Rosettes, krumkake, spritz, sandbakkelse, fattigmand...
The list of traditional Christmas baking goes on and on. Much of it in this area was inspired by Norwegian settlers. They brought their love of favorite foods and left their recipes for generations of children and grandchildren.
Nancy Borgeson Hvinden has created her own version of the plain old, precious recipes that have flourished through the decades.
They make up a small book, "Traditional Scandinavian Holiday Recipes." It includes everything from potato dumplings known as "klub" to venison stew.
She writes, "This cookbook reflects me and my style. When I make something, I usually think about the person I got the recipe from, so it is comfort food with a genealogical twist."
She and her husband, Marlon Hvinden, live in rural Thompson near Grand Forks. He recently published, "Justice was Swift with Tales of the Old West." She recently self published a childhood memoir about life in the 1950s titled, "Growing Up in the Valley: a Nodak Babyboomer."
Her recipes include rommegrot.
"This recipe is the real stuff, rich and takes time to make," she writes.
1 quart of whipping cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup flour
4 cups scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Boil cream for 20 minutes. Add almost all of the flour, whisking constantly. When the butterfat comes to the surface, remove it and add remaining flour to the cream.
Add milk slowly, about a cup at a time, until it all is incorporated. Boil well, add sugar and salt. Remove from the stove when it is thick. Have some of the removed butterfat in a bowl.
Pour the rommegrot over it with the remaining butter over the top. Serve warm or cold with sugar and cinnamon, or with currant or chokecherry jelly.
The traditional recipe for this Christmas candy was chosen from The Farm Journal magazine.
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup white corn syrup
1/3 cup water
2 large egg whites at room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Place sugar, corn syrup, water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a heavy two quart saucepan. Cook and stir over high heat until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking over medium high heat without stirring until syrup reaches a hard ball stage (255 degrees). Wipe off any sugar crystals that form on sides of the pan.
While this is cooking, use a heavy duty stand mixer, if you have one, to beat egg whites stiff. They get more volume if they are at room temperature.
Pour the hot syrup over the egg whites at the same time you are starting to beat the mixture. Keep beating, and the mixture will fluff up.
When it is mixed, add the vanilla or other extract and food coloring if desired. Keep beating on high until the candy begins to lose its gloss and starts to hold peaks.
Quickly begin dropping by heaping teaspoon full onto wax paper or parchment, using a spoon dipped in cold water. Work fast.
Makes about 24 to 30 pieces.
In the introduction to her small book, Nancy Hvinden notes that since the 1840s it has been a tradition Scandinavian tradition to serve seven kinds of cake or cookies at Christmas gatherings. And she has tried to follow that tradition.
Among them are rosettes, krumkake, spritz, sandbakkels, fattigmand, rolled sugar cookies, jam thumbprints, coconut macaroons, molasses raisin cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, almond cake...plus candy including fudge, divinity and chocolate topped coffee.
And then she writes, Uff da.
When money was tight in the 1980s, she began selling holiday baking for money to buy Christmas presents.
Some of recipes in her small book never have been shared before. However, she credits others for recipes she has rounded up from them.
The book is one of several published by Hvinden Publications. It is available for $13.75 including tax from Hvinden Publications, telephone (701) 330-5235.