Grain-Free Norwegian Berlinerkranser

My Norwegian grandma would be so proud. I recreated a classic Norwegian Christmas cookie and one that she used to make every holiday season: the Berlinerkranser. This wasn’t the only Norwegian cookie she made during the holidays — there were several, but most of them require special Scandinavian tools to make — tools that I don’t have. Fortunately, nothing fancy is needed to make Berlinerkranser cookies, but they are a little tedious and fussy. It’s so worth it though. When I took that first bite, it was an instant stroll down memory lane.

These delicate cookies are rich and buttery, but not too sweet. They literally melt in your mouth and are fantastic alongside a cup of coffee or tea. In this recipe, they take on a little bit darker color due to the coconut sugar, but I assure you, the lovely flavor is all there. Traditionally, pearl sugar or coarse white sugar is used to adorn the cookies, but I opted for crushed almond slices instead. It still offers texture and a bit of crunch. I did actually try some with coconut sugar sprinkled on top too, but liked the almond slices better.

Oh, and you’ll notice a very interesting thing about these cookies — they contain both cooked and raw egg yolks. This was a piece of trivia for me and as many times as I’ve eaten them, I never knew. The yolks are a highlight and normally give the cookie a light yellow hue, but again, because I used coconut sugar, the yellow color isn’t apparent. Well, I guess it’s there…it’s just hidden!

Meanwhile, I wish you all very happy holidays and much joy!

Cheers!

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 hard cooked egg yolks, preferably pasture-raised
  • 2 raw egg yolks, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 cup salted grass-fed butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups Paleo Baking Flour blend (I used and recommend this brand)
  • Egg whites, lightly beaten (saved from the raw eggs)
  • 1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mash the hard cooked egg yolks with a fork. Once mashed, whisk in the raw egg yolks until smooth. Then, add the coconut sugar and whisk again until smooth. Mixture will resemble nut butter.
  2. Next, add the flour and the butter, alternating between the two a little bit at a time until it’s all mixed in. It will look crumbly, but will come together when pressed. Split the dough into two thick logs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, remove dough from fridge and allow to warm up about 30 minutes before handling it. Then, preheat oven to 375 degrees F, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (find HERE).
  4. Divide each log of dough into about 14-15 “snakes” about 1/3″ thick and 4-5″ long. Put half the dough back in the fridge to stay cool while shaping the first half. Carefully shape into overlapped wreaths. Place on the baking sheets and press together to flatten.
  5. Gently brush with egg whites and sprinkle with almonds.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a little bit and then gently place cookies a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Yields: ~30 cookies

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Flourless Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

This time of year is full of indulgences and honestly, there is nothing wrong with indulging, especially when it’s done consciously, with joy, and in the company of those we love. I think whatever we choose to consume shouldn’t leave us feeling crummy though, unless those consequences are worth it and you know what you’re getting into (if you stew over your choice or feel guilty about it after the fact, it’s not worth it). Personally, I want a treat that doesn’t wreck me or send me into a tailspin and make me want all the sweet things. In my opinion, those consequences are not worth it.

Fortunately, there are ways that I can have my cake and eat it too. This holiday brownie recipe fits the bill. It’s made of high-quality ingredients, isn’t too sweet, and doesn’t leave negative after effects. It is, however, decadent, rich in chocolate flavor, and offers a festive dash of peppermint. After all, chocolate and mint are a classic holiday combo. These would be great without the mint though too, so if peppermint is not your thing, go ahead and omit it. Either way, it’s likely these brownies will not last long. We went through two batches quite quickly — just the two of us. It took me a couple batches to get it right, so we ended up with double and both were worth eating!

Meanwhile, catch me making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live later this afternoon, between 3-4pm PST. Watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil, melted
  • 3 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 drops dietary-safe peppermint essential oil OR 1 tsp peppermint extract (where to get high-quality essential oils)
  • 2 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal/flour (I like this brand)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 oz good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 88%)

For the ganache:

  • 3 oz good-quality dark chocolate, broken into squares (I used 88%)
  • 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil

Garnish:

  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut butter, or to taste (I like this brand)

Directions:

  1. Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. In a separate medium-size bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, except for the chopped chocolate.
  3. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet. Whisk until smooth. Then, fold in the chopped dark chocolate with a spatula.
  4. Pour batter into lined baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool in pan.
  5. For the ganache, melt 3 oz dark chocolate and 3 Tbsp butter in a double boiler on the stove, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can melt in the microwave, but be sure to do it on a lower power setting and keep a close eye. If your microwave has a melt feature, you can go that route as well.
  6. Once brownies are cool to the touch, pour the ganache on top and spread with a spatula in an even layer or gently shake pan to spread. Chill in the refrigerator until ganache is set. Then, drizzle with melted coconut butter and slice into desired-size squares.