Monday, November 23, 2009

Serinakaker – Norwegian Butter Cookies

Serina and cousin Kristine Maria
Serinakaker, while a classic type of Norwegian Christmas cookie, are so easy to make that it's a pity not to enjoy them more than once a year. While the cookies will have a finer texture if you're able to use hartshorn, baking powder can be substituted for equally delectable results.

Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. hornsalt (a.k.a. hartshorn or baker's ammonia) or 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup cold butter, diced into small cubes
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla sugar (or substitute 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup pearl sugar


Whisk together flour and hornsalt (or baking powder). Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small crumbs. Mix in beaten egg to form a soft dough; stir in sugar and vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract) until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375º. Pinch off dough into balls the size of a walnut; place on ungreased or silpat-lined baking sheet. Use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern on the top of each ball, flattening them slightly. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with chopped almonds and pearl sugar.

Bake on center rack of oven for 10-12 minutes (Note: If using hornsalt, you will notice an ammonia smell as the cookies bake. No worries – this quickly dissipates, leaving the cookies with a delicate texture without affecting their flavor).

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen Serinakaker butter cookies.

This is a recipe I found on the internet with American measures. (The picture is net-based as well). As you can understand Serina cookies are a must in our family. I have a great-grandmother, a grandmother, my mother (Inga Serina)and my daughter all by that name.

The cookies are super easy to make. I always enjoyed having Serina & friends in with me. I use baking powder instead of hornsalt. Also real dairy butter, no margarine. My friend Elisabeth always instructed me; "You are so seldom making your own cookies, at least use the best ingredients when you do."


Pat said...

I agree with using the best ingredients while baking. Some recipes are quite labor intensive and like you say, only make on a rare occasion, so go with the best!
These look delicious!

Amrita said...

Hi Felisol, I must try these , they seem easy to make & I will use baking powder. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I like making cookies

Mrs. Mac said...

Thanks for finding a U.S. friendly recipe, Felisol ... You are great for doing that! I'm hoping to make only Scarf Sister's cookies for Christmas this year.

Trish said...

Love the photo...and I agree with using only the best ingredients!
These sound sooo good!

Sharodindu said...

Alas! I dont have kitchen over here :(

It sound really good and I think not that hectic to cook...surely i'll try some of your receipe when I'll be at my home during X-mass

Maria Stahl said...

Thank you Felisol!

Am I the only one who does not know what pearl sugar is?

Felisol said...

Dear Maria,
I found this on explanation on the internet:
Pearl sugar looks very similar in appearance to the large pieces of salt you might find on a soft pretzel from a pretzel vendor. It is most common in Scandinavian countries, where it makes a pretty topping for many desserts and pastries. It’s a bit hard to find in the US, unless you know where to look. The easiest place to find pearl sugar, according to most people is at either cake decorating stores or at nearby IKEA® stores, though it’s a guess as to whether a local IKEA will carry it. Another good place to look for it is online; even Amazon carries a few brands, most of them imported from Sweden.

From Felisol

sanjeet said...

I will use baking powder. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I like making cookies

Work from home India

kmsd_writer said...

Great blog! I'm glad that you've enjoyed my recipe - however, the text of this recipe is under copyright to the New York Times through If you're going to share it, please include attribution (Kari Diehl, Guide to Scandinavian Food at along with a link to the original text that you've copied: