Category Archives: fika

Wild Cherry Pie

There is an old railroad path where the tracks have been gone for many years. Nasty weeds such as stinging nettles are about to take over as almost no one walks there anymore. Along the path a little further on grows some black cherry trees.  The cherries are tiny, sweet with a slight almond taste. They are absolutely fantastic and something I long for every summer.  Its a great treat (despite the burning weeds) to eat directly or to freeze for pies and hot sauces in the Autumn. As they are just too good to be left on the tree for the birds to eat, I will continue coming back each year.

Wild Cherry Pie
serves 4

almond dough
300 ml (1 ¼ cup) milled almonds
100 g (3 ½ ounces) butter
5 tablespoons sucanat

about 750 ml pitted black wild cherries (or similar)

With your hands mix together butter, milled almonds and sugar. Work the dough together. As this is not a crumble, the dough should feel a little sticky. Let it rest in the fridge for about an hour. Grease a 9 ½ inch pie form and arrange the cherries in the form. Flatten some of the dough out in your hand and place over the cherries. The crust should be about 1/4” thick. Repeat until all the cherries are covered. Bake the pie in the oven at 200°C (400F) until the crust has started to get color, about 15 minutes. The crust should be a little crisp and still buttery. Serve warm with some whipped cream.

This recipe was first published at Honest Cooking1 September 2011.



Sticky Chocolate Cake (kladdkaka)

Most Swedes have probably made Sticky Chocolate Cake (kladd kaka) at least once or twice in their lives. If not they’ve eaten it for sure. I don’t know if this sticky chocolate cake is originally from Sweden but its something that’s definitely a Swedish thing to bake and enjoy. The ingredient that really makes this cake, aside from the unsweetened cocoa powder, is the ingredient that isn’t there: baking powder. The idea is that the cake should be chocolate rich, sticky and dead baked (it doesn’t rise)!

Most recipes for Sticky Cake contain the ingredients: egg, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, salt and melted butter. The ratio varies from one baking Swede to another. However the ingredients are simply mixed together with no fuss and baked just enough.

I have enjoyed it filled with mint or licorice, topped with whipped cream and bananas, flavored with Cognac or just plain and wonderful. In my latest version I have switched the flour to milled almonds. I also use the richest unsweetened cacao powder (like Valrhona) and, as I’m married to a Pole, I like to top the cake with Poppy seeds (makiem). The flavoring is plain, with Rum or star anise.


2 eggs
250 ml (1 cup) sucanat (or muscovado sugar)
4-6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (of good quality)
one teaspoon salt (less if using salted butter)
200 ml (almost 1 cup) milled almonds
4 oz (a touch more than 100g) butter, melted

alternative flavors (optional)
1-2 star anise (crushed and soaked in 2 tablespoons of vodka for one hour)
about two tablespoons Rum

poppy seeds

Whisk eggs and sucanat together in a bowl. Stir in the milled almonds, cocoa powder and salt. Pour in the butter and stir until smooth.

Add the flavor (optional), either Rum or the star anise infused vodka to the mixture.
Pour the mixture into a greased 9” spring form. Sprinkle some poppy seeds on top.

Bake the cake in the oven at 350 F (150°C) for about 15 minutes. The cake should just be set on top and sticky inside. Let the cake cool off.

This recipe was first published on Honest Cooking4 May 2011.


Semlor for Fat Tuesday (guest post)

My second guest to write here on kokblog is Anna Brones who is a Swede (like me) living in Portland, Oregon. Anna is a writer and co-funder of Under Solen Media (New Media Marketing company). We just met on the Internet and immediately started a conversations around Swedish treats such as knäckebröd, gravlax, and the Swedish Fat Tuesday bun called Semla.

Semlor For Fat Tuesday
by Anna Brones

In my family, as with many, food represents tradition. As a child growing up with a smorgasbord – pun intended – of Swedish foods all year round, I found nothing unusual in our repertoire of dining choices. There should always be hard tack in the pantry, pickled herring and aquavit indicate a good party, and open-faced sandwiches are a perfectly acceptable way to start the day. In Sweden, yes. In the U.S., maybe not.

The same goes for seasonal traditions. I can’t have Christmas without meatballs, and I can’t have a winter without a semla.

semla, also known as fastlagsbulle or fettisbulle, is a flour bun filled with almond paste and topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar. Historically the decadent pastry was intended for consumption on fettisdagen, Fat Tuesday. But in modern day, the tradition of semlor has gone far beyond just fettisdagen, allowing for Swedish pastry shops and bakeries to fill their windows with the baked good from just after the New Year all the way through Easter. Several months of pastry bliss.

But tucked into the forest of the Pacific Northwest, we were thousands of miles from a Swedish bakery. And yet, I remember that antsy feeling that would come in the late winter months, as my mother would whip out the baking supplies and create masterpieces of almond paste and whipped cream. I would inevitably end up with powdered sugar on my nose.

And thus tradition was born. If Fat Tuesday comes and goes without having eaten one, something is wrong. But with a food savvy mother, my own food traditions come with high expectations.

So in preparation for fettisdagen this year, I figured it best to make some semlor in advance, fine tuning the recipe and ensuring that come Fat Tuesday, I could successfully produce a baked good that would live up to my own standards.

A misread recipe and a bag of whole wheat flour later, I had a batch of cinnamon rolls and a plate full of mini-sized semlor buns on my hands, small enough to be bite size for a five year old. Failure.

“You used whole wheat flour?”

“Well yeah, you know how guilty I feel about buying regular flour,” I responded to my mother on the phone. Along with food tradition, she has also instilled a continued expectation of stocking my apartment full of healthy food. Things made with white flour and sugar are out of the ordinary.

“Did you even buy whipping cream?”

“Umm… no,” I quietly added. What am I going to do with an entire bowl full of whipping cream by myself? I thought.

“Anna, if you’re going to make something decadent, make something decadent. It has to be a real semla!”

And that is where tradition wins. No need to use organic agave instead of sugar, or switch out unbleached white flour or even attempt to make something that doesn’t use butter and eggs, because when it comes to baking and cooking in the name of tradition, you stick with what works, and you get what you expect: a celebratory moment with a cup of coffee and a semla.

(20 buns)
400F (200°C)

250 ml (one cup) milk
100 g (3 ½ oz) melted butter
25 g fresh yeast (2 teaspoons dry yeast)
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cardamom
1 egg
850 ml (3 2/3 cups) flour

1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing

200g (about 1/2 lb) almond paste
insides of the buns + 200 ml (7/8 cup) milk
100 ml (½ cup) whipped cream

Melt butter and add in milk. Heat until lukewarm. Pour over yeast and let sit for 3 minutes. Add rest of ingredients and work the mixture into dough. Leave dough to rise under cloth for 15 minutes.

Knead dough on floured surface. Separate into two sections, then each section into 10 small balls. Place on greased baking pan and let rise for 20 minutes. Glaze each bun with lightly beaten egg. Bake approximately 15 minutes. Cover the buns with a cloth and cool on a wire rack.

To fill
Cut off a circular “lid” off of each bun and set aside. Scoop out inside of bun with a spoon or fork. Mix in a bowl with almond paste and add milk to make a smooth mixture.

Fill buns with mixture and top with whipping cream. Place lid on top of whipping cream and garnish with powdered sugar.


You can follow Anna Brones on twitter, @AnnaBrones

More Swedish baked classics

Kanelbullar – Swedish Cinnamon Bun
Pepparkakor – Ginger Bread Cookies (at EcoSalon)
Lussebullar – Saffron Buns
Mazariner – Guest post by Anna Brones

Coconut Macaroons

Summer is ending, at least here in Sweden and at the moment I’m dreaming of a balcony in the East Village where the summer will last a little bit longer. My favorite baking treat this summer has been my simple Coconut Macaroons.

(makes about 25-30 macaroons)

50 gram (1/8  lb) butter
3 egg whites, room temperature (use the yolks for a Pasta alla Carbonara or a Mayonnaise)
50 ml (¼ cup) regular sugar
100 ml (½ cup) sucanat
200 gram flaked coconut

Melt the butter and set aside to cool down.  Whip the egg whites with regular sugar until stiff (its important that the bowl is absolutely clean before you start and that the eggs really are at room temperature).  Carefully blend in the sucanat followed by the coconut flakes and lastly the cooled melted butter. Let the mixture rest a little. Take a teaspoon and scoop up some of the mixture onto a greased baking sheet.  Repeat until the mixture is divided. Bake for about 12 minutes at 175°C. Let the cookies cool totally before storing them in a sealed container. Enjoy!

(Another cookie recipe: Hazelnut & Cinnamon Cookies)

Murder Cookies (guest post)

For a long time I’ve had the idea to invite friends and others I think are fantastic food personalities to post here. The idea is to have them write and me illustrate the post.

My first guest is the Swedish food journalist Alice Brax and the woman behind my absolute favorite Swedish food blog Brax on Food. Alice blogs about  restaurants, food shopping, seasonal food products and whats happening behind the scenes as a food journalist in Stockholm. We met for the first time through our blogs in 2005  at the cafe Vetekatten in Stockholm. Since then we have shared many fantastic food moments, either in our own kitchens or in restaurants in NYC and Sweden. At the moment Alice Brax is visiting NYC.


Murder She Baked
by Alice Brax

I spend my summers in a small red cottage near Sweden’s biggest lake Vänern. During the long summer nights, it has become a tradition to make cookies while watching British murder mysteries on TV, such as Miss Marple or Midsomer murders. A murder mystery takes about an hour to solve, as does a batch of cookies. At least if you like your cookies pretty and your murder mysteries wrapped up nicely.

Traditionally in Sweden, you are supposed to offer your guests at least seven different kinds of cookies. But who has the time for that much baking? My secret is to use Swedish classic dough to create at least seven different kinds of cookies.

seven types of cookies
(this dough makes about 80 small cookies in different colors and shapes)

3 ½ sticks of butter (14 oz)(400gr), room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
4 cups (950 ml)  flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp water

Mix butter, sugar and flour into a dough. Put aside two thirds of the dough. Stir cocoa with water and mix with the remaining dough until it becomes brown.
Put the two pieces of dough in plastic bags and let them rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. This makes the dough easier to handle.

Seven Variations


Chess Squares
Take 3 oz (85 gr) of each dough. Form two ¾ inch (2 cm) rolls out of each of them. Put the four rolls together to form a small chessboard (2×2). Carefully press the roll against the table on all four sides to form a square roll. Cut less than ¼ inch (0.7 cm) thick cookies and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C) – they should not get much color! When I really want to impress my guests I make the chessboard 3×3 instead, still keeping the cookie the same small size.


Think Pink
½ cup (120 ml) sugar
4 drops red food coloring
Form 5 oz (140 gr) of the light dough into a 1 ½ inch (4 cm) thick roll. Mix sugar and food coloring until it becomes pink. Pour the sugar on a plate and role the dough until it is covered with sugar. Cut less than ¼ inch (0.7 cm) thick cookies and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C) – they should not get much color!


Jam Caves
4 tbsp of your favorite jam
Form 5 oz (140 gr) of the light dough into a 1 ½ inch (4 cm) thick roll. Cut ½ inch (1 cm) thick cookies and place on a greased baking sheet. Use your little finger to carefully make a dimple in the middle of the cookie. Fill the dimple with less than half a tsp of jam. Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F (200°C) – they should not get much color!


Tanned Top
Form 3 oz (85 gr) of the light dough into a 1 inch (2,5 cm) thick roll. Roll out 1 ½ oz (ca 40 gr) of the dark dough 3 inch (5 cm) wide and as long as the roll (about ¼ inch thick). Roll the dark dough around the light roll. Cut less than ¼ inch thick (0.7 cm) cookies and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C) – they should not get much color!


Pig’s Nose
Form 2 ½ oz (ca 70 gr) of the dark dough into two thin rolls. Roll out 4 oz (113 g) of the light dough 4 inch (10 cm) wide and as long as the two dark rolls. Roll the light dough around the dark rolls, one at a time. Cut less than ¼ inch (0.7 cm) thick cookies and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C) – they should not get much color!


Finish Cocktail Sticks (Finska pinnar)
½ cups almond
2 tbsp pearl sugar
Roll out 7 oz (200gr) of the light dough to a 5 x 5 inch big square (about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick). Chop the almonds coarsely. Sprinkle almond and pearl sugar on top of the square and pat it in with your palm. Cut the dough into 1 inch thick strips and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C) – they should not get much color!


It’s not only a swing dance, it’s a classic Swedish cookie as well.
1 egg white
4 tbsp sugar
6 drops red food coloring
Roll out 7 oz (200gr) of the light dough into a 7 x 5 inch (18×13 cm) big square. For the meringue, beat an egg white with an electric beater. Gradually add sugar, and beat until the meringue is shiny and very stiff. Add the food coloring and stir carefully until the meringue is pink. Spread the meringue evenly on the dough and loosely roll together. Wrap in saran wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the freezer. Cut the dough into 1 inch thick strips and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°F (175°C) – they should not get much color!

1. Don’t use too much flour. If the butter is too warm the dough feels sticky. Try putting it in the fridge for a while.
2.  Don’t overwork the dough or you will end up with chewier cookies.
3.  Size matters! The cookies shouldn’t be bigger then 1 ½ inch in diameter.
4. You can make the dough in advance. Form it into a roll, cover with saran wrap and put into the freezer. When you want to make cookies, just take out the dough, cut them up and bake them.


Follow Alice on twitter, @BraxonFood