark corn syrup

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ cups pastry flour

¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Process nuts in food processor or use nut grater to create a medium- to fine-textured meal. Blend all ingredients together, first using electric mixer at low speed for 1 to 2 minutes and then finishing by hand to form a dough. Divide into 2 to 3 equal parts. Using hands, roll each into a log 10 to 12 inches long, place on prepared baking sheets, and flatten into a rectangle. Bake for 12 minutes. While still warm, use a dough scraper to cut each rectangle diagonally into thin slices.

MAKES 50 COOKIES