NORTHWOODS COOKS: Christmas goodies from around the world

There are still two weeks before Christmas to finish making special treats. This selection of Christmas goodies from around the world comes from the Concordia Language Villages cookbook “The Global Gourmet.”

Sprinkled with colored sugar, spritz cookies will brighten the holiday table or a goodie box to share with friends. Adobe Stock
Janice -

Finnish Orange Cake

By Linda Johnson, who says it was a favorite of her mother-in-law in Menahga


1/2 cup granulated sugar


2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt


1-1/2 cups buttermilk

1 large orange

1 cups raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts


1 cup reserved orange raisin mixture

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 cup powdered sugar


1 tsp. butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13-by-9-inch pan. Cream sugars and shortening. Add eggs and beat well.

Combine dry ingredients. Add with buttermilk to creamed mixture. Grind orange and raisins in food chopper or food processor, partially chopping orange before adding raisins. Reserve 1 cup of mixture for frosting. Fold remaining fruit and nuts into batter. Pour into prepared pan. Bake about 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Combine all frosting ingredients and blend well. Spread on cake while still warm. Serve with whipped cream if desired. Makes 12-15 servings.

Grandmother's Spritz

By Barbara Francis

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

dash of baking soda

Cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Stir in egg yolk and vanilla or almond extract. Combine flour and baking soda and add to the creamed mixture a little at a time until well mixed.

Cover dough and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Fill the cookie press with dough. Form desired shapes on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 2-3 dozen.

Lisbon Church Pepperkakor

This recipe came from a Norwegian settlement in Lisbon, Illinois in the 1860s.

1 cup butter, softened

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

1-1/2 Tbsp.s grated orange or lemon peel

2 Tbsp. corn syrup, maple syrup or molasses

1 Tbsp. water, orange juice or lemon juice

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. cloves

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Add peel, syrup and water and mix well.

Combine dry ingredients and stir into the creamed mixture. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes with floured cookie cutters. Place one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 6 dozen.

Pastel de Navidad

By Sofia Rizzo of Guatamala City

1/2 cup butter

12 oz. cream cheese

2-1/4 cups sugar

6 eggs

2 tsp.s vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

2-1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup raisins

1-1/2 cups candied fruit

1/2 cup nuts if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan. In a mixer bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Combine flour and baking powder and blend into the creamed mixture.

With the mixer at low speed, add raisins, fruit and nuts. Turn the batter into a greased pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until done. Cool before removing from the pan. Cut into 20 to 30 thin slices.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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