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Norwegian Fattigman "Poor Man's Cookie"

Monday, November 25, 2013

Last week, I posted a delicious recipe for Scandinavian Spritz and talked about the “syv slag kaker til Jul,” the seven cookies of Christmas. I am back this week with a second, and my favorite, Norwegian Christmas cookie… fattigman!
Fattigman is an ages-old Norwegian cookie that translates to “Poor Man,” and was named so either because purchasing all of these ingredients would’ve cost someone in the old country quite a bit of money, leaving them “poor,” or because sugar was so expensive in Norway that even a poor man (or woman) could afford to make these, since there isn’t much sugar used in these cookies. I’ll let you decide which version of the story you like better, but I grew up hearing the first version, and I’m sticking to it ;)
The recipe(s) for fattigman was brought to America by Norwegian immigrants in the 1800′s… my family included. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without these on the table, and they quickly disappear once put out! They’re traditionally rolled out, then cut using a fattigman roller. My grandmother, however, rolled them out and cut them in triangles, so that’s how we’ve always made them… no special cutter required! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 4 T. heavy whipping cream
  • 3 T. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 T. brandy (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c. flour
  • lard for deep frying
  1. Mix all ingredients together, stirring in flour until dough becomes thick enough to knead. Dough will be slightly rubbery.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  3. On a floured cutting board, roll out dough (small pieces at a time) to 1/8″ thick.
  4. Cut in triangles.
  5. Fry in lard, which has been heated to approximately 350 degrees (F.) Dough will rise to the top. Turn dough over with tongs and fry to a very light golden brown.
  6. Remove from lard and place on a cookie sheet covered in paper towels.
  7. Generously sprinkle both sides of cookies with powdered sugar.
  8. Store in airtight container on counter or in pantry.
  • This goes much faster with 2 people making the fattigman. One person to roll out and cut cookies, and one person to fry them.
  • The cookies are very fragile (and VERY yummy!)
*Thanks to my daughter for taking pictures for today's blog <3 

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