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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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
6 thoughts on “Murder Cookies (guest post)”
so fun! looking forward to this series.
deborah: I’m also excited!!!
Love it. You should use weight measurements for the flour though, instead of volume. If you have a scale.
Austin: its a good idea as it can be tricky to measure flour! However I don’t have a scale… and to be honest I never trust the measurement anyway… its in my hands!
Lovely! sweet tradition! and how cozy seems the watching mysteries while baking!
Thanks from Milan!!!
Thanks Angela, I also think that mysteries and cookies are a great combination.