Norwegian Christmas Baking: Kakemenn

Quite literally translated as Cookie Men, these are essentially white sugar cookies, with a small change. Instead of baking powder or baking soda, the leavener is horn salt, or ammonium bicarbonate, which gives it a slight “kick” in flavor, and makes the kitchen smell a bit odd while they’re baking in the oven.

It’s one of the easy Norwegian Christmas cookies, that is the most common to use with children. I suspect because it is fun to use the cookie cutters of different sizes and shapes, and to paint with food coloring before the cookies go into the oven to be baked, but that’s just the part that I haven’t outgrown… 🙂

We like to find different shapes of cookie cutters, and paint to make things interesting. Men, women and hearts are the most traditional shapes.

They also last for quite some time – some years we have Kakemenn until March. (If some are frozen, we have occasionally eaten them in August, which just feels plain wrong.)

The recipe below is from Tine.

The dough should be made the night before, so it has time to rest.

100 g melted butter, cooled down.
300 ml sugar
200 ml whole milk
1 tsp horn salt
1 liter all-purpose flour.


Day 1:
1) Add the horn salt to half the flour.
2) Mix together the cool, melted butter, sugar, milk and the flour with horn salt.
3) Add the rest of the flour gradually, until the dough is thick enough. (It is better to use flour sparingly at this stage than to have a dry dough.)
4) Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and set it in a cold place overnight.

Day 2:
1) Warm up the oven to 175 °C
2) Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is about 1/2 cm thick. (We like to say that you should be able to see the pattern in the material beneath the dough, but that depends on what you have underneath)
3) Use cookie cutters to cut out different figures from the dough. Put them onto a sheet tray with waxed/parchment paper underneath.
4) Paint the cookies with liquid food coloring. Your imagination is the limit.
5) Bake for 7 minutes. They should not get to the golden stage – they’re supposed to be white.

By Anne

Anne is a librarian by day. By night, she reads. She knits. She watches movies and television shows. She enjoys board games. And posting on royal related forums.

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