Regular readers will know that the Eurovision Song Contest lives large on my social calendar. Every year, a dedicated group of us gather in a lounge room somewhere in South East Qld to celebrate all that is so bad and yet, so good about Eurovision.
Over the years we have honed party planning of this major event down to a fine art. There’s the (un)lucky draw to see which countries you’ll be supporting during the evening; score sheets to rate important aspects of the performance such as outfit, novelty value and choreography; drinking games (wind machine, pyrotechnics, costume reveal, key change) and of course, the trophy. And then there’s the food – well known specialties and lesser known delicacies. This year there was the added bonus of novelty catering by IKEA as the ultimate Eurovision country was hosting. Sweden.
Anne & Richard accept their fate in 2012
It was Richard and Anne who had plucked Sweden out of the hat last year. They’ve moved beyond the Brisbane city limits and have headed for the Sunshine Coast hinterland township of Witta (just near Maleny). For those of you not familiar with Witta, it’s a couple of hours drive from Brisbane and with far too many drinkies planned and Eurovision inevitably running over time, the only thing to do was have a sleep over. Typically we share out cooking responsibilities with everyone bringing a plate however this year, Eurovision coincided with the Noosa Food & Wine Festival. This meant that we were already on the Sunshine Coast for the weekend with a lack of cooking or refrigeration facilities prior to the big party night.
A modest search on Google conjured up ‘Swedish Icebox Cookies’. They didn’t sound very authentic but they did fit the bill as far as being able to be made in advance. The two things that made them Swedish were the heritage of the person who posted the recipe on All Recipes and the fact that the cookies contained Caraway. Caraway is actually the fruit of a plant though we think of it as a seed. It has an anise like flavour and is a hugely popular ingredient in Scandinavian countries where it is used to flavour rye breads and the spirit (fire water) Akavit.
This is a very simple recipe that can be easily made by kids. They are great at breakfast with a cup of hot coffee after a big night of celebrating – as we found out.
Swedish Icebox Cookies
250g butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 – 3 cups plain flour, sifted (see note)
15g Caraway seeds (approx 3 tbsp)
2 cups walnuts, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Stir in eggs and vanilla extract to combine
Sift 2 1/2 cups of flour into bowl. Add Caraway seeds and walnuts
Stir ingredients well to form a stiff dough. You may need more flour or 2 1/2 cups may be sufficient – this depends on the humidity, size of eggs etc
Form dough into a long log, rolled in cling wrap or greaseproof paper. Chill for at least 2 hours
Remove dough from fridge and cut into 1 cm slices.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in oven pre-heated to 175c
Makes approx 45
After adding first two + half cups of flour, the dough will be quite stiff so if you do add more flour, I suggest you mix it with your hands to make sure it’s well incorporated
I’ve selected 15g of Caraway seeds as this is the size of a standard bag of Hoyts Caraway available as most supermarkets. The measurement does not need to be exact.
This makes a lot of cookies (depending of their size) so I froze half of the dough to use another time. Just defrost, slice and bake.
When you’re watching Eurovision, you want your country to do well. But not too well. If your country wins, you end up having to host the party the following year. And that’s what happened to me…Denmark by a landslide! So I’ll see you back here in 12 months.