In the traditional carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, the fifth day was greeted with five gold rings. As a nod to that, today’s recipe is for golden biscuits called serinakaker from Norway. Yes, it turns out that Norway is a bit of a goldmine when it comes to unusual festive ideas in the kitchen department, and these are also one of the classics in their “seven sorts” baking tradition.
From rather simple ingredients, the end result is a plate of rich, buttery shortbread. If you can also get hold of baker’s ammonia, they also have a super-light texture and crisp finish (but baking powder will also do just fine). They are finished off with an egg wash to give them a golden colour, and sprinked with chopped almonds and pearl sugar. I think they look nicer if you chop whole almonds, so you have a bit of contrast on the cookies. A quick search on the web also shows that Norwegians love these things, so you can’t really go wrong!
To make Serinakaker (makes 40):
• 150g butter, softened
• 100g icing sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 egg, beaten
• 250g plain flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baker’s ammonia or baking powder
• 1 beaten egg, chopped almonds and pearl sugar, to finish
1. In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and pale . Add the egg and beat until the mixture is very fluffy.
2. Put the flour and baker’s ammonia (or baking powder) in a bowl and mix well. Add one-third to the butter mixture, and mix until combined. Add another third of the flour, mix well, then add the final third and mix. Cover the dough and leave in the fridge overnight to chill.
3. The next day, preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
4. Remove the dough from the fridge. Shape into a long roll, and cut into 40 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and place on the baking sheet (you might have to bake in 2-3 batches). Flatten each with a fork, brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with pearl sugar and chopped almonds.
5. Bake for around 12 minutes until golden, turning half-way (and watch out for the fumes!).
Worth making? Very easy to make, and the results are far better than the level of effort should indicate.