November 11, 2011

Brandy Ring Twists, a traditional Swedish Christmas cookie

I've got the bug to bake!

I've pulled my vintage "Visions of Sugarplums" cookbook off the shelf and now I want to make everything in it's content!

What I especially love about the book is the traditional Christmas recipes from around the world.

Most of the recipes are from Sweden, Italy, Germany, Finland, France and a few from the Pennsylvania Dutch, which were German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania.

I have German ancestors who settled in Pennsylvania.

It got me to thinking!

This holiday season, why don't I make recipes that honor my children's heritage. On my husband's side, there's Finnish and Swedish...and on my side, there is German and Polish. My kids can join in on each recipe so they can feel a part of their heritage.

The first recipe we made was in honor of their Swedish roots. It is a cookie called Brandy Ring Twists.

Let me tell you...I love them! They are buttery, crisp and sweet.

My youngest son had the day off school and I had already made the dough the day before. The dough should be chilled while working with it. We had fun making these and they were quite easy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the process, romanticizing the possibility that my children's great grandmother had stood in her own kitchen, mixing this very same recipe, creaming the butter eggs and sugar, adding the flour and such, then rolling ropes of dough to twist into beautiful sweet wreaths.

I wish I could see through a tiny window into the past...maybe I'd see a strong, handmade, wooden table for a work space, a fire crackling in the kitchen warming the drafty home, flour on Great Grandma's apron, her hands working the dough.

As my sweet little boy and I worked side by side, questions about his Great Grandma filled my mind...Wonder what kind of person she was? Wonder what kinds of hardship she's endured? Wonder what were the great moments of joy in her life?

This is why I keep a journal. So far, I have four journals to pass on to my children, my grandchildren and future generations.
I include simple details of daily life and I know one day, someone will appreciate it.

Here is the recipe for Brandy Ring Twists.
I hope you enjoy making these for your family.
Maybe this recipe will inspire you to look up traditional Christmas recipes from your ancestor's homelands.
If you do, I would love to hear about it.


1 1/4 c. unsalted butter
2/3 c. sugar
1 egg yolk
3 Tbsp. brandy (you can substitute rum)*
3 1/4 c. flour, approximately
cinnamon sugar (3 Tbsp. cinnamon mixed with 1 cup powdered or granulated sugar)

Cream butter and sugar. Beat egg yolk with brandy or rum and mix into creamed butter. Gradually mix in just enough flour to make a smooth but soft dough. (I used 3 cups total) Form dough into 2 balls and chill for 1 to 2 hours. When dough is chilled, pinch off small pieces of dough and roll into 5 inch, pencil thin ropes. Pair 2 ropes together and twist around each other. Bring ends together and pinch to form a ring shaped wreath. Dip cookie into cinnamon sugar and place on cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 13 minutes. These cookies will stay fairly light in color when fully baked.

*If you don't want to purchase a full bottle of brandy or rum just for 3 Tbsp. in a cookie recipe, you can buy tiny 50 ml. bottles at the liquor store for $1.99 a piece. They measure out to be about 3 1/2 TBSP, perfect for one recipe.