Is it too soon to talk about Yule? For the fanatical, not before American Thanksgiving or please not until December types, you might want to skip today’s post and catch back up with me tomorrow for WiP Wednesday. If you can, though, bear with me. Yule is going to be loads of fun, but this sort of stuff takes planning, people! Weeks of planning. As in, I probably should have started last week. Don’t panic, though, I think there’s still enough time.
Like any good member of my family, my first thought has gone to the baked goods. Growing up cookie baking was HUGE. You simply could not have the holiday season without cookies and preferably as many different kinds as possible. On my Mom’s side of the family, we’d get together at her mom’s house for a great cookie baking extravaganza. I don’t remember how many different kinds of cookies there were, but there were several including things like Fudge, Rocky Road, and Chocolate Covered Peanuts (including string one year!). It was a long day and each family would head home with their own tins full of an assortment by the time the day was over.
On my Dad’s side of the family, his mom was fastidious about making sure that there were a wide variety of Christmas cookies to sample for Christmas Eve dinner. There were things like sugar cookies, pfeffernuse, krumkake, and rosettes. I have no idea how many hours she spent in the kitchen baking or cooking for Christmas Eve dinner. I suspect it was on the order of hours. I have her rosette irons, and I may just get to that this year. Maybe. It involves hot oil, though, and that kind of scares me. Krumkake should be easier, although I have none of the equipment. I’d have to buy that, but, maybe.
In previous years I’ve tried to mirror our Yule tradition on something my ancestors may have done. A few years ago, while reading a blog by a Minnesotan turned Norwegian ex-pat, I discovered that the practice of making several different kinds of cookies has deep roots. The Norwegian idea being that you have at least seven, but maybe more and always in an odd number. Kathleen Stokker also talks about it in her book called “Keeping Christmas: Yueltide Traditions in Norway and the New Land.” Stokker calls it sju slags and I’m definitely stealing that for my own.
Ladies, gentlemen, and whomever else might be interested, now begins our sju slag planning. Well, ok, I’m only going to call it that when I’m writing because I have zero idea how one would go about pronouncing it. Heh. Moving on.
Molasses Crinkles? Chocolate Crinkles? Chocolate-mint Crinkles?
Pillow Cookies? Definitely Pillow Cookies. Maybe this year I’ll get the illusive red instead of pink variety. Grandma Iwert’s pfeffernuse, too. This time I’m going with the recipe that includes anise oil because now I know where to buy it. Definitely Grandma Anderson’s sugar cookies. They have oil and butter in them, go figure, but they are the most tender, melt in your mouth sorts of things. The husband likes the cakey, almost biscuit like, sour cream sugar cookies, but I’ll make those for Valentine’s Day instead. From there I’d like to pull on my ancestry a bit. There is a great deal of overlap between European Christmas cookie traditions (most have a version of pfeffernuse) which will make things a little easier. A couple of years ago I found a recipe for Norwegian Christmas Pepper Cookies that was delightful and will be on the list again this year.
I’m definitely going to include White Beer Cookies for their oh-so-traditional beer ingredient. No, really, beer is a traditional sort of thing for Yule. You really can’t go wrong with citrus and coriander for this time of year, either. There will also be a batch of St. Nicholas Day Cookies because that’s a tradition as old as this blog. I’ve changed the recipe a bit since I first made them back in 2008, but the idea is still the same.
I think that leaves room on the list for new things like Spiced Stars, Chocolate Mint Squares, Fiori Glitter Cookies, Christmas Bon Bons, Classic Linzers, and Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. In other words, pages H3 and H5 in the King Arthur Flour Holiday Preview 2012 catalog.
What about shortbread though? Would it be odd if I made shortbread just because I really want the shortbread pan?
Talk about making a list and checking it twice. The fictional fat, old guy’s got nothing on me.