06 June


Swedish Heirloom Cookies

Swedish Heirloom Cookies

June 21: Summer Solstice/Midsummer

We blogged before about Mexican wedding cookies (also known as Danish wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes and Hawaiian snow balls). A similar sweet is the Swedish heirloom cookie, which includes walnuts instead of pecans. These beloved wedding cookies are rife with symbolism—white for bridal purity, sugar for a sweet married life and nuts for fertility.

Although these cookies are popular during the holiday season (Christmas and the winter solstice), we make Swedish heirloom cookies for the midsummer season (midsommar in Swedish) and the summer solstice. We also serve them to our June brides and the engaged couples we sponsor through our church’s marriage preparation program.

Coincidentally, the famous “Wedding March” by Felix Mendelssohn was composed for William Shakespeare’s play titled “Midsummer Night’s Dream”! Summer seems to be an ideal time for weddings. So make these simple and sweet Swedish heirloom cookies for summer weddings and summer solstice celebrations.

Recipe

(Adapted from Saveur)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

In a small skillet, toast the walnuts. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Swedish Heirloom Cookies

Add the flour and salt and blend well. Mix in the walnuts. Form into a cookie dough. Roll into balls between ¾-1 inch.

Swedish Heirloom Cookies

Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet about two inches apart to allow the cookies to expand. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar. Cool completely and place in mini cupcake papers.

Swedish Heirloom Cookies

Notes

Swedish Visiting Cake

Swedish Visiting Cake

June 21: Midsommar/Summer Solstice

We used to attend the Swedish Day Midsommar Festival when we lived in Illinois. Hailed as the Midwest’s oldest and largest “midsommar” (midsummer) festival, the city of Geneva, where it took place, was less than a half-hour drive from our home. We enjoyed the Swedish cultural costumes and performances, the colorful maypole-raising ritual and, of course, the smörgåsbord of Swedish foods!

To celebrate the summer solstice—the longest day of the year—we baked a simple “Swedish Visiting Cake”. Reminiscent of other European almond cakes, like the German Magdalenenstriezeln (for St. Mary Magdalene), Greek Vasilopita (for St. Basil) and Spanish Tarta de Santiago (for St. James), this “Swedish Visiting Cake” could be made for St. John, whose feast day on June 24 is also associated with midsummer.

This is a quick and easy cake to make, especially when visitors are arriving at short notice (hence, the name of “visiting cake”). Serve this Swedish sweet with coffee and tea to show hospitality to guests—or to welcome the summer season.

Recipe

(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan)

Ingredients

  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ – 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we used vanilla paste)
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds (we used slivered almonds)

Directions

Grate a lemon. In a large bowl, mix the sugar with the freshly grated lemon zest. Beat in the eggs. Add the salt. Mix well. Meanwhile, melt the butter and cool slightly.

Swedish Visiting Cake

Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Mix in the flour. Pour the melted butter into the flour mixture and blend until the batter is smooth.

Swedish Visiting Cake

Pour into a greased pie pan or 9-inch cake pan. Sprinkle with almonds and a little granulated sugar on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden brown (the edges will be lightly crisp but the middle should be soft and moist). Remove the cake from the oven and let cool slightly before loosening the sides with a knife or spatula. Slice into wedges. Serve warm or cool.

Swedish Visiting Cake

Notes

  • “Swedish Visiting Cake” is traditionally baked in a cast iron pan.

Chicken Oreganata

Chicken Oreganata

June 10: Herbs and Spices Day

Breaded chicken breasts are sometimes boring. So we like to spice (and herb) them up with oregano, mint, salt and pepper and turn them into a simple yet savory, tender and aromatic dish. The addition of tomatoes makes this meal moist and more flavorful. Cbicken Oreganata is our choice for observing Herbs and Spices Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Healthy Home Cooking by the Editors of Prevention Magazine)

Ingredients

  • 3-4 chicken breasts, flattened
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs, unseasoned
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3-4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • olive oil

Directions

Line a baking dish with foil and mist with cooking spray. Set aside. In a lipped pan, combine the lemon juice with minced garlic. Toss the chicken in this mixture and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Chicken Oreganata

In a small bowl, mix together the oregano, mint, salt and pepper.

Chicken Oreganata

Combine half of this herb and spice mixture with the breadcrumbs and cheese. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned breadcrumbs and place in the prepared baking dish. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and scatter them around the chicken.

Chicken Oreganata

Sprinkle the remaining herb and spice mixture over the chicken and tomatoes. Drizzle some olive oil over them. Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are soft and juicy. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and arrange the tomatoes around it. Pour any pan juices over the chicken. Serve hot with rice.

Chicken Oreganata

Notes

  • Thanks to Highlander’s Mum for gifting us with the cookbook from which we used the recipe for Chicken Oreganata.
  • Search our blog for other chicken recipes.

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