Category Archives: Scandinavian

Swedish Jitterbug Cookies

I’m getting my Christmas baking started, and I want to try some new cookies this year.  I’m going to post them as I bake them.  I’m trying cookies from different cookbooks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These Swedish Jitterbug Cookies come from Swedish Cakes and Cookies by Skyhorse Publishing.  These are tasty cookies, but they are a bit messy to make.  The recipe in this book calls for one egg yolk in the dough, but you must put two egg yolks in the dough or your dough will not roll.  It’s better though because you use two egg whites for the meringue so waste not want not.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
These cookies have a nice buttery shortbread taste and a sweet chewiness from the meringue.  They are addictive!

Advertisements

Sweets Week: Day 3: FIKA

FIKA is a Swedish coffee shop that makes its own pastries in house.  While I don’t drink coffee, I do eat pastries.  And the pastries here are delicious.  They are Swedish-inspired like almond marzipan pastry and Swedish cinnamon buns.  I got the almond marzipan pastry, the graham cracker chocolate with hazelnut cream filling and a chocolate spice biscotti.   They also have chocolate truffles in flavors like lingonberry.  In addition to the selection of Swedish pastries, they also have chocolate chip cookies, brownies and croissants, and they serve food.  While you can sit in FIKA, it is small and has the feel of a takeout coffee shop rather than a place to sit and linger.  All of these treats were delicious, but my favorite was the firm yet chewy biscotti.

2013-10-28_20-14-13_821

Review & Giveaway of New York Sweets: A Sugarhound’s Guide to the Best Bakeries, Ice Cream Parlors, Candy Shops, and Other Emporia of Delicious Delights

NewYorkSweets_cover

New York Sweets: A Sugarhound’s Guide to the Best Bakeries, Ice Cream Parlors, Candy Shops, and Other Emporia of Delicious Delights by Susan Meisel, published by Rizzoli on April 2, 2013, is a comprehensive listing of all the places to get your sugar fix in NYC.  Whether you are an ice cream person, a bakery person or a candy person, there is something in this book for you.  Personally, I tend to lean toward ice cream and bakeries.  The book includes some of my faves:  Doughnut Plant, Jacques Torres, Payard, Villabate, L’arte Del Gelato, Sockerbit, Tea & Sympathy, Vosges, Ferrara and Van Leeuwen. This is one of those books I wish I had written!  The book is divided into neighborhoods, so you can do a sweets tour in each NYC ‘hood!  I want to try Puddin’ on St. Mark’s Place–a shop with puddings and toppings.  There’s plenty of eye candy in the hardcover book with color photos of goodies from all the shops listed and recipes for you to try at home.

If you are in New York and have never been, the Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th Street is worth a trip.  I love this store.  Rizzoli has wonderful art and photography books and a great international magazine section.

You can win a copy of this fun book by entering the giveaway.  If you win, Rizzoli will ship you a free copy of New York Sweets: A Sugarhound’s Guide to the Best Bakeries, Ice Cream Parlors, Candy Shops, and Other Emporia of Delicious Delights by Susan Meisel.

To enter the giveaway:

Leave a comment below, answering this question:

What is your favorite sweet shop or bakery?  (It doesn’t have to be in New York).

For additional entries, become a fan on Facebook or sign up for my Tweets on Twitter and let me know you signed up in a separate comment.  One winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, April 12.  Contest closes on Thursday, April 11 at 12 PM EST.  (Rizzoli will ship the book to the winner.  U.S. residents only.)  Winner will be contacted via email, so please be sure to include your email address in the field when you leave your comment (it will not be visible to the public).  Good luck!

Contest is closed.

Swedish and Norwegian Christmas Fairs

This weekend, the Swedish Seamen’s Church and the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Manhattan are holding their annual Christmas fairs.  I hit the Norwegian fair first.  This one’s a little off the beaten path on E. 52nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

Have some glogg, available in the foyer, as you watch the train.

train

In the main room, there are knitted goods, Christmas decorations, Scandinavian food, baked goods, raffles and a cafe with open-faced sandwiches.

raffle at Norwegian Seamen’s Christmas fair

There were many cookies to choose from, including pepparkakor and krumkake.

baked goods

I bought almond tea cakes that are quite yummy.

almond tea cakes

The Swedish Seamen’s Church is in the heart of the city, on E. 48th Street near Fifth Avenue.  The space was a little smaller here, so it seemed more crowded.  They also had Christmas decorations and baked goods.  If you’re looking for more Scandinavian food items, the Norwegian church is the better bet.  Here, there were baked goods, including cardamom buns, limpa bread, finskar pinnar and more.  I got cinnamon buns.

cinnamon buns

If you want to catch one of the fairs, or both, they go through Sunday evening.

Sweets Week: Day 3: Sockerbit

There’s more to Swedish candy than Swedish fish (though I’m a big fan of these).  At Sockerbit‘s West Village location, I got a bag of Swedish sweets:  Swedish berries both tart and sweet and some coated with sugar, vanilla and strawberry marshmallows (some in mushroom shapes), pony-shaped gummies, strawberry lollipops that promise never-ending flavor and yogurt-covered coconut.  Licorice is popular here, but I’m not a fan so I stuck to what I like best.  (For fans, the licorice comes in sweet and salty varieties.)

Verdict:  Love the slight tartness of the flat Swedish berries, my favorite of the sampling.  The yogurt-covered coconut was another fave.  All were fresh and chewy.

Swedish sweets

Julemarked at the Danish Seamen’s Church

It was fourteen years ago that I first went to the Julemarked at the Danish Seamen’s Church with a Danish friend of mine.  I had duck liver pate smorrebrod and loved it!  Since then, I’ve been a fan of the annual Christmas festival and have tried to make it when I can.  Today, I went and got the duck liver pate:

Duck liver pate

as well as a peppery pork roll:

Peppery pork sandwich

and ebilskivers with powdered sugar and jam:

Ebilskivers

and an almond cookie called kransekage:

Kransekage

Icelandic food

I’ve been wanting to write about my experience traveling to Iceland for some time now.  Unfortunately, the island is not rich in natural resources.  In addition, due to a few devastating volcanic eruptions, much of the land is barren and unusable.  Before it became a republic in 1944, the country was under Norwegian and Danish rule for centuries, preventing trade with other countries and creating reliance on Scandinavia.  Given their history of being dominated by others, Icelanders have a fierce pride and a boastful nature.  They are not shy to tell you their wool is the best in the world.  Unfortunately again, Iceland is in an economic collapse.  However, the Icelandic people are used to instability, a trait that probably stems from living so close to a volcano.  Historically, the island didn’t have wood after much of the devastation, so it got wood from Scandinavia.  The inhabitants learned creative ways of using driftwood to create things like bowls.  Because of the hardness of life here, the people of Iceland are tough themselves.  They have learned to live without and to survive.  Their toughness shows through in the kinds of food they eat.  One such being hakarl, or shark that is buried underground and once rotted, is eaten.  This “delicacy” is usually chased with some Icelandic schnapps.  The Icelanders are jokesters, so once told of this tradition, it’s hard for a tourist to believe.

The most obvious food in Iceland, given that it is an island surrounded by the ocean, is fish.  Animals are also raised, mostly lamb.  When you travel throughout Iceland, you can see the sheep walking freely and in fact, you may have to stop for them to cross the road.  There is little land for farming, and the country is in winter for half of the year.  Lately, the country has greenhouses to grow vegetables.  Salads are rarely eaten like they are here in America (and if ordered, they can be wet and soggy).  Reykjavik has an abundance of ethnic restaurants, and of course, the cost in Iceland is expensive because pretty much everything has to be imported.  When I travel, I prefer to eat local, indigenous foods or dishes that are traditional.  It was hard to do that in Iceland, where I found much of the food not very palatable.

Case in point–snack food.  In the United States, people munch on potato chips like there’s no tomorrow.  A popular snack food in Iceland is dried fish, eaten like chips out of a plastic pouch.  Of course, I wanted to try this local food.  After one bite, I grimaced.  The concentrated fish taste was unbelievably repugnant to me.  But such is local taste.  It’s all what you are used to.

I did have fish that tasted good.  The trout in Iceland is actually sea trout, and when cooked, it has a pink color similar to salmon.

Icelandic sea trout

I also ate lamb while there.  I even tried whale meat–which is on many a menu–and is actually meat, not blubber.  I found it to be extremely gamey.

But I did draw the line at eating puffin, also on the menu.

Iceland’s famous dairy product is skyr.  It is similar to yogurt though the taste and texture is a bit different from plain yogurt in America (the kind without additives) and Greek yogurt.  I had it plain, but it would be better with fruit.

I found plokkfiskur, mashed fish and potatoes, to be very delicious, like creamy, buttery mashed potatoes.  The dark bread was excellent as well.

Icelandic bows called kleinur are very popular and yummy.  In fact, I bought a bag of these for the road and ate them practically every day while traveling inland.

kleinur