I didn't grow up kissing people. Well kissing people hello at least. My family shook hands when meeting new people (and then it was really only my father that shook hands) and there was very little physical contact. But nowadays it seems that the standard greeting when meeting people (outside business meetings) is a kiss on the cheek.
In Australia it seems that the single kiss suffices but when we were out the other night I met someone European. He gave me one kiss and then said "I do two, I'm European" before landing the second one. I thought that that was a smooth way to avoid landing a kiss on someone that had already left the kissing position (which is always embarrassing). But I do remember meeting a European woman who gave me four kisses and another that gave me three. It was all very confusing and to be honest I can't even remember what happens in South America, the UK or North America.
Then someone asked me what they do in Northern Europe and whether the Scandinavians were more reserved than the rest of Europe. I must admit I had no idea nor did half Scandi Mr NQN. My experience of Northern Europe was limited to our visit to Finland all those years ago and I think that there would certainly be some difference between the Scandinavian countries. And most of what I know about Sweden comes from Swedish crime novels and movies and Ikea!
One of my favourite stops at Ikea is the food section (although it does boggle the mind how you can have a list of one item and then emerge with about five new "essentials"). Usually Mr NQN pays while I make a food purchase. I always get a jar or two of pickled herring in dill sauce and I usually linger slowly past the display of Havreflarn or oatmeal crisp cookies before trying to convince Mr NQN that he needs a $1 hot dog (he always declines). The only problem is that the cookies come in a massive box and they're so difficult to stop eating that it ends up being an issue. And I know, we should all wish for issues like this...
I also thought that making my own might be fun because that way you can add your favourite chocolate. These are one of the easiest cookies to make because all you do is melt the butter in a saucepan and then throw in the rest of the ingredients into the saucepan and mix it. The cookies are fast to bake and turn out buttery crisp. Even cookie-dodger Mr NQN ate six of these on the first go before I took them away from him. It's a real toss up between which I liked better - these or the Swedish butterscotch and sea salt cookies. I boxed up a dozen of the prettiest ones for a friend Jaqi and her boys proclaimed them the best cookies ever - that was after she made them into an ice cream sandwich.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you do one kiss, two, three or four where you are from? And when you go into Ikea, do you always end up buying more than you intend to?
Jaqi's ice cream sandwiches
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Swedish Oatmeal Crisp Cookies
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Makes 18-24 cookies
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes
- 100g/3.5ozs. butter
- 1.5 cups rolled oats
- 4 tablespoons ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 2/3 cup caster or superfine sugar
- 1 egg
- 350g/12.36ozs. milk or dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 cup Heath toffee bits or chopped toasted nuts
*Step 1 - *Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line two baking trays with parchment. Melt the butter in a saucepan and once melted, remove from heat. Add the rolled oats, ground almonds, flour, baking powder, vanilla, ginger or cinnamon and salt to the saucepan. Stir to combine. Whisk the sugar and egg together until combined and stir this into the mix.
Step 2 - Form small balls about the size of a walnut and leave just over an inch on all sides for spreading. Bake for 7-8 minutes until golden. Allow to cool on the tray for five minutes and then cool on a rack where they will crisp up even further.
Step 3 - Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a microwave or double boiler and then stir in toffee or nut bits. Dip the cool cookie into the chocolate and then place back on the parchment to set. You can also sandwich two halves together with the melted chocolate.