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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Oven-Baked Grain-Free Party Mix

I grew up eating homemade Chex Mix every year during the holiday season from the time I was a little kid on. It was something I ate copious amounts of (along with all the Christmas cookies mom made) and thoroughly enjoyed. I even adored its salty aroma when it was baking in the oven and it lured me into the kitchen every time.

Naturally, like any person, I picked out the stuff I liked best. For me, it was the cashews and wheat Chex, especially the pieces that were extra coated in seasoning and stuck together in a chewy sorta way. Anyone else know what I’m talking about here?

Anyway, after discovering I was allergic to gluten several years ago and then later going completely grain-free, I thought my Chex Mix days were over. It would have been doable when I was just gluten-free, but no grains at all is a different story.  And, honestly, for a long time, I didn’t miss or think about this salty snack mix much, but something struck me this year and I really wanted to create my own version. I also assumed there were many others that wanted a grain-free party mix as well. So, I figured it out and let me just stay that it’s amazing, salty, and still addictive.

I recommend using the best quality nuts/seeds you can find, meaning raw and sprouted whenever possible. Feel free to swap out any of the nuts for other varieties as well. For instance, hazelnuts and pecans would be amazing in this recipe. Macadamia nuts too. The plantain chips add some extra crunch and variety, and the big flakes of coconut take on the flavor of the seasoning while adding another layer of texture. Speaking of the seasoning, it is spot on and meets all the requirements. Also, I opted for coconut aminos and fish sauce to create a Worcestershire-like flavor because I don’t like the Worcestershire sauce options out there. It proved to be a winning combo.

If you give this recipe a try, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Cheers and happy holidays!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup melted grass-fed butter, ghee, or avocado oil
  • 1.5 cups raw almonds, preferably sprouted
  • 1 cup raw cashews, preferably sprouted
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, preferably sprouted
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, preferably sprouted
  • 4 oz package roasted plantain chips (I like this brand)
  • 1 heaping cup unsweetened coconut flakes (not shredded)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos (find here)
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce (I like this brand, which is gluten-free and unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules or powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules or powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a large roasting pan, mix together the almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and plantain chips. In a small bowl, whisk the melted butter or ghee (obviously you don’t have to melt avocado oil, if using) with the coconut aminos, fish sauce, and all the seasonings.
  3. Pour the seasoning mixture over the nut mix and stir to coat. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Once cooled, store in airtight container.

Holiday Mashed Parsnips

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Oh my gosh…these parsnips! Holy moly, I am not exaggerating when I say that the flavor practically blew me away! Words cannot express how delicious these are — you just have to taste them to truly understand. They are creamy, buttery, savory and slightly sweet. In a nutshell, they taste like the holidays and would be a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve already decided these will make an appearance at our Thanksgiving this year…maybe even Christmas dinner too. Whatever you do though, do not omit the shallot, as it really is the icing on the cake. That, and really good broth — homemade if possible.

Go forth and enjoy. Happy Tuesday!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large parsnips, peeled and chopped (about 1 lb worth)
  • 1 Tbsp pasture-raised duck fat or other high-quality fat of choice
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 shallot bulb, thinly sliced (make sure the shallot has 3-4 cloves)
  • 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup chicken or beef bone broth, plus more if needed
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chopped parsnips on a large pan and drizzle on the duck fat. Stir and season to taste with sea salt. Roast in oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a small skillet. Add the sliced shallots and saute over medium heat until soft and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and pour into the food processor container.
  3. Once parsnips are done, add to the food processor with the shallots. Pour in the broth, remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and pepper to taste. Add more sea salt to taste, if desired. Process until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed. If need be, add more broth to reach desired consistency.
  4. Garnish with fresh chives, if using and serve.

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