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Grandma's Recipes One By One!

12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – All in One Place

Today we’re going enjoy the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – All in One Place. I wanted to have these Scandinavian ideas and family traditions all in one place – then you don’t have to go all over the blog to find all of these great Scandinavian holiday ideas. So let’s revisit 2016, shall we? This is so much fun all packed into one post, and no lutefisk in sight! I hope you find something new to try that will become part of your Christmas celebrations, too!

Day 1

Swedish Cardamom Bread


Day 2

Spritz Cookies


Day 3

Norwegian Mittens and Mitten Ornaments


Day 4



Day 5



Day 6

Cinnamon Ornaments


Day 7

Lefse #3


Day 8

Stamped Giftwrap


Day 9



Day 10

Swedish Sausage


Day 11

Ice Lantern


Day 12





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Day 12 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Rosettes


Today is the 12th and last day of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all of the Scandinavian treats, crafts, and fun things I’ve posted here for you! There are so many more to share – I may have to do it again next year! I’ve saved the trickiest thing for last. Today we’re tackling Rosettes. These are a fried treat that are kind of a cross between a donut and a cookie, and while they aren’t necessarily hard to do – they can be a bit tricky. When I pulled out the recipe, I had clipped an extra piece of paper to it with some “helpful hints” on it. There will be more on the “hints” as we go along. Ok – deep breath – here we go . . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:



2 eggs

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 drop almond flavoring


1 cup milk

1 cup flour

Mix until smooth.

I let the batter sit about an hour before starting to fry.

Fry in hot oil (about 375 degrees) on rosette iron.


This is another recipe with incredibly simple ingredients.


Once you have the batter mixed smooth, let it sit about an hour. I have read that “hint” somewhere since the last time I made these, and as far as I’m concerned, the more “hints” you have to help you out with these, the better.


Dip the iron in the hot oil first for a few seconds, then dip it into the batter – being careful NOT to dip it more than 3/4 of the way up the iron or it won’t come off. I had some trouble getting the batter to stick at first, so I held it in the batter for about 5 seconds and that worked great. One of the “helpful hints” that was on the sheet clipped to the recipe, to not hold the iron in the batter very long. This is what’s so funny about making rosettes – sometimes one thing will work and the next time you make them, it may not. It’s total trial and error from time to time. I just might not make them often enough. This was a treat that my dad made with my sister when we were growing up. It ended up being their “thing” because they had the system DOWN.


Hold the iron with the batter on it in the hot oil until the bubbles slow down a bit – about 30-40 seconds, and if you don’t keep it under the oil, it will fall off of the iron. We had a little trouble with that a couple of times (my daughter helped me and made some of her first krumkaka – it took her awhile to get the hang of it).


I usually have a knife handy and use the point to help get the krumkaka off of the iron and onto a paper towel to drain and cool.


My family likes them to be dipped in sugar. Grandma did this right before serving, but we decided to try it right away AND before serving if they need more.


It made a nice tray full. I never had such good luck making them – especially the star ones – it must have been help from the ancestors!


Rosettes are the quintessential Scandinavian thing, as far as my family is concerned, and it was the perfect way to end the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas! I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have during the last 12 days! Thank you so much for reading and following along on this journey!

God Jul!



Day 11 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Ice Lantern


We are at Day 11 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, and today we’re making Ice Lanterns. You can do these several different ways, but I made this one by freezing it in an old tin mold. You can also freeze water in a balloon (don’t forget to tie the balloon shut so you don’t lose the water out of it) and freeze it halfway so there is a hole left in the middle – that’s where you put the candle. Be careful – if you let it freeze too much, you won’t have the hole to put the candle in. Not that I have any experience with that or anything. Freezing it in the mold is really fun and pretty foolproof, so let’s get started!

Here is the lantern as I made it:

Ice Lantern

Find a mold that you want to make into a lantern – I have used a bundt pan and a tube pan in the past. You can also use containers of two difference sizes, using the smaller one to make the center hole where you’d put the candle.,,,

Decide what festive decorations or ornaments you want in it – you can leave it just plain clear water if you want to, but I tend to want to make it more festive looking with bits of evergreen and fresh cranberries. You could add any decoration that won’t be destroyed by the freezing process.


I start by putting the greens and berries in the bottom of the mold.


Then I put just enough water to cover the greens and berries and set it out on our deck (if it’s cold enough) or into the freezer to freeze. If you fill it with water, the goodies will float to the top, therefore being on the BOTTOM of the mold instead of the TOP of it where they show up better and are pretty when you add the candle’s glow. Once that part is frozen, fill the mold with water as full as you want it and freeze until it’s firm.


I put the frozen lantern out on our deck. It seemed like it might not show up very well, so I initially put it on a white plate, but I liked it better without the plate.


They glow so nicely when you add the candle. I have lined our front steps and driveway with these over the years. It’s so much fun to do when you have guests coming over for the evening.


You can see the evergreen branches and fresh cranberries showing through the ice. The glow of the candle shining through these ice lanterns is so special and welcoming. It isn’t just a Christmas thing – these would be great to do for any gathering all throughout the winter. This reminds me so much of our trip to Sweden and Norway where there were candles everywhere. I think it’s a very Scandinavian thing to do!


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Day 10 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Swedish Sausage


It’s Day 10 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, and today we’re making Swedish Sausage. I’m not sure if it’s really Swedish, or if that’s just what they call it. Regardless, Grandma and Grandpa had this every year for Christmas, and if we weren’t able to be together with them on Christmas, we’d have it whenever we got together this time of year. It’s one of those things where if I have it once a year, I’m good. It’s getting hard to find now, but I called around and found a store that carried this Swedish potato sausage. I remember this so well from the growing up years. Grandma would be standing at the stove in her holiday apron, being so careful with it, making sure it was cooked just right. She was dead serious about her heritage and this was one of those things that seemed to be a big part of it along with lefse, all the Scandinavian cookies, and her stories of her family and their traditions when she was growing up. She loved to tell the stories and she had a rapt audience in me!


Funny thing – when she says that it’s from the “store” here, she means the store in the tiny town one mile from where they lived. They must have gotten the sausage there until the store closed sometime in the early 1980’s.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Swedish Sausage

Cook sausage in a glass pan in 300 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Cover for the last half of cooking time.

Cut into pieces and fry in pan (she must have originally just left it in the oven but turned the sausage half way through the cooking time but I know that in later years, she would cut it and fry it in a pan).



When putting it in the pan for the oven, I pricked it in a few places with the tip of a knife so there would be no blow-outs. Halfway through she said to cover it, so I used a bit of foil.


After baking, it’s time to cut it into pieces and brown it in the fry pan.


It wasn’t exactly the same flavor as I remember, but it was good. I’m sure every place that makes it has their own recipe and spices that they use.


Try this delicious and spiced sausage, and you’ll be trying a bit of Swedish heritage. It smelled so good in the oven and for a few minutes it took me back to Grandma’s kitchen at Christmastime. I got a bit emotional, but I still enjoyed the warm and wonderful fragrance of the Christmas memory.




Day 9 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Krumkaka


This is Day 9 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, and we’re going to revisit a post I did last year about Krumkaka. Check out the link below to learn how to make them






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Day 8 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Stamped Gift Wrap


It’s already Day 8 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas and we’re getting crafty today. We’re making Stamped Gift Wrap with rubber stamps. Of course, I’m using a few Scandinavian stamps today, but you really could use stamps of any design. In my case, it’s a very economical thing to do, and as I’m writing this, I’m wondering why I haven’t done more of this in the past. There are piles of paper in the office downstairs that my husband brought home from work over the years for the kids to use for art projects. Wrapping paper is expensive and if you have access to free paper – do it! You can get rubber stamps fairly inexpensively at most craft stores, and ink pads can be used hundreds of times. Come to think of it, you can stamp with objects you have around the house – you wouldn’t even have to buy a rubber stamp. You could make a stamp of a star from a potato, or use household objects like the end of a spool of thread or the bottom of a glass, or even use a cookie cutter as a stamp! Whatever gives you a nice, graphic look on the paper. I don’t think you’d want to make gigantic pieces of wrapping paper with a stamp, but for smaller gifts, this can really be cute. There isn’t any recipe or real instructions for this – you just go for it, start stamping, and have fun!

Here is the gift wrap as I made it:

Stamped Gift Wrap

Find some paper – my husband has gotten paper from the company he works for over the years. Sometimes they would be upgrading equipment and they couldn’t use the paper they had anymore. Instead of just throwing it away, he’d take it home and our kids would have tons of paper to use for the millions (and I’m not exaggerating here) and millions of pieces of artwork they would constantly work on. Finding a piece of paper that fits the gift you want to wrap would be perfect.

Get out all of your rubber stamps – they can be Christmas stamps or just stamps that look cool together and make a nice design.

Find the color of ink you want to use on your stamps – of course, I love red, green, silver, or gold for this time of year.

Lay out your paper, ink up your stamps, and go to town!!


Collect all the things you’ll need before you start – I hate having to stop and run to get things once I’m rolling on a craft project. I have, in addition to my paper, a stamper that lets you write a phrase, my Scandinavian stamps, and red and green ink pads.


I started with a dala horse stamp and made a pattern. Here’s his close-up – isn’t he cute?!!


Next I added some snowflakes in a different color – so cute!


On my second piece of paper, I used a pretty star stamp for an over-all pattern and then used the stamp that lets you write a phrase to add the God Jul.


10 minutes later – yes, it’s that quick – I have 2 pieces of wrapping paper all ready to go!


One of my favorite things in the whole word – wrapping gifts!!


I think they turned out very pretty! Coordinating ribbon to “tie” it all together, and  you have a very nice package. Try this for a fun and inexpensive Christmas craft project. Do it with your kids or grandkids – they’ll love being able to add their creativity to the gift giving process. It will also keep them busy for a few minutes while you get a couple of things done. Get them set up and let them go nuts! Giving the hand-stamped wrapping paper as a gift is also a very nice thing, maybe even as a hostess gift. Lovely.






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Day 7 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Lefse #3 (Instant Potato Lefse)


Today is Day 7 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas and we’re making Lefse #3 (Instant Potato Lefse). This is the third recipe for lefse that I found in Grandma’s file. The other 2 have been absolutely delicious, and this recipe was also delicious, but I had some issues with it. I’ll elaborate as we go along. I remember that when we first started to make lefse, we did use a recipe that had instant potatoes in it. While this may be that original recipe, I’m just not sure.



As you can tell, this recipe is incomplete at the end, so I’ll fill it in as we go.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lefse #3 (Instant Potato Lefse)


3 1/2 cups water


1/2 cup margarine (I used butter)

1 teaspoon salt

Pour mixture into:

4 cups instant potatoes

Mix well.

Add in:

1/2 cup cream

Mix well.


Cover with plastic wrap.

Chill in refrigerator overnight.

This is the end of the recipe, but what to do with the 2 cups of flour? Grandma had written “wait” after it on the card, and after going back to look at other lefse recipes I’ve made, you mix in the flour the next day before frying. So that’s what I did.

Make balls of dough, roll thin, and fry on lefse griddle at 350-400 degrees.


It’s funny how such simple ingredients can turn out so many different and delicious recipes.


This is adding the butter to the boiling water and then to the instant potatoes.


Here we are – all mixed up and ready for the frig.


The next day – mix in the flour and start frying.


Here is my set-up. I do things the way Grandma and Grandpa did – a pastry cloth and a sock over the rolling-pin, extra flour to sprinkle on the cloth so I won’t get too big of a wet spot, a nice lefse stick for moving the dough from the board to the griddle and back to the cooling area, and a paper towel handy to wipe down the top of the griddle if I get too much flour on it.


Here is the cooling area. I only do this because Grandma and Grandpa did it this way, but it’s a good system. There is one baking sheet with paper towels on it for cooling down the lefse (it absorbs the moisture and condensation from the heat of the lefse), one baking sheet with paper towels on it for stacking the lefse after it’s cooled, and a freezer bag for packaging the lefse to it can be put in the freezer and well hidden so there will actually be some left by Christmastime.


I did this batch of lefse by myself, so I had to have everything ready to go.


This was one of the first ones I did and it got a bit too dark. Grandma was always adamant that she didn’t want them to be too dark, but I kinda like them that way. This lefse wasn’t as tender as the other 2 recipes I’ve made for this blog. I tried turning the temperature up and turning it down, but these got a bit tougher and crisper than we like. I prefer the recipes for Lefse and Lefse #2 to this recipe.


Here’s a little secret about this griddle. This was Grandma and Grandpa’s griddle, so it’s been around awhile and there have been some repairs done. The thermostat went out on it years ago and instead of just buying a new griddle, Grandpa bought a new one that cost more than the griddle itself. The other repair (not really a repair, but a modification) is that one of the legs fell off, and we modified it by finding a ceramic electrical bulb fixture that just happens to be exactly the right height to keep the griddle level. Works great!


Everybody likes butter on lefse, but some of our family like honey on it and some of our family like cinnamon and sugar on it. Some of our family like it with the works. It’s all in what your preference is.


For this particular piece, I put on butter with cinnamon and sugar. Yum.


Here is the lefse all rolled up with all the goodies inside. I had to try a couple of pieces warm off the griddle – it’s best that way! The rest is already packaged and hidden in the freezer. Here’s hoping it lasts until Christmas! We’re so lucky that we were able to learn from Grandma and Grandpa how to make lefse. Traditionally we made it with them on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It was fun to learn how to make it, but more than that, it was fun to talk and laugh and tell stories about the old days. It’s a great tradition for us all to have been a part of and I’m so grateful.


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Day 6 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Cinnamon Ornaments


It’s Day 6 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas and we’re getting crafty. Today we’re going to make Cinnamon Ornaments. They’re supposed to mimic pepparkaker, or gingerbread cookies, only they smell better and continue to smell good all through the holiday season. Because we’re now halfway through the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, I wanted to share this photo of one of Grandma’s aunts. She was on a trip with her mother back to Sweden when this was taken, and I think it was on the farm where my great-great-grandmother lived before she immigrated to the United States in the mid 1800’s.


I just love this photo! Maybe she’s spinning some wool into yarn to make mittens?!!!

Now on to the Cinnamon Ornaments. There are recipes and instructions for this all over the internet, but I’m sharing a recipe I made with my kids when they were little. I did add a little bit of a secret ingredient – shhhh, don’t tell anyone, just put it in. It makes all the difference!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cinnamon Ornaments

6 Tablespoons applesauce

1/2 cup cinnamon

Add the secret ingredient:

1 Tablespoon ground cloves – it adds an amazing fragrance!

Mix into dough.

Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.

Bake 5 minutes in microwave (this was years ago – now I have a bigger and better microwave – I only put them in for 2 minutes and went from there) or until dry.

Don’t forget to make a hole for a hanger.


This is a simple craft that uses simple ingredients.


I put a piece of parchment paper on the baking sheet so that you just roll it out (right on the baking sheet – I used my childhood rolling-pin – it was the perfect size!), cut out the shape, peel away the outer extra dough and leave the shapes on the sheet. This was something I learned after rolling out the dough on my kitchen counter and being unable to lift the shape because it stuck. Not fun. My daughter was helping me and thank goodness she was there with the brilliant parchment idea!


I think I made these stars a bit thin. Try to keep the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Don’t forget to make a hole for the ribbon to go through! I used a plastic drinking straw for making the holes.


After they’re baked, they look just like gingerbread cookies! An added benefit – your house will smell amazing while these bake! The shapes may have some ragged edges, but they rub off easily if you’re careful.


Add a bit of ribbon for hanging. I tried to find one that was as Scandinavian as possible!


These Cinnamon Ornaments look just like pepparkakar and are so pretty on the tree. They add that warm and homey fragrance of cinnamon (and cloves – shhh!) that smells so Scandinavian and so much like Christmas.


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Day 5 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Sandbakkels


It’s Day 5 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, and we’re going back to an old post for this one. Sandbakkels are the Norwegian cookies made in little tins. Click on the link below to see this post and the recipe for these delicious little cookies.








Day 4 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Julekage


It’s Day 4 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas and we’re making Julekage! For some reason, I think of this is as a Norwegian bread. This was a sweet Christmas bread that Grandma really liked. She probably made it back in the day, but this is a recipe I have made for a long time. This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Creative Cooking Library series of cookbooks that my mom had years ago. It’s in the book Birthdays and Family Celebrations and the bread is called Sugarplum Bread. Grandma always called it Julekage, so that’s what we call it, too. It’s not an official Scandinavian recipe, but I’m sure the recipes are similar. I’ve seen it called Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish, so it’s truly Scandinavian!


There’s no better bread for my family’s leftover Christmas ham sandwiches!

Here is the recipe as I made it:


Soften in 1/2 cup warm water:

2 packages of active dry yeast


1 cup milk, scalded

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Cool to lukewarm.


2 cups flour (you’ll need 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 cups total)

1 teaspoon lemon peel

Beat until smooth.


2 eggs, beaten

Beat well.

Stir in:

The softened yeast


1 1/2 cups mixed diced candied fruits and peels

Stir in:

Enough of remaining flour, or enough to make a soft dough

Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes).

Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface.

Cover and let rise in warm place until double (about 2 hours).

Punch down.

Divide dough in half and round each into a ball.

Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Place round loaves on greased baking sheet and pat tops to flatten slightly.

Cover and let rise until almost double (about 1 1/2 hours).

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (cover tops with foil after 15-20 min to prevent over browning).

Cool on rack.

While slightly warm, glaze with frosting of 2 cups powdered sugar mixed with 3-4 Tablespoons milk.

Decorate with bits of red and green candied cherries or sprinkles.


Here we go – melting the butter in the hot milk with the sugar and salt. There are what seems like a lot of steps to this bread, but it’s worth it in the end!


Here are the add-ins: softened yeast, beaten eggs, and chopped candied fruit (I used just cherries instead of fruit and peels).


Here is what it looks like after adding the first 2 cups of flour.


This is with the added chopped fruit.


Here we are at the point where we’ve added everything and we’re starting to knead. Since I use my big mixer, the kneading part is when you put on the dough hook.


Here is the dough ready to rise and then punched down after rising.


This shows the dough before and after baking. Again – the house will smell so good when this is baking!


I tend to decorate this with sprinkles instead of the candied cherries, but either way is just fine. You can freeze it with the frosting on, or leave it off until you are ready to serve it. You can make it as festive as you want to. It’s so pretty and so delicious! You’ll love this bread that’s great with leftover Christmas ham or turkey. It’s even great toasted. Enjoy!






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