A story about honey biscuit-slices, Christmas nook and the first advent Sunday
Sunrise: 8:57 AM
Sunset: 1:51 PM
Things haven’t evolved much since the days of my childhood Christmases. The tree gets decorated early. Biscuits get baked. So does my mom’s pain d’épices. Some years, Aïda and I will attempt to make marrons glacés [candied chestnuts], which is never a success since most of the chestnuts get eaten before they burst with syrup at the end of the fourteen-day candying process; but who could blame us? My dad will sing us the songs he wrote. And some presents get opened too early, on a champagne-induced can’t-wait feeling. And then, there was always the wishes Aïda and I made on Christmas eve for a snowy morning that – as the history now revealed – never came.
This year hasn’t been so different. Only that new traditions have come along too. Every window glows with an adventsstjärna [an advent star] and adventsljusstake [advent candles]. And on many balconies, a grann [spruce] can be seen, sparkling with lights and candles.
Our kitchen smells of saffron and cinnamon. And I’ve been baking småkakor [biscuits] almost every day. Today, our first advent candle got lit up. Oh and I managed to loose almost every picture I had taken over the past week or so.
If the next few recipes come with only one or two pictures, you’ll know why :)
The snow that fell so heavily a weekend or so ago has now turned into ice after the occasional rain was followed by a day made of wool hats, moose-skin mittens and -15°C.
Much to my regret; for the sake of both a mesmerising cotton-like world and the ease of walking around.
On the latter point, after a much-feared sliding accident on the pavement, Kalle got me some crampons, which resonate into the empty streets – of the 5am kind – as I walk to work.
But I heard it might snow tomorrow night. To wishes; near and far!
Adapted from Leila Lindholm’s kolakakor in A Piece of Cake.
I first came across snittar a few months ago, when I started working at the café. In Sweden, you’ll find snittar flavoured with just about anything, but two of the most popular ones are chokladsnittar and kolasnittar [caramel biscuits].
And just like it’s been really hard to find recipe sources on the many Swedish blogs I’ve been reading, it’s just as complicated with recipe names. Many times, snittar will just be called kakor, although they’re the same thing.
But really, I fell in love with how snittar reflects how the biscuits get sliced after being baked. Something I had never seen before, and that is amazing for a number of reasons that can’t match how easy these little biscuits are to dip in a cup of tea or coffee.
Priorities are in order in Sweden!
Honungssnittar are a favourite memory of many Swedish grown-ups. My friend Suss told me how she used to eat them straight from the freezer – when the edges are super-crisp and the centre still chewy – as a child.
To make these honungssnittar here I simply replaced the golden syrup used in kolakakor with creamy honey.
The resulting biscuit is soft and delicately fragrant. With edges crunchy just so.
It’s important to cut the biscuits straight out from the oven and they will harden quite a lot during the cooling.
I had taken some pictures of the rolling/baking/cutting process, but as I’ve told you above, they’re well gone now; it is, however, super simple. The dough gets rolled into logs. And flattened into 1cm-tick rectangles, straight on the baking tray. And right after baking, the long strips get cut into “diamond” slices. I always use a metal dough-scraper, although a large knife will work too as long as you’re careful enough not to damage your baking tray.
I hope you’ll give these a go! And let me know what you think of the Swedish snittar process! I’m smitten :)
makes 16-20 biscuits
200 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
170 g caster sugar
80 g creamy honey
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp sea salt
270 g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a tray with baking paper.
Cream the butter, sugar, honey, vanilla sugar and salt for a few minutes, until well combined.
In the meantime, mix the flour and baking soda in a small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter and work until it just starts to form a dough.
Divide the dough in half, and roll each half into a 30cm-long log. Repeat with the other half.
Place the logs onto the prepared baking tray, spacing them as much as possible as the dough will spread quite a lot during baking.
Flatten each log with the palm of your hand to a 1cm-tick rectangle. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until light-golden-brown.
As soon as the biscuits come out from the oven, cut into slices using a dough-scraper or a large knife (in which case, be careful not to damage your baking tray).
Allow the biscuits to cool down completely on the tray before moving to an air-tight container.