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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Holiday Cookie/Treat Swap Around the World -- a Multicultural Link Party

Christmas time always brings cookie swaps and I thought it would be fun to have a virtual one around the world. Cookies have many different names around the world like biscuits in England and Australia and galletas in Spain.  The idea of Christmas cookies probably started in the Middle Ages. The use of spices started in Europe during the Middle Ages. Cookies have probably evolved quite a bit since then, but think of some of the heavier spiced cookies like gingerbread that we associate with Christmas. (Sources: What's Cooking America and History Channel) To make this swap happen I asked my fellow Kid Blogger Network and Multicultural Kid Blogs members to join me. A few signed up and I am hoping you will join us as well!! Then I googled our favorite kind of Christmas cookies--thumbprints and discovered they are from Sweden!!


So we of course explored Thumbprints or Rosenmunnar in Swedish. As I looked at recipes for Thumbprints I discovered there are two kinds out there. The Swedish ones seem to be simple ones that only have four ingredients: butter, sugar, flour and jam. I had not made these before so we decided to go traditional and try it. I used the recipe from All Recipes, but similar recipes are all over the internet. I have read that their name literally means red mouth or red kiss.  I found ours to be too big and too dry. We should have stuck to the small size the recipe said to make them and not American oversize them. We would have liked them much better smaller.

Thumbprints or Rosenmunnar


1 cup of butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1-2 cups of flour (the recipe we used called for 2 but I have seen others with only 1 and think it would be better with less than 2)
1/2 cup of fruit jam (usually a red one)

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in the flour. Shape the cookies into 1/2-inch balls (do not make the mistake we did and make them any bigger). Push your thumb into the center of the ball to make a small indent. Fill the indent with jam. Bake the cookies in a pre-heated oven of 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.


Now usually we make thumbprints from a recipe more like this one. I like the ones with the eggs, vanilla and such better.


Now we also explored a bit about Christmas in Sweden. The interesting thing is that the traditional Christmas dessert is rice pudding in Sweden. We read some books from the library including Annika's Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis which shared a bit of this tradition. Often an almond is hidden in the rice pudding. In the book the person who found it was granted a wish, but I have read on-line that it also is said the person who finds it is the next to be married.
Risgrynsgröt
Risgrynsgrot or Rice Pudding By Caesar (Own work)
 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
We also enjoyed The Christmas Tomten by Viktor Rydberg and illustrated by Harald Wiberg. The Christmas Tomten is the traditional gift bringer in Sweden. Nowadays it may be Santa Claus who delivers them, but traditionally it was a tomten. A tomten is a gnome like creature in Sweden. Of course reading about a tomten reminded us of Winterfrost which we recently reviewed about a nisse in Denmark.
Swedish Christmas card
Tomten on a Swedish Christmas Card By AlphaZeta
(Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

We also read about Little Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve & Christmas in Cultural Traditions in Sweden by Natalie Hyde. Like many countries the holiday season starts with Advent (which begins four Sundays prior to Christmas). A goat called a julbock is a popular symbol in Sweden. It is usually made of straw. Many trees are decorated with straw ornaments, paper Swedish flags and cookies (sugar and gingerbread). The day before Christmas Eve is called Little Christmas Eve and is when the gifts get wrapped. Often there are rhymes on the tags to give hints as to what the gift is.
Julbockar 003
Julbockar By Bernt Fransson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
A traditional Christmas dinner is a Christmas smorgasbord which includes ham, meatballs, little sausages, pickled herring, cheese, rye bread and rice pudding.

That is our exploration of our favorite Christmas cookies and the country they come from. What are your favorite holiday cookies and/or treats?

If you have a recipe of a holiday treat and perhaps a bit of information about the culture it comes from, please share here and then check out all the great recipes and cultures shared so you can tour the world this holiday!! Happy baking!!