The holidays are fast approaching and with them, everyone's own traditions and customs. In Norway, many of these traditions revolve around food and much of that food consists of traditional desserts. Norwegian cuisine is home to some of the most Christmas desserts ever found in one country and this is why they're so well-known... Except for the fact that not many outside of Europe have heard of many of their delicious sweet treats. While they're not eaten every day, these desserts are some of the best and truly bring in the flavors and spirit of the holiday season. From the moment the scent of any one of these wafts to a person's nose to that first, wonderful bite, things start to feel a little more like Christmas is near.
Norwegian Christmas Bread
It looks an awful lot like fruitcake but it's so, so much better. Norwegian Christmas bread isn't nearly as heavy or dense as a British fruitcake and it's often made on the same day it's to be eaten, as opposed to fruitcake, which can be made days in advance. The texture of this bread is also more bread-like and even though it's sweet, it's still eaten like a slice of bread. Inside, tiny slivers of candied fruit are often found in various colors, unique to the festive holiday season.
These cookies are delicious thanks to their chewy texture and sweet interior. Flavored with syrup and cinnamon, just the scent of these is enough for everyone to wish that Christmas was just a little bit closer. The dough is butter-based and when they're done cooking, they're topped with chopped almonds and pearl sugar, adding a bit of crunchy texture to an otherwise soft and chewy cookie.
A buttery texture is a common theme in Norwegian desserts and sirupsnipper cookies are no different. The name might sound a bit odd but these cookies are nothing short of heavenly - they're flavored with syrup, white pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and aniseed, making for a wildly unique, bold, and slightly spicy aroma and flavor. It's not likely visitors will be in Norway for the holidays without seeing these around, and they're easily recognizable by their diamond shape which is adorned with an almond in the middle.
This Norwegian tart is quite the looker and it tastes just as incredible as it looks. The key to this tart is the layer of cardamon-scented almond paste that's used, lending a spicy and sweet, slightly nutty flavor to the pie's filling. This tart is also referred to as Royal Cake and is one of the most popular holiday desserts in the region. The addition of a buttery crust only adds to the richness of this dessert, which is a favorite for a reason. When paired with a cup of tea, the slight bitter of the tea leaves mixes beautifully with the abundantly sweet flavor of the tart.
Norwegian Krumkake Cookies
Often described as a 'waffle' type of cookie, these krumkake cookies are rolled and are delicate, but due to their delicate texture, they simply just melt in your mouth. They're usually specially made with a krumkake iron but, of course, they can be made without any special tools if one is careful with the dough. However, it the traditional krumkake iron that's responsible for the classic impression pattern that's found on these cookies, similar to pizzelle. The satisfying crisp and crunch of these cookies combined with the delicate shape and style make them a showstopper on any holiday table.
Also known as a Ring cake, kransekaka is an incredibly popular Scandinavian dessert and can be seen throughout the region when the holidays are close. This cake is truly a beautiful work of art, as it's made with individual rings of cake that are stacked on top of one another to create a towering dessert. The cake itself is flourless which makes it dense enough to stake without breaking or crumbling, and it's also seen at celebrations such as showers and weddings. While this cake doesn't get frosted, it is held together with almond paste, adding a nutty sweetness to the flavor of this delicious treat.
It seems like every country has its own version of a doughnut and in Norway, the smultring is theirs. While these can be found year-round, they're the most popular at Christmastime and this is often when they're found most easily. The dough for these doughnuts is slightly denser than what many are used to and they're spiced rather than filled. The flavors of cinnamon, cardamom, and some type of citrus zest shine through in this doughnut, adding brightness and warmth to a delicious treat.