I’m heading out the door this morning to go make lefse with some of the ladies in my Daughters of Norway lodge and I’m so very excited about it! I’ve been warming up my muscles this week making these delicious and festive Fattigman cookies, because there will be so much lefse rolling going on I’m going to need all the help I can get. Each December we plan to meet a day or so before our Christmas party to make, roll and bake copious amounts of lefse to sell at our bake sale. It goes without saying that all of the lefse we make sells out, every year. We call it Norwegian gold. There is just something about homemade lefse that turns normal, sane and law abiding citizens into crazed and slightly greedy lefse hoarders.
I’ve been a member (and former President too) of a local Daughters of Norway lodge for many years in our area. It started when my kids were little and I wanted an opportunity to continue to share with them the traditions of our heritage and have the chance to spend time with people that shared those similar interests. It’s just been a fabulous experience, sharing with and learning from ladies who have so much knowledge to give. The preparation of Scandinavian food has always played a large part in our meetings and serves as the main focus of many of our events. I view each of these opportunities a treasure.
This recipe is one that is traditionally made in Scandinavia at Christmas time and one that many Scandinavians have many fond memories of. It’s most common to Norway and Sweden but I have a Danish friend that says they made it while she was growing up too. Fattigman, means Poor Man’s cookie and truly I’ve not met anyone who can tell me how or why it came to be called that. I’ll I know is that they’re amazing.
What are they exactly? Cardamom scented dough, rolled thin and cut into diamond shapes, shaped then fried in oil with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. A bit more effort than your typical cookie but oh so worth it. Fattigman cookie rollers are pretty widely available so if you are at all interested in making these again and again I’d strongly encourage you to pick one up. If you don’t want to go to that trouble, you can easily make the cookies by cutting them in triangles and making a slit in the middle. This charming video will give you an idea how to do it. The cutter uniformly cuts the dough into triangles and conveniently provides a slit in the middle. To make their trademark shape you simply pull one corner through the hole made by the slit.
In my mind it’s simply not Christmas unless we make these. Some years I question if they are worth the trouble, but deep down I know that they are. They’re like the strings that bind our past, our heritage to us in these modern times. Little anchors that remind us about what’s important this time of year.
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- 1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
- 1 T. sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 tbsp. heavy cream
- 1 T. melted butter
- 1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
- vegetable oil for frying
- 2 C. confectioners sugar
- In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour and sugar. Pulse briefly. Add the egg, egg yolks, heavy cream, melted butter and cardamom. Pulse to combine thorougly.
- Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll dough on a floured board to 1/8" thickness and cut using a fattigman cutter or cut into diamond shapes and make a vertical slit in the middle 1/2" long.
- Pull one pointed end of the diamond through the slit in the center until both edges in the middle curl. Set aside, and preheat oil to 375 degrees.
- Fry 8 cookies at a time and drain and cool on a paper towel lined baking sheet.
- Once cool cover generously with powdered sugar. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container up to 1 week.