Serinakaker is regarded as one of the original, classic Christmas cookies in Norway and are classified as “småkaker” (small cookies). These are small butter-sugar-flour cookies with a ruffled pattern, topped with sliced almonds and sugar and are known as many Norwegians’ favorite among all the Christmas cookies baked during the holidays. They have been baked for over 100 years in Norway.
The term “småkaker”was not put into use until the 19th century, when it became more common for people to bake and ovens were introduced to the common household. Whereas the classic cookies I’ve been sharing over the holiday period are considered classic Norwegian, many of the cookies we bake today in fact originate from other countries. I will write more about this topic in a future blog
Before the 1800s, mostly breads, flatbreads and lefse were baked, and around the holidays people didn’t skimp on all the decadent ingredients that were otherwise used sparingly, such as sour cream and the best flour you could get. Barley and oat flour were most commonly used, but in cookies wheat or rye was needed, which traditionally had to be imported. After 1880, people got access to inexpensive Russian flour and this stimulated the interest and tradition of baking cookies.
Serinakaker have a generous amount of butter, and the traditional version has eggs, but I subbed a cashew based yogurt and with great results. Eggs really aren’t needed in baking, as I’ve mentioned many times before, as it merely acts as a binder. I’ve used everything from applesauce to mashed bananas, ground flax or chia seeds mixed with water, silken tofu and cornstarch to bind batters and doughs with the same exact outcome as when I used eggs.
This recipe was inspired by my friend and colleague, Mari Hult, who I’ve mentioned before and has one of the best vegan food blogs in Norway called Vegetarbloggen.
Thanks, Mari for spearheading making all the wonderful Norwegian Christmas cookies accessible to those who either can’t consume dairy or eggs or choose to be vegan!
Biting into these cookies really brings back fond memories of sitting around the coffee table with family and friends in a cozy, candle lit Norwegian home, drinking coffee and enjoying this time of year. I hope I can bring a little comfort to your home too with this recipe!
If you love Norwegian food and are interested in a book that has a collection of all the classic dishes, including cookies and cakes for the holidays, don’t forget to pick up a copy of my latest ebook which as my favorite recipes. You can purchase it HERE.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the serina cookies as much as I do, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Makes about 25 cookies
- 1 stick plus 2 tbsp (150 grams) vegan butter, cubed and room temp
- 9 oz / 2 cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) organic sugar
- 2 tbsp non dairy yogurt (I used Forager cashew yogurt)
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp potato or corn starch
- 1/3 cup (1 dl) sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup (1 dl) pearled sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celcius). Grease two cookie sheets with a little oil or dress them with parchment paper.
Place the flour and baking powder in a big bowl, and crumble in the room temperature vegan butter with your hands. Add in the vanilla extract and sugar as well as the non dairy yogurt and combine until you form a dough. If it’s a little wet, you can add a touch more flour and/or sugar.
Divide the batter into two and roll each part gently out to “sausage” looking links. Divide each link into 10-12 pieces or more, roll them into small balls, and place on the prepared cookie sheets.
With the back of a fork, press lightly onto each ball to flatten them, making a nice pattern. Mix the potato/corn starch with the water in a small bowl and brush the top of the cookies with the mixture. Sprinkle with almonds and sugar and bake in oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.