Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sju Sorters Kakor, A Traditional Swedish Cookie Platter for #IntnlCookies #InternationalCookieExchange

Welcome to the International Cookie Exchange hosted by Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere and Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla - that's me! 

Today a group of cookie-loving food bloggers is sharing recipes for cookies from around the globe. Get ready to break out your mixing bowl, because these recipes are sure to inspire you to fill your cookie jar with cultural treats! 

You can follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #IntnlCookies, and you can find these great recipes and more cookies from around the world on the International Cookie Exchange Pinterest Board.

When my blogging friend Sarah at Curious Cuisiniere asked what I thought about an International Cookie Exchange, I was excited. Cookie baking is an annual tradition for me and my boys. We love making cookie platters; I love the international aspect of this blogging event. Yes, yes, yes!

To Sweden
When I was discussing the cookies with my Kitchen Elves, they wanted to pick something that was meaningful to their heritage. On my side, well, that's all Filipino. But, on my husband's side, they had some more choices. Grandma, Jake's mom, is half Swedish and half Portuguese; Poppa, Jake's dad, is your basic American mutt, but we think Irish and German at least. We researched some cookies from Portugal, Ireland, and Germany. Then we decided we liked the Swedish tradition of Sju sorters kakor. It's a custom of serving seven kinds of cookies at the “kafferep” (coffee partes).

Why seven?
I just accepted the number of cookies, but began to wonder about the significance of the number. Italians, for example, serve different numbers of seafood dishes on Christmas eve; the number depends on the regions. The Calabrese tradition says twelve kinds of fish. And when I asked a friend from Calabria, he said it was because there are twelve apostles. Other Italians say seven.

So I started looking at the number seven. In Sweden, young girls traditionally placed seven kinds of flowers to put under their pillows on Midsummer to dream about their husband-to-be. In the Bible, God created the world in seven days. Rome was built by seven kings. And, according to Islam, Allah created seven heavens. And there are seven wonders of the ancient world. 

Okay, I'm no closer to the answer of 'why seven?' Just humor me. 

And I never did find a definitive list of seven traditional cookies for the Sju Sorters Kakor. There were four recipes or so whose names recurred. I didn't get to all four traditional Swedish cookies, but I tackled a couple for this post. Pepperkakor and Speculaas will be coming soon.

Lingonsyltgrottor is my version of the traditional Hallongrottor ('raspberry caves'). I had raspberries,
but found lingonberry jam and couldn't resist. And, to any Swedish speakers out there, if I completely destroyed the name (I relied on Google translate), my apologies.

Ingredients makes approximately 30
  • 3/4 C butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C ground almonds
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 t vodka
  • 1 t cold water
  • lingonberry jam 

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the egg yolks until incorporated. Stir in the flour, ground almonds, and ground cardamom until a flaky dough is formed. Add in the zest, water, and vodka, gently working the dough until it forms a ball.

Pinch off pieces of dough and form into small balls, about the size of a walnut in its shell. Place each ball onto the baking stone or baking sheet, pressing a "thumbprint" into the center of each and slightly flattening. The cookies will not spread, so make them the size that you want!

Spoon about 1/2 t lingonberry jam to each thumbprint. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cookies cool for several minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Drömmar means 'dreams' and these cookies are always on a cookie tray when sju sorters kakor are served.

Ingredients makes approximately 40
  • 1 C butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2  organic granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C rice flour (okay, rice flour is not traditional, but I wanted to make a gluten-free cookie for a friend)
  • 1-1/2 C unsweetened shredded dried coconut
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t almond extract
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the egg yolks until incorporated. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and almond extract until combined well. Stir in coconut.  Press together until the dough forms a ball. Use a small scoop and place dough onto a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet.

Bake cookies until pale golden around edges, approximately 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

I decided to skip the Speculaas Cookies since Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere  will be sharing her recipe. I will try her version soon! But I did take some of the speculaas molds from my mom and dad's house when we were there for Thanksgiving. I can't wait to try my hand with these. I loved speculaas when I was a kid living in Holland.

Plus Five...
Okay, that's it for now...but as holiday baking has just commenced, you'll be seeing lots more cookies from my kitchen. Stay tuned. But to round out my seven, for the Sju Sorters Kakor, here are some of our favorite cookie are below. Just click on the recipe name to go to the original recipe post on my blog.

What are your favorite holiday cookies? 
Do they come from another country?


  1. How interesting all the times 7 pops up in history. I have heard that in ancient times 7 was considered the number of perfection. Maybe that has something to do with it... Thanks for jumping on board with the International Cookie Exchange idea. I'm loving all the countries we covered! And now, I need to go find some Lingonberry Jam!

    1. Do you have a Cost Plus in your area? I have gotten it there before.

  2. I am so impressed that you've prepared all these goodies for a Swedish cookie platter! I love that you developed one into a gluten free cookie. Thanks so much for inviting me to participate in this! I'm loving all of these different cookies.

    1. Thank you, Renee! I can't wait to try your Alfajores.

  3. I just don't know where you get all your energy Cam. You truly amaze me.

    1. I don't sleep! ;) No, I get my energy from my mom.

  4. I join everybody, I am amazed of all the work you have done to put together this platter!thank you for sharing!

  5. It's fun to investigate your heritage through cooking - especially cookies! So many cookies to choose from, love it! And thanks for hosting this fun event.

    1. Thank you, Lauren, the cookies from Puerto Rico. I'll have to tell you a story about how that country makes it into our "family heritage" by hospital error!

  6. Such a delicious assortment of cookies! Thanks for hosting this event! It was so much fun.


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