Biscuits are big in fika, seven kinds of big. It is a Swedish tradition to present guests with seven varieties of ‘kakor’ to accompany their coffee, a custom dating back as far as the 19th century when housewives began to compete over the quality and aesthetic of their spread. It is said that preparing less than seven kinds of biscuits appeared cheap and any more than seven was considered pompous. This tradition established itself as a social ritual and in 1945 a Swedish grocery chain published a book entitled ‘Sju Sorters Kakor’ (Seven Kind of Cookies). It is supposed that you could find a copy of this book in almost every Swedish home.
Swedish biscuits are appealing to me in their simple homeliness. The majority of recipes require few ingredients and incorporate the comforting flavours and textures of nutmeg, hazelnuts, almonds and oats. Plenty of butter is a must as is clattering your baked creations into a loved and dented biscuit tin for safekeeping. Havreflarn became my first bake after an impromptu trip to IKEA when a friend and I sat, post shopping, eating from a huge cardboard box of chocolate-sandwiched Havreflarn. I walked away with some Cloudberry jam and a desire to bake my own batch of oat-laced cookies.
These were a joy to bake accompanied by rain hammering on the windows and the burgeoning smell of toffee-toasted oats. The sugar and the eggs need beating into ribbons and you absolutely must leave the biscuits to cool on the baking sheet else they’ll soften. I sandwiched some of mine with bittersweet chocolate but, really, they’re in their element when baked big, golden and plain, destined to meet a cup of tea.
(Oat Crisp Cookies)
150g instant oats
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350F or 175C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper,
- Whisk sugar and eggs together until sugar is dissolved and mixture is silky and pale
- Mix flour and baking powder together in a small bowl and add to the eggs and sugar.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave. Add to the oats and stir to coat the oats with butter.
- Combine oat mixture with sugar and egg mixture.
- Spoon onto a baking sheet, 2 teaspoons for small cookies, 3 teaspoons for big. Leave plenty of space (5cm) between each cookie.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes but keep an eye on them. Remove them from the oven when the edges on all cookies are brown.
- Leave each batch on the baking tray to cool, this will make them crispy.
- Once cooled you can sandwich the cookies with a thin layer of chocolate and allow to set.
- Store in an airtight container, biscuit tin is best.