“God Jul” means merry (good) Christmas in Norwegian. The holiday is celebrated with traditional dishes the entire month of December. “Syv sorter,” in which “seven sorts” of baked goods are offered, is a favorite custom. There are about 20 traditional cookies that families choose from, and at the top of many lists is “nøttetopper,” a chewy, crunchy, gluten-free hazelnut macaroon with a single hazelnut placed in the middle of each cookie.
|A Norwegian Santa’s helper (nisse) riding on a marzipan pig|
Most recipes list only 3 ingredients: egg whites, hazelnuts and sugar. Something magical happens to those simple ingredients when they are whipped and baked as they have a rich, full flavor. Getting the cookies to turn out chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside can be a bit of a challenge but gets easier with practice. You can form the cookies with two spoons, although we found it easier to add height by using a piping bag with a large nozzle. The same cookie, Nussmakronen, is made in Germany. The cookies are a bit fragile so a sturdy cardboard box with shredded paper for padding can help protect them in transit. Here are a few recipes: