Fattigmann, or “poor man’s cookies” are a traditional Christmas cookie in Norway and if you come to Stavanger during the month of December, you will see them everywhere. The sources on this differ, but some say these cookies got their name because the ingredients used to make these cookies were expensive when they were invented over 100 years ago, they were said to leave their baker “in the poor house”. Others say these cookies got their name because they were the only cookies the less fortunate could afford to make around the holidays. Either way, they are beloved in Norway and for some, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without fattigmann.
I like these cookies because most of their ingredients are common for cooks nowadays, and nearly everyone has brandy or cognac in their liquor cabinet. The twisted shape of these cookies is quite unique, and easy to accomplish using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel. I also like that these cookies are fried because not even in fried food loving America do we have fried cookies!
- 360g (3 cups) flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks, beaten lightly
- 2 whole eggs, beaten lightly
- 75g (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
- 125ml (1/2 cup) cream
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- oil for frying
- powdered sugar (optional)
- Add all dry ingredients together in a large bowl and combine well.
- To the dry mix, add the remaining ingredients except the oil and powdered sugar. Mix dry and wet ingredients until well combined. Be careful to not over mix dough, as the cookies will become tough.
- Allow the dough to rest in the bowl for 20 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, portion it into 4 sections. Roll each section out flat onto a floured surface and cut into 12 medium to large diamond shapes. Using a knife, cut a small slit into the middle of each diamond shape.
- Carefully lift the cookie off the countertop, and pull the top end of the diamond through the slit in the middle of the cookie. This should form the unique twisted shape of the cookie.
- Repeat this until all the cookies in each section of dough have been formed.
- While you are twisting and preparing the cookie dough for frying, warm your oil in a large pot. You’ll need enough oil to cover 5 cm (2 in.). The temperature of the oil should be 182-190C (360-375F).
- Once all of your cookies have been formed and your oil is warm enough, begin placing your cookies in the oil and frying until golden brown on both sides.
- Drain the cookies on paper towels to remove excess oil and top with powdered sugar.
- Serve warm or room temperature with coffee, gløgg or hot cocoa.
[…] 6. Then take the top corner and thread it through the slit. Below are photos of both mine (I give myself a 5/10) and ‘proper’ ones made by “Thanks for the Food” blog. […]