Knekk-Kaker

December 13, 2017
Norwegian Knekk-Kaker(Thin Christmas cookies with oats)

Norwegian Knekk-Kaker(Thin Christmas cookies with oats) Norwegian Knekk-Kaker(Thin Christmas cookies with oats)One of the great things about holiday baking is that everyone has their own traditions and favorites. Recipes which span for generations, recipes that cross continents, recipes that adapt and evolve in one’s own kitchen. Each recipe with a history and a story.

While sitting around a table with friends a few weeks back our conversation turned to holiday baking. In typical fashion for our area, most had plans to start off the season by making large batches of lefse. We discussed favorite cookies, like pepperkaker (gingerbread), kransekake (almond tower cake), and krumkaker (wafer cookies), to name a few. One friend, Anne Lise, turned to me, and with a broad smile and glitter in her eyes, told me that one of her favorite julekaker (Christmas cookies) is knekk-kaker.

One of the great things about holiday baking is that everyone has their traditions and favorites. Recipes which span for generations, recipes that cross continents, recipes that adapt and evolve in one’s own kitchen. Each with a history and a story. Sitting around a table with friends a few weeks back and our conversation turned to holiday baking. In typical fashion for our area, most had plans to start off with making large batches of lefse to last through the season. We discussed favorite cookies, like pepperkaker (gingerbread), kransekake (almond tower cake) and krumkaker (wafer-like cakes). One friend, Anne Lise, turned to me, and with a broad smile and glitter in her eyes, told me that one of her favorite julekaker (Christmas baked goods) was knekk-kaker. One of the great things about holiday baking is that everyone has their traditions and favorites. Recipes which span for generations, recipes that cross continents, recipes that adapt and evolve in one’s own kitchen. Each with a history and a story. Sitting around a table with friends a few weeks back and our conversation turned to holiday baking. In typical fashion for our area, most had plans to start off with making large batches of lefse to last through the season. We discussed favorite cookies, like pepperkaker (gingerbread), kransekake (almond tower cake) and krumkaker (wafer-like cakes). One friend, Anne Lise, turned to me, and with a broad smile and glitter in her eyes, told me that one of her favorite julekaker (Christmas baked goods) was knekk-kaker. One of the great things about holiday baking is that everyone has their traditions and favorites. Recipes which span for generations, recipes that cross continents, recipes that adapt and evolve in one’s own kitchen. Each with a history and a story. Sitting around a table with friends a few weeks back and our conversation turned to holiday baking. In typical fashion for our area, most had plans to start off with making large batches of lefse to last through the season. We discussed favorite cookies, like pepperkaker (gingerbread), kransekake (almond tower cake) and krumkaker (wafer-like cakes). One friend, Anne Lise, turned to me, and with a broad smile and glitter in her eyes, told me that one of her favorite julekaker (Christmas baked goods) was knekk-kaker. The name immediately intrigued me. Anne Lise explained that ‘knekk’ refers to the caramel aspect of the cookie. As it bakes, the sugar and syrup melt and break down, giving these cookies their distinct caramel smell and taste. The oats almost fade away, providing bulk and substance rather than flavor. Knekk-kaker are thin and crispy, yet can be faintly chewy toward the center. They glisten with their caramel coat, and are elegant with their lace-like form.

Anne-Lise was more than happy to share her bestefar’s (grandfather’s) recipe for these delightful cookies so I could share them with you. They are simple to make and are also wonderful gifts to be  given out to friends and family.

One of the great things about holiday baking is that everyone has their traditions and favorites. Recipes which span for generations, recipes that cross continents, recipes that adapt and evolve in one’s own kitchen. Each with a history and a story. Sitting around a table with friends a few weeks back and our conversation turned to holiday baking. In typical fashion for our area, most had plans to start off with making large batches of lefse to last through the season. We discussed favorite cookies, like pepperkaker (gingerbread), kransekake (almond tower cake) and krumkaker (wafer-like cakes). One friend, Anne Lise, turned to me, and with a broad smile and glitter in her eyes, told me that one of her favorite julekaker (Christmas baked goods) was knekk-kaker.Knekk-kaker go well with tea or coffee and would be divine dipped into a little melted chocolate.  The recipe makes about 48 cookies, and they are easily stored. If you wish to make a smaller amount, feel free to halve the recipe.

Anne Lise’s Bestefar’s Knekk-Kaker*

Makes about 48 cookies

  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon (160 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (50 ml) Norwegian light syrup or golden syrup (Lyles)
  • 3 tablespoons (50 ml) heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup (150 g) butter, melted and then cooled
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon (75 g) quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup (120 g) sifted, all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Blend all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Use a small spoon to scoop out a little of the dough and place it on the parchment paper. You should be able to fit up to 8 spoonfuls of dough at a time per baking sheet. Space them well, so they don’t cook into each other.

Place 1 baking sheet in the oven and bake the cookies for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. After 5 minutes, or when the cookies have stiffened, transfer them to a cooling rack.While the first batch is cooling, place the second baking sheet in the oven. Spoon more of the dough on the first baking sheet after you have transferred the cookies to the cooling rack. When the second batch of cookies are ready, take them out of the oven and put the newly prepared baking sheet in the oven. Continue this cycle until all of the dough is used up.

Store the cookies in a cookie tin or airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 weeks.


*Anne Lise’s bestefar’s recipe has been slightly modified in regards to the oven temperature and  to account for imperial measurements

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16 Comments

  • Reply Jenni Minarik December 13, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Norwegian light syrup? I’m in the U.S. – what would be similar, light corn syrup or maple syrup?

    • Reply nevada December 18, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Hi Jenni, you can try searching online for the Norwegian brand ‘Dan Sukker’ (lys sirup or “light syrup”) and see if any speciality shops have them for sale. Otherwise, look for ‘Lyle’s Golden Syrup’ – a product of the UK. These you can find at speciality shops and some grocery stores. Light corn syrup and maple syrup are quite different. Hope this helps!

  • Reply Stephanie Shogren December 14, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    These look incredible! I WILL be making these for my Christmas cookie swap.

    • Reply nevada December 18, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks Stephanie! Enjoy the cookie swap – sounds like a perfect reason to try lots of yummy cookies 🙂

  • Reply Little Cooking Tips December 15, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    This is so easy and must be so delicious! You just mix everything in a bowl? No whipping needed?
    And you’re right there are so many baking traditions, especially the ones related to the Holiday season. Ours is making melomakarona and kourabiedes, have you ever heard/tried any of these?
    Can’t wait to give these awesome cookies a try!:)
    Thanx so much for another delicious, beautiful post!
    Mirella and Panos

    • Reply nevada December 18, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks you guys! I’m definitely going to check out those cookies you mentioned. I have not tasted them before, but they are on the list now! Best, Nevada

  • Reply Sean Mahan December 19, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Wow, they look so delicious! I’m already saving this post so I can try the recipe this weekend. Thanks!

    • Reply nevada December 22, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      Thanks Sean, I hope you enjoy them!

  • Reply Ingrid December 21, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Mine aren’t spreading out thin at all. I’m not sure what I did wrong?

    • Reply nevada December 22, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Sorry to hear that Ingrid – did you substitute any of the ingredients?

  • Reply Emily Hansen January 25, 2018 at 6:16 am

    Wow! These cookies look so good and I bet they taste delicious too. They can be a great after-school snack for the kids. Gonna try making them this weekend! Thanks for sharing Nevada.

    • Reply nevada January 25, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Thanks Emily! I hope your kids enjoy them – they are always a big hit!

  • Reply Emily Hansen February 12, 2018 at 11:57 am

    You’re welcome, Nevada! …and by the way, my kids ended up loving the cookies!

    • Reply nevada February 14, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      So great to hear!!

  • Reply Brittney November 30, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    I also tried to make these cookies and like another person said above they did not spread thin. I looked at another recipe and you are supposed to melt the sugar and butter together before baking. Sad I wasted so much batter!

    • Reply nevada December 3, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that Brittney! These always turn out great without melting the sugar and butter before baking. I wonder if your elevation or oven has anything to do with it. If so, it can take a few minutes longer or you can turn up the temperature a little to help them “melt”. They really are delicious, so I hope you won’t be put off trying them again 🙂

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