(Finnish Ginger Cookies)

Makes 36 cookies

1 1/2 cups buttes
1 cup granulated sugar 
3/4 cup dark corn syrup 
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves 
1/2 teaspoon allspice 
3 teaspoons orange zest 
2 eggs, slightly beaten 
2 teaspoons baking soda 
5 cups flour

1. Combine butter, sugar, corn syrup and spices in a saucepan.
2. Over low-medium heat, stir ingredients constantly until ingredients look like they are about to boil.
3. Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Allow sugar mixture to cool to room temperature. Stirring occasionally might help speed up this process.
4. Stir eggs into cooled sugar mixture. Sift flour and baking soda together and add to sugar mixture. Mix well.
5. Roll dough into a ball. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours or overnight.
6. Split dough into 2 parts; Roll dough about 1/4-inch thick on a clean, floured surface. Cut into desired shapes.
7. Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Cookies can be left plain, or decorated with pipped icing.

This makes a crisp cookie, if a softer cookie is desired you may substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar.

(Rhubarb tart)

Serves 8

1 1/3 cup flour (3 dl)
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 1/2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup sugar (1 dl)
1 egg yolk

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
2. First, mix the flour and baking powder together.  Use your fingers to mix the softened butter into the flour until it made pea-sized lumps. Mix this very well, working the butter into the flour. When the butter melts as you bake it, this leaves the crust light and flaky. 
3. Next, mix in the egg yolk and sugar to obtain a very crumbly dough.
4. Press the dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom.
5. For the filling, mix10 oz (280 grams) rhubarb with 2 tablespoons brown sugar.  Spread this in the tart pan.
6. Next, for the topping, combine 3 tablespoons softened butter with 1/3 cup sugar (3/4 dl) and 1/2 cup rolled oats (1 dl). Sprinkle this evenly over the top.
7. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

(Blueberry Tart)

5 dl milk
2 dl sugar
50 g yeast
200 g butter or margarine
approximately 1 kg flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tbs ground cardamom

1 liter blueberries
1 ½ dl sugar
3 tbs potato starch

1. Dissolve the yeast into lukewarm milk in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, cardamom and egg and stir ingredients together. Add half of the flour and knead into a soft dough.
2. Mix the soft margarine or butter into the dough and add as much of the remaining flour as is needed. The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the bowl or to your fingers. Cover the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel and prove in a warm place for approximately 30 minutes.
3. Pour the dough onto a floured baking board, knead and roll out with a rolling pin into a thin sheet (slightly bigger than a baking tray). Place the sheet onto a baking tray covered with a greaseproof paper. Trim the edges. (From the extra dough you can form crosswise strips to decorate the top of the pie). Prove for 30 minutes.
4. Mix together the blueberries, sugar and potato starch in a mixing bowl and pour the mixture onto the sheet. Raise the edges.
5. Decorate the top of the pie with crosswise stripes. Brush the dough with a beaten egg. Bake the blueberry pie at 175 - 200 degrees Celsius for approximately 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Serve the Blueberry Pie warm or cold as it is, or with vanilla ice cream or vanilla sauce.

(Basic Sponge Cake)

Serves 10

This light, ethereal cake is made by mixing together the same volume of eggs, sugar and flour, as has been done by generations of Finnish home bakers.
Since eggs are the only leavening agent in this batter, they must be of top quality, absolutely fresh and extremely well beaten with the sugar to produce a soft, successfully risen cake.
Slightly altered by adding butter, spices, nuts, etc, this basic sponge cake recipe can be used for making numerous different cakes, pastries and desserts.

3 eggs
1 tbsp baking power

flavouring suggestions:
1. 1 - 2 tsp vanilla sugar
2. ½ - 1 tsp (or to taste) cinnamon, finely crushed cardamom, powdered ginger or gingerbread spice
3. 1 - 2 tsp grated lemon or orange zest
4. lemon or almond essence (for quantity, follow the instructions on the product's package)
5. replace 50 ml of the flour with 50 grams of finely ground almonds
6. replace 50 ml of the flour with 3 tbsp of cocoa powder
7. replace part of the sugar with soft brown sugar

1. When making a sponge cake, always measure the sugar and flour in a right proportion to the volume of eggs. To do this, you will need two or three identical, clear, regular glasses. Start by breaking the eggs into one of the glasses. In the second glass, pour sugar until it reaches the same level as the level of eggs in the first glass.
2. Take the third glass and pour flour in, until it reaches the same level as the sugar and the eggs in the other glasses (see the picture above). It is very important to pour the flour lightly and loosely into the glass and not pack or press it in firmly.
3. You can also do this with two glasses only, if you first pour out the measured sugar from the second glass into a mixing bowl, and then use the same glass again to measure the flour, matching it with the level of eggs in the first glass.) Whether you are making a one, two, three or a hundred-egg-cake, always use this same, simple measurement technique to get the best result.
4. After measuring, mix the sugar and eggs (and vanilla sugar) in the mixing bowl and beat them thoroughly, until they form a very thick and fluffy, white mixture. Beat well.
5. Very gently fold in the sifted flour with a spatula or a wire whisk, to avoid knocking out the air. Never beat the batter or use an electric mixer to incorporate the flour.
6. Pour the batter into a generously buttered and lightly floured cake pan — a ring/tube pan, springform pan, loaf pan, jelly roll pan — depending on the kind of cake you are making. Finnish sponge cake is traditionally baked in a ring pan for about 20 - 30 minutes. If the cake is intended to be cut in layers and filled, use an even-bottomed, tubeless cake pan. If baking the batter in a jelly roll pan, you can line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper instead of buttering and flouring it.
7. Bake the batter at 175 °C on the bottom rack of the oven for 15 - 40 minutes, depending on the amount and/or thickness of the batter and the size and shape of the cake pan used. Further reduce the baking time if using a jelly roll pan, as the batter is spread into a thin layer. Do not open the oven door until towards the end of the baking time, as this will cause the partly-risen cake to collapse.
8. The cake is done when it feels springy and firm when tapped on top or when a cake tester/toothpick inserted in it comes out clean. Let the cake cool slightly before unmoulding it. Place the cake on a wire rack and let cool completely.
Serve the cake plain, or sifted with icing sugar or frosted with icing. When baked flat in a jelly roll pan, the cake can be used as a base for simple fruit or berry tarts, like wild strawberry and bilberry tart, or cut into thin rounds or squares to make various filled pastries (like fresh strawberry or raspberry pastries with layers of whipped cream or fruit-flavoured butter cream), or, like ladyfingers, to line dessert moulds, to make tiramisu, etc.
Decorate with whipped cream.

(Swiss roll)

Makes 12 pieces

4 eggs
2 dl sugar
1 dl fine wheat flour
1 dl potato flour
1 tl baking powder

4 dl cream
2 l strawberries

1. Beat eggs & sugar into foam, which will stick in the bowl if you turn it vetically.
2. Mix together flours & baking powder, add them to egg-sugar-foam & mix all the time. Use butter or margarin to oil a cake tin of 30cm in diameter.
3. Oven: 30 mins in 175 c degrees, lower half of the oven.
4. Let it cool a bit after you take it out. Then turn it over and take it out of the tin.
5. Slice it to three layers (or two, if your tin was shallow but wider). Use sliced or crushed starwberries and whipped cream in between the layers. Build the cake from layers and use rest of the cream & some halved/ small whole strawberries on top.

(Creamed rice)

1 cup uncooked white rice
6 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped (optional)
cinnamon sugar (½ cup sugar mixed with 3 teaspoons cinnamon; optional)

1. Combine the rice, milk, salt, and sugar in the top of a double boiler.
2. Cook over boiling water for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the rice is creamy and the milk is
3. Cool for 30 minutes and fold in the whipped cream.

(Berry juices)

3 medium strawberries 
1 tbsp blueberries 
1 tbsp cranberries 
1 tbsp raspberries 
4 medium apples

1. Chop the apples into small pieces. Turn the juicer on. Make sure the jug is beneath the spout. Add the apple and juice. Pour into the blender.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of cranberries, 3 strawberries, 1 tablespoon of blueberries, and 1 tablespoon of raspberries to the blender.
3. Close the lid and blend for 15-20 seconds 

(Funnel cakes for May day)

The first of May, or vappu as it is called in Finnish, is a huge celebration.  The entire country celebrates with street festivals. The most traditional food for this celebration is funnel cake.

Serves 4

4 eggs
2 cups of warm milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package dry yeast (2.25 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
Oil for frying

1.First, warm the milk (do not boil!).  Break the eggs in a very large bowl and stir them to break the yolks.  Stir in the warm milk, sugar and yeast.  Add the salt and about half of the flour. Then add the rest of the flour, and continue to stir until it is fully combined. 
2.Let rest in a warm place for about an hour.  Watch the dough carefully, if it rises too much, you may need to stir it to knock it back down. 
3.Pour some batter in a plastic bag, cut off one corner (be careful--the hole doesn't have to be very big!) and squeeze the batter into the hot oil.
4.To fry the batter, heat oil in a heavy skillet until it sizzles when a small drop of water is dripped in it.  Never leave oil unattended while you are frying!
5.Squeeze in the dough, it will brown almost instantly.  Flip it with a fork, and let the other side brown also.
6.When both sides are brown, use the fork to take out the pastry and set it on a plate covered with a few layers of paper towels to drain.  Sprinkle on some powdered sugar and eat immediately!

(Traditional Finnish porridge or pudding)

Serves 6

Mämmi is probably one of the most traditional foods eaten at Easter in Finland.  Traditionally it was baked in boxes made of birch bark. 

4 cups water (1 liter)
1/2 cup sorghum or dark molasses (1 dl plus 3.5 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rye flour (2.5 dl)

1. Boil the water, molasses, and salt to a slow boil.  Use a whisk to stir in 1/4 of the rye flour.  Whisk vigorously and turn off the heat.  Let the mixture cool for at least 10 minutes, then whisk in the rest of the flour.
2. Stir in the remaining rye flour (and two tablespoons of bitter orange peel if you are using it).  Remove from heat and pour into a 1.5 quart (1.5 liter) casserole dish.
3. Bake at 275 F (135 C) for 3 hours.

Serve with whole milk or cream and a sprinkling of sugar.

(Blueberry soup)

In Finland, you can buy blueberry soup in any grocery store next to the milk products.  Other popular fruit soup flavors include raspberry, mixed forest berries, and strawberry.  Gooseberries or rhubarb are also really good in this soup.  The basic process is the same for any kind of fruit that you want to substitute with.

2 cups water (5 dl)
2 cups blueberries (5dl)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
3 tablespoons cold water

1. Boil the water, berries and sugar for 10 minutes over medium heat.
2. To thicken the soup, stir  the cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of cold water together in a small bowl.
3. Then, take a tablespoon-full of the hot soup and mix it into the cold thickener. This tempers the mixture and makes it less likely to clump. Now pour the tempered thickener into the hot soup, stirring constantly until the soup thickens.
4. If you find that the soup is a little too thick, you can always stir in a little more water.  Fruit soups continue to thicken as they cool.

Kaneli pulla 
(Cinnamon buns)

Makes 40 buns

2 packets yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons if you buy in bulk)
150 grams butter (10 1/2 Tablespoons)
5 dl milk (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamon
1 egg
about 1 1/2 liter flour  (about 6 cups)

for the filling:
75 g butter (1/2 cup)
1 dl sugar (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 of a beaten egg to brush on before baking
pearl sugar

1. Melt the butter and put it into my stand mixer bowl.  Heat the milk in the microwave until it is lukewarm.  Sprinkle the yeast on top.  Mix the salt, sugar, cardamon and egg in well.
2. Next, add the flour a little at a time.
3. Move the dough to a lightly greased, non-metal bowl to rise.  A sprinkle of flour on top,  cover it and put it in a warm place.
4. Let rise for about 40 minutes.
5. Punch it down and add the rest of the flour (1/2 cup) onto the clean counter. Cut the dough in half and roll each half out into a large rectangle, about 14x28 inches (or 20x40 cm).
6. To make the filling, melt the butter and add sugar and cinnamon.
7. After spreading the filling on the rectangles, roll them up along the long side (making a long, thin roll). Cut slices and cut two slits in the dough which don't go all the way through.
8. Open the attached pieces slightly, and lay them on their side to obtain a bear claw shape. You can also just cut the dough straight and lay the pieces on their sides. 
9. Move all of the buns to a cookie sheet that has been prepared with parchment.  Cover them again and let them rise about 20-30 minutes until they double in size.
10. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit (250 Cesius).
11. Brush the buns with beaten egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar.  Bake for about 8-10 minutes, watch them carefully!  Let cool under a clean dishcloth.

Hanna-tädin kakut

Makes 35 to 40 cookies

100 gr butter
1 ½ dl sugar
1 dl cream
2 ½ dl flour
1 ½ dl potato starch
1 tsp baking powder

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then set aside to cool for a while. 
2. Add the cream and sugar. Mix together the flour and potato starch and stir into the butter-cream-sugar mixture. Allow the batter to stiffen for a while in the fridge.
3. Roll the batter into a bar on a baking board, and cut it into even pieces. Form the pieces into little round balls and place onto a baking tray, which is covered with a greaseproof paper. 
4. Press the balls lightly with a fork to form a pattern. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for approximately 10 minutes.