vrijdag 18 februari 2011

Swedish Farmer Cookies & Paraguayan Cane Sugar

Some weeks ago, I received a brand new package of Dansukker's cane sugar which is produced in Paraguay. This sugar is ecological and carries the international Fair-trade mark symbol (an independent consumer guarantee for the product. It helps producers of Paraguayan cane sugar to get a better deal from International Trade).

Whenever I get my hand on a new product, I like to put it to a test. So, I decided to use cane sugar instead of common white raffined caster sugar in cookies. Cane sugar is good not only for fruits and berries but also for baking. What better way to test the baking properties of this product than to bake good old fashioned cookies.

Dansukker's cane sugar has rather large, crunchy crystals. It is light yellow in colour and has a caramel sweetness. It suits crisp, sweet, Swedish Farmer cookies' "need". They are typical Swedish cookies. Quick to make, small, sweet to eat. My grandmother used to make them. My mother too. They are a Christmas favorite, but can be served at any occasion.

Farmer Cookies/Bondkakor

Bondkakor/Farmer Cookies

approx. 65-70 cookies

* 200 grams softened butter, margarine, or half margarine/half butter
* 2 dl cane sugar
* 2 tablespoons golden syrup
* 1 dl roughly chopped almonds
* 5 dl plain wheat flour
* 1� teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1. Whisk the butter, golden syrup and cane sugar using an electric whisk.
2. Mix in chopped almonds.
3. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda, add it to the butter mixture, and work into a smooth dough.
4. Shape the dough into two logs, about 3-4 centimeters in diameter (1� inches)
5. Put dough logs into the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap (the dough, properly wrapped, will keep well for up to 7 days in the refrigerator).
6. After the dough logs are chilled, unwrap and slice them.
7. With a sharp knife, cut the logs into slices, � cm/0.2" thick. If the slices lose their roundness when you hit an almond, fix the shape with your hands.
8. Place slices apart on baking trays lined with baking paper.
9. Bake in the middle of the oven, 175�C/350�F, for 12-15 minuter. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Here's a trick to measuring the syrup. It's rather difficult to get all of it out of a spoon, isn't it? Use the back of a tablespoon to make indentations in the soft butter. Pour syrup into the indentations.

Using online conversion calculators to convert metric measurements such as deciliter (dl) and grams (g) to US cups is pretty simple. Unfortunately, not very reliable. There are other problems. The ingredients themselves differ. For instance, different countries do not produce equivalent flours. Butter made in different countries may differ because the cow's milk is different and so on ...

I'm sure this causes problems for people outside Sweden who wish to cook and bake recipes from this blog. Anyway, the Farmer cookie recipe is pretty forgiving, so feel free to experiment with it until you get the desired result.

1 stick of butter = 113 grams = approx. 1/2 cup
1 deciliter (dl) plain wheat flour = 60 grams = approx. 1/2 cup
1 deciliter (dl) cane sugar = 70 grams = approx. 1/3 cup
1 deciliter (dl) almonds = 65 grams = approx. 3/4 cup

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