Visiting Finland means trying the best of Finnish food- including these adorable Finnish spoon cookies. A perfect holiday cookie recipe- celebrate Christmas the Finnish way!
Guess what? Pura Vida Moms has been invited to Finland by Visit Finland and Finnair for an epic adventure through Helsinki and Lapland.
You’ll get to follow along for the next 10 days on social, and read all about our adventures in the coming months. And make sure to see below for a list of 7 other of our favorite travel bloggers who are joining me on the trip.
But- to celebrate this exciting invitation, I’m sharing with you my favorite Finnish food- Lusikkaleivat.
What Are Finnish Spoon Cookies?
Lusikkaleivat. Big word, right? It just means spoon cookies- and these cookies have been a staple at our house around Christmas time for years. Before I had kids, I used to cook easily over 10 types of Christmas cookies every year, and either gift them to my colleagues or my students.
One year, I did an international Christmas themed cookie baking extravaganza with a friend. She had come across this typical Finnish recipe. We made it together and I’ve been obsessed ever since.
What Are Some Other Traditional Finnish Food Dishes?
Since I’m heading, to Finland, I did a little bit of research on what kind of Finnish food I can expect to eat. There are all sorts of dishes I can’t wait to try, among them the Finnish squeaky cheese (which I really want to compare with traditional Costa Rican cheese!).
I am curious about everything made with rye flour- rye bread, rye crust, and bread cheese. And another Finnish dish I am excited to try is the rice porridge- I wonder if it’s similar to arroz con leche that we eat in Costa Rica?
I’ve heard Finns love berries- and I do get to go to a cloudberry farm in Lapland. Since I love berries too, I’m excited to try the cloudberry jam. Since we have Ikea here in Denver I’ve been able to try the lingonberry jam, which I used in this recipe. And who said blueberry pie?
Since I’m not going to the western part of Finland, I don’t know if I will get to try the Karelian pies- which remind me a bit of kolaches from the Czech heritage.
I’m not a huge fish fan to begin with, and the fried vendance (small whole fried fish) might not make it into my mouth. I’m a foodie, but not the most adventurous one.
I’m excited because we are also visiting a ton of Finnish restaurants that specialize not only in traditional Finnish food, but also some fusion dishes.
How To Make Finnish Spoon Cookies
Ok so back to the cookies. I love love love these cookies and I want to tell you why- including a preview to the recipe that involves a unique technique for making these cookies extra delicious.
First, I love them because they are not too sweet. The dough itself is a bit crumbly and reminds me of shortbread, but with a bit of a unique flavor.
I also love these cookies because they are small. They are like little bite-sized bits of joy. Traditionally these cookies are served sandwich style- two small cookies with a bit of jam between them.
But I am a food rebel, and I love to eat them open-faced. I mean, who can say no to twice the sweet jam? It’s a better jam to cookie ration for me, and I can justify eating double.
Plus, these cookies are super versatile- you can serve them with almost any type of jam in the world. When I first started making them, I was obsessed with the Bonne Maman raspberry jam with seeds, and that’s all I ate with these cookies.
Then, I discovered lingonberry jam at Ikea and that was a super fun traditional touch. I can’t wait to bring back traditional Finnish cloudberry jam to eat with our Finnish spoon cookies this Christmas.
Lately, I’ve been serving these up with tiny Ball jars filled with all kinds of different jams. For example, in our Air BnB some guests left behind a lemon curd, and I put some on these and it was beyond delicious. Or these might also be fun with an egg custard. Of course, you can always eat them plain, but what’s the fun in that?
The Secret Ingredient to This Cookie Recipe
Ok so now to my secret ingredient in these cookies- melted butter. It’s not uncommon at all to have melted butter as an ingredient in a cookie recipe, but these cookies take the melted butter to a whole new level.
That’s because in these Finnish cookies you melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 15 minutes. This makes the butter dark brown and have a slightly nutty flavor- and an incredible aroma. (It’s so delicious, I want an aromatizer with browned butter flavor!)
You also get a few little dark brown bits in the butter that carry through to the cookie dough, making the cookies have a bit more of a colorful texture than just plain old shortbread.
Ok- so that’s probably enough of the Finnish Spoon Cookie talk- you need the recipe already! We’re almost there.
Make sure to follow along with us on social using #VisitFinland and #Finland4Families. And join along with the rest of the travel tribe I’m traveling with this trip. (How’s that for alliteration)?
- Reid- Dotting The Map
- Eileen- FamiliesGo!
- Lisa- Fun Money Mom
- Shellie- KidTripster
- Lucee- MomJunky
- Heidi- Are We There Yet Mom
- LiLing- Trekaroo
- Nicky- Little Family Adventure
UPDATE: I’m back from a most amazing time in Finland! Here are some of my articles from the trip:
- 15 Things To Do In Finland With Kids
- Helsinki- Don’t Miss These Family Activities
- Santa’s Post Office and Northern Lights: Visit Rovaniemi
Also- don’t forget to pin this recipe to save it for later.
Finnish Spoon Cookies Recipe (Lusikkaleivat)
- Dry Ingredients
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- Wet Ingredients
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- To Serve The Cookies
- 1/4 cup berry jam traditional is cloudberry or lingonberry, but I also love strawberry, raspberry, etc
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar optional to dust the tops of the cookies
In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt the cup of butter. You want the butter to brown slightly and have a nutty aroma. This takes about 15 minutes. Once the butter is melted you can put it is a small bowl to cool for 5-10 minutes.
While the butter is browning, you can measure out your dry ingredients into a small bowl and whisk them together.
Next, preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare your baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats. These cookies don't tend to stick to the pan too much, but the bottom will brown quickly if you don't have something between the baking sheet and the cookie.
Add the egg yolk, sugar and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir.
Ok- here's the tricky part and I have messed it up so many times that I need you to take heed of this direction. Make sure your butter is pretty darn cool (room temperaturbefore adding it to the dough. If you don't, you'll cook your egg yolk. If this happens, the cookies won't bind together very well and they will have bits of cooked egg in them. It's just- weird. Avoid at all costs.
Mix everything together to form a crumbly dough- it's like that kinetic sand kids use in preschool.
Once you have formed the dough, you can either leave it at room temperature for a few hours if you are tired and don't want to form the cookies right away, or you can make the cookies. If you refrigerate this dough, it will lose its texture and you can't form the spoon cookies. (Trust me, I know)
Using a teaspoon or a soup spoon, you will begin packing the dough into the spoon. Use the palm of your hand to push the dough down.
Place the spoon-shaped cookies on the baking sheet flat side down. They don't have to be too far apart as they won't expand during baking.
Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. They will brown slightly, but not very much.
Pull them from the oven and let them cool a bit. They get super hot inside- trust me, I've burned my mouth on them more than once.
Serve the cookies by either creating sandwiches in pairs or by providing different kinds of jam and small knives for people to make them however they want. I would not try to put the jam on them ahead of time, as the jam softens the cookies over time and they just don't taste the same.
Dust with powdered sugar if you wish.