Swedish Parisian Waffle Cookies

Pariservåffla. This ever so well known Swedish cookie, the parisian waffle cookie can be found in bakeries and cafes in most parts of the country. Two thin layers of the most delicate shortbread-like cookie, held together by a beautifully soft butter cream with a hint of vanilla. Expect to break a couple while assembling them and expect crumbs in your lap while eating them. All worth it. Trust me.

When doing a bit of research for this post I was not able to find much about the history of this cookie. Quickly, it became clear that there is no such thing as a parisian waffle cookie to be found anywhere in Paris. Funny. I’m really curious as to where it got its name. It looks and taste as though it would blend in perfectly in a mouth watering window display of a parisian bakery, alas, it is not the case.

As a child we were crazy spoiled by having a freezer full of cookies and breads at home. All were made from scratch by my mom. Once in a while I remember carefully opening the freezer door when I knew she wasn’t around, glancing at the different containers with cookies and quickly snatching one. This one–pariservåffla–was always first pick if it was available. All there was to do was to find a quiet corner away from parents and sisters, and secretly enjoy. I usually didn’t bother waiting for it to thaw as it was quite enjoyable semi frozen as well. The only time I’d get caught would be if I in my euphoric moment of bliss forgot to clean up any trace of crumbs.

Dough

2 cups flour

200g cold butter

3 tbsp cream

2 tbsp water

Butter Cream

200g butter, room temperature

200g icing sugar

2 egg yolks

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Cut the cold butter into small dice and add to a food processor along with the flour, cream and water. Pulse until well mixed. Add a tiny bit more liquid if necessary. You want the dough to be crumbly. Transfer to a flat surface. As quickly as possible kneed together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for an hour.

In the meantime, in a bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the butter cream until smooth. Set aside.

On a flat surface, lightly dusted with flour, roll out the dough until 1/4” thick using a rolling pin.

Cut out 1 1/2” rounds using a cookie cutter.

On another flat surface sprinkle a thin layer of sugar. Place each round separately on the sugar and roll out to to an oval shape about 1/8” thick. Flip once to get sugar on both sides. For this last part I’m using a cross hatch rolling pin for a slight pattern, but not neccessary.

Transfer to a parchement lined baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 4-5 min or until lightly golden. Watch them carefully since they will burn quite quickly. Transfer the cookies onto a flat surface to dry. They are very fragile so do be gentle.

Once cooled, carefully spread a thin layer of the butter cream on the underside of half of the cookies. Remember they still break easily. Place another cookie on top of the butter cream.

Place in a container and store in the freezer. Let thaw for 15-20 min before serving.

Swedish Sugar Rings -Christmas 3/3

s6If you ask a Swede if they have ever had Sockerringar, they would most likely say yes. How they became a Swedish classic on the cookie tray I don’t know, but I am happy they did. Light, crisp and fluffy rings, generously sprinkled with crunchy pearl sugar.  So delicious.

Traditionally, when inviting guests for more formal coffee parties, 7 different cookies were the norm. Cinnamon buns and a selection of soft and hard cookies. The more elaborate the better. I remember how sometimes on Sunday after church, we would enjoy ‘church coffee’ with fellow churchgoers. What a treat for a young kid. By the time I was done mowing down cinnamon buns and cookie selections, nothing more was needed until dinner time. Perhaps not the best lunch for a growing boy but quite worth it once in a while. 

Although Swedish sugar rings are not considered a Christmas cookie per se, they have always reminded me of christmas ornaments. Perhaps it’s the pearl sugar. Who knows. Just tie them up in a string, hang them in the tree and voila! Pretty edible treats within an arms reach.

Jens

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3/4 cup cream

1/3 cup water

2 1/2 tsp dry yeast

300g butter (room temperature)

4 1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup pearl sugar*

 

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium sauce pan, heat up the cream and water to 98F (37C). Place yeast in a bowl and add the liquid. Let sit for 10 min. 

Add the yeast mixture to a mixer along with the butter. Mix well. On low speed, sift in the flour, a little bit at a time, until well blended. Transfer the dough to a flat surface dusted with flour. Roll out the dough until 1/2″ thick. 

Using a 2 1/2″ cookie cutter, make rounds in the dough. Then using a 1-1 1/2″ cookie cutter, make smaller rounds within the large ones. Remove the centre of the small rounds. Carefully lift up the rounds and dip the surface in pearl sugar. Place on a sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 min. 

In the meantime, collect the cut out pieces of dough, kneed it into a smooth dough, roll back out and repeat until all the dough is used up. Once all the cookies are baked, turn the oven down to 200F. Place all the cookies on a baking sheet (one big pile) and let sit in the oven for 1-2 hrs to dry. 

These cookies are quite easy to make and they will keep well in a sealed container and won’t need to be kept in the freezer. Makes 50-60 cookies. 

*Pearl Sugar, also known as Nib Sugar can be found in specialty food stores. The great thing with pearl sugar is that it does not melt when baked but stays nice and crunchy. Also great to sprinkle on top of cinnamon buns.s7s13s10

Swedish Saffron Buns -Christmas 1/3

s3Lucia. The old Scandinavian tradition where girls dress up in white dresses with a candle-lit wreath on their head and guys, often rather embarrassed, in tow wearing funny pointy hats while holding a big golden star. Dating back to 3rd Century Syracuse, Sicily, Saint Lucy supposedly brought food and aid to those in need, spreading light and peace in the dark winter months. The candle-lit wreath was used to free her hands in order to carry more food. 

Lucia always falls on December 13. This is when these soft golden saffron scented buns with raisin decorations are first introduced for the season. They are then served at most coffee breaks until shortly after Christmas, when they will not be seen again until the following year. Often served along alongside gingerbread cookies and a hot cup of Swedish glögg or coffee. I love eating them slightly warm with a glass of cold milk.

Jens

s1 

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup dark rum

2 tbsp dry yeast

2 cups milk

1 pinch saffron strands

1 cup ricotta cheese

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

7 cups flour

100g butter, room temperature

2 eggs

Soak the raisins in the rum. 

In a small sauce pan, add 1/2 cup of the milk along with the saffron. Stir and heat up to just below boiling to extract colour and flavour of the saffron. Let cool.

In a medium sauce pan, add the rest of the milk and heat to 37C. Remove from heat and add the yeast. Let stand for 10 min. 

In a mixer, add the milk/yeast and saffron along with the ricotta cheese, sugar and salt. Blend well. Slowly add the flour while mixing on slow. When well incorporated, spoon in the soft butter and mix until smooth. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest 40-50 min.

Preheat oven to 450F. 

Cut dough in half. Cover one half and roll the the other half into a long rectangle, about 6” wide and 1/2” thick.

Cut in thin strips and roll into shape. Place on a baking tray, add the raisins, cover, and let rest for another 30 min. Repeat with the second half of dough.

Brush with whisked egg. Bake in oven 7-10 min or until golden brown. s6s5 s4 s2

 

 

Swedish Dreams

d6I have a dream…So simple yet so powerful. Dreams are what keep us going, give us hope. Sometimes easy to forget, yet without them there would be no change. We’d be lost. These Swedish cookies have been given this name for a reason. Dröm. Dream. They encourage you, just for a brief moment, to pause and reflect over the meaning of the word before taking your first bite. This is where you realize why this nondescript-looking creation was given such a powerful title. They are white as snow, a crunchy fluffiness difficult to describe. As it vanishes in your mouth you are left with a velvety smooth taste of vanilla. You will most likely close your eyes and let your mind pay full attention to this decadent and short lived dream. I dare you to eat a whole cookie without licking your lips.

d4150g butter

1 1/3 cups sugar

2/3 cup sunflower oil

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ammonium bicarbonate

2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 300F.

In a blender, on medium speed, whisk butter and sugar until light and airy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the oil and vanilla. Sift ammonium bicarbonate and flour into a bowl then slowly, while whisking on medium-low speed add to the butter mixture. Blend well then stop.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and kneed into a ball. 

Pinch pieces of dough and roll into 1″ size balls. Place, 2″ apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 min. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool.

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