The Festive Tasty Treats of Iceland

23. December 2020
Shape Gon Granja
Fireworks over Jökulsárlon

Normally every year, Icelandic families would come together during the start of the winter festive season, to help assist with baking cookies or traditional flat bread, but as we all know, 2020 wanted other plans.

Thankfully families were still able to have a scaled back bake off to the delight of many, making festive treats will (hopefully) last throughout the holidays.

Bread of Heritage

Laufabrauð (sometimes known as Leaf Bread in English) has grown international interest since it was showcased on UK Tv show "Great British Bake Off" in 2019. This thin, round flat cake makes itself different with its leaf-like geometric patterns cut into them, either by hand or with a special laufabrauðjárn or "leaf bread iron".

A team of people help bake these goods, with parents and grandparents normally preparing the dough, and the children decorating them with designs before they are lightly fried in oil.

Interestingly, the Institute of Icelandic Studies is now preparing a case to put this traditional bread on the world register, hopefully adding this to the UNESCO cultural heritage list.

Let the Cookies Crumble

Cookies and other treats are also big business in Icelandic winter festivities; with the smell of chocolate, liquorice, orange, and meringue filling the air of kitchens of the keen, although it is good to know that taking on the challenge of baking these treats requires a small army.

Lakkrís Toppar (liquorice tops) are small meringues filled with pieces of liquorice coated in chocolate, giving you that sweet and sour balance without being too overpowering, even if you are not the biggest fan of liquorice.

Appelsínusmákökur are small orange flavoured cookies topped with a little chocolate, again perfect little bites to keep your hunger pains away or perfect with a coffee.

Bessastaðakökur (Bessastað cookies) were popularised by the 4th president of Iceland, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, with the biscuits taking their name from the presidential residence. These buttery shortbread style cookies with almond are a more sophisticated treat, still perfect for any occasion year round.

Lastly, Sörur cookies or Sarah's cookies in English, are a staple for Icelandic festive preparations, with their meringue base, buttercream filling and dipped in chocolate. Taking hours to prepare, which involves chilling the cookies between each layer, these treats are well worth the hassle and wait, and are one of the most popular homemade treats in Iceland today.

Shape Scott Hillen
Festive Cookies in tins (From top to bottom) Lakkrístoppar, Appelsínukökur, Bessastaðakökur and Sörur treats

Whatever you get up to this festive period; whether it be indulging in your favourite chocolates, watching your favourite movies or simply just hanging out responsibly with friends and family, all of us at Icelandic Mountain Guides wish you Happy Holidays and all the best for 2021.

Gleðilega Hátið / Happy Holidays!

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