It is fair to say Christmas is right around the corner. In fact, it’s this week. It’s hard to believe it. And, truth be told, I haven’t thought a whole lot about it apart from my internal debate about whether to add a third stocking to the mantel. The optimistic side of me wants to do this, but my overwhelmingly practical side urges me to wait. Babies tend to come on their own time. At least, this is the daily sentiment echoed by all the sane people around me.
We are staying in Seattle this year, of course. It’s hard to plan a holiday with our out-of-state families when a Christmas baby is on the menu. I’m certainly not sad about it. We’ve traveled a lot this year and this buckling down time is pure bliss. I think I really tapped into my nesting instinct at about week 38 and now it’s now kicked into full gear for both of us. We putter about the house. K builds things. I do little chores and even managed to finish my first baby quilt.
Today is my due date, however, and I admit I am finding it a bit difficult to take my eye off the prize. This is where I’m utterly thankful for all of you and this blog. What salvation. What a wonderful distraction. Thank you for this.
This week, I baked some extra sweet Christmas cookies for all of us. I can barely fit half a cookie into my large belly, but this doesn’t stop me from trying. Besides K insisted the time was ripe for baking Christmas cookies. And I agreed. Wholeheartedly.
However, when I went to my stash of baking books and began to flip through the pages, he scoffed. There was only one type of Christmas cookie on his mind and that was his mother’s Norwegian Christmas Butter Squares.
I was rather surprised by this revelation. K’s mother is neither a cook nor baker and will fully admit she detests her time in the kitchen. Never during our entire relationship has K suggested I whip up one of her recipes. This was certainly news to me. And, upon reflection, I suppose that is why the suggestion on this occasion was so very convincing.
So I acquiesced. These cookies must be revelatory.
And they are wonderful. Norwegian Butter Squares are fantastically simple. There are so few ingredients yet the cookies are buttery, rich, and delicious. Plus, they bake in no time at all. You can whip them up to go with your afternoon tea or take them to your next holiday party. Leave them out for Santa. He won’t be disappointed. Or, even better, use them as a blissful distraction during the 11th hour of pregnancy. It works. Believe me.
Norwegian Christmas Butter Squares
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Turbinado/ Raw Sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chill a baking sheet in the freezer. Do not grease the baking sheet.
Using a hand mixer, blend the butter, egg, sugar, and salt together until it is creamy. Add the flour and vanilla and mix using your hands until the mixture holds together in large clumps.
Using your hands, press the dough out onto the chilled and ungreased baking sheet until it is even and 1/4 inch thick. Dust the top of the cookies evenly with raw sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees until the edges turn a golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let cool for about five minutes before cutting the cooked dough into squares. Remove the squares from the warm pan using a spatula.
If I don’t see you for a bit, don’t be alarmed. It means good things and, possibly, babies are brewing over in these parts.