I have to admit that I don't know the origins of this cookie recipe, only that my grandma made them every year at Christmas time, and that while they were not a favorite of mine early on (no frosting you know) they have become one of those seasonal traditions that I look forward to every year!
I should preface this recipe by saying it is not for the faint of heart, another facet of this seasonally traditional delicious cookie is of my grandmother's resounding "Oh Gaad!" when faced with the prospect of making them!
My grandma had a kind of universal swear word which expressed everything from mild amusement to true and utter exasperation or frustration, and I sometimes think that the true name of this cookie should be "OH GAAD!"
It's not that the recipe is complicated exactly, but it is a lot of work and there is a certain balance that must be achieved in the frying process to ensure that the cookie stays light and soft instead of dense and thick!
Do not be deterred, however, this cookie is epic, and so worth the effort!
Ok, lets get started...
What you will need:
1/4 pound margarine (little more)
Ok, pause here, the recipe actually says (little more) like that!
1/4 tsp Cardamom
2/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 tbls table cream
1 pound of flour (4 cups)
1 1/2 lbs of lard (for the fryer)
Begin by creaming the sugar and margarine.
Add one egg at a time...
This is the magic that adds that touch of spiced flavor to the cookie!
Add flour and cream...
Make into balls the size of a soft ball before you roll out. (sorry missed the ball, pun intended, on the photo here)
Roll out and cut into strips.
This is a bit tricky as the dough must be rolled out thinly, but not so thin that it tears when you cut it up!
This is the handy dandy pastry cutting tool that we use to get those pretty edges!
Ok, once you roll it out you want to cut it into strips, then cut a small slice in the center of your strip so that you can flip one side through creating this pretty twisted look.
The best explanation I can come up with for how you turn it is that it is like flipping your ponytail inside out...ok, maybe that's too vague a reference!
It's a matter of taking one end and pushing it through the small opening you cut...
Basically, it should look like this!
Ok, once you have a pile of these it's time to fry!
This is bucket 'o lard, you can use Crisco, but this is an old school cookie, and lard is what my grandma used, so...
You'll want to follow the instructions for temperatures on your fryer, ours was set to 400 degrees, but they vary.
The recipe says to fry in lard until light brown, then drain on brown paper.
You can't fry too many at once, and you must watch them closely because it doesn't take long, but when you are done...
It's cookie perfection!!!
This cookie is a very special tradition for me, my grandmother is no longer with us, but I take a moment and think of her as I sit with my cup of coffee and my lets be honest 3 or maybe 4 Klejners!
I hope you try it, it's really something special!