Jo's Icelandic Recipes

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Cakes, Pancakes and Cookies

The last time I added a recipe to this page was in September 2001
All given temperatures are Celsius


Coconut cake - Kómosmjölsterta Mandarin orange cheesecake (Desserts page)
Súkkulađi-slöngukaka - Chocolate "snake cake"

Slöngukaka- "Snake cake" with chocolate buttercream

Hjónabandssćla - Wedded Bliss Mömmukökur - Gingerbread Christmas cookies
Piparkökur - Pepper Cookies Smjörkrem - Butter Icing
Lummur - thick mini-pancakes  Kókostoppar - Coconut Drops
Skúffukaka - Oven-pan cake  Pönnukökur - Pancakes.  Photo!
Kleinur - Twisted doughnuts  Djöflaterta - Chocolate cake. Photo!
Vatnsdeigsbollur - Carnival buns  Sykurstirni/Marengstoppar - Meringue Drops 
"Bedstefars skćg" - Danish oven-pan cake  Vínarterta
Rjómaterta I - Cream Cake I  Jólakaka/Tebollur - Christmas cake/ tea cakes 
Vatnsdeigsbollur - Carnival Buns Ástarpungar - Round doughnuts
Loftkökur - Air-cookies/chocolate meringues Lísu brúnterta - Spiced chocolate cake

I get a lot of requests for cookie recipes, especially traditional ones. Like so much other Icelandic food, traditional cookie recipes only have a century or two of tradition behind them. This is because baking didn't become a popular way of cooking until relatively late in the country's history. 
The reason: Baking ovens didn't become common in Icelandic homes until after 1900. 
When baking caught on, Icelandic cooks and housewives set about to expand their store of recipes, mostly by acquiring imported cook-books and later by writing their own, but also by experimentation. Most of the old Icelandic cake and cookie recipes originally came from Denmark, but many of them have acquired Icelandic citizenship. Other recipes have been developed here. Anyway, finding the origins of a recipe is usually almost impossible, mostly because so many of them are based on other recipes.
These days, cookies mostly tend to get baked around Christmas-time, perhaps because of the wide variety of commercially made cookies available in Icelandic supermarkets....

 

Kómosmjölsterta - Coconut cake

This cake is delicious by itself (especially when made with chocolate chips), or you can layer it with jam/jelly and decorate with whipped cream.
200 g margarine/butter 200 g  sugar
2 ea eggs 200 g flour
180 g dessicated coconut 1 tsp baking powder
  chocolate chips to taste (optional)
Beat together softened margarine and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one and mix well. Mix together flour, coconut and baking powder, and chocolate chips (if using). Add to sugar-egg-margarine mixture. Dough will be very thick. Spread into 3 round cake tins and bake at 180°C, until done (coconut will take on a light golden colour). 
Layer with fruit jam or preserved fruit and cream.

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Lummur, or Klattar - Mini-pancakes

"Klattar" mean "pats", an appropriate name for these pats of dough. "Lumma" (the singular form of "Lummur") is sometimes used to refer to something that is old fashioned, especially when referring to outdated music.

My mother is an expert at making these mini pancakes. Unlike the large, thin pancakes that are served rolled up with sugar or whipped cream and jam, these small, thick ones taste best sprinkled with sugar, still warm from the skillet, with a glass of cold milk. A variation on the basic recipe is fish-pancakes.

150 ml  flour  1 ea.  egg 
1 tsp.  baking powder  150 ml  milk (or more as needed) 
1 tbs.  sugar  25 gr.  margarine/butter 
150 ml  rice pudding or porridge  1-2 tbs.  raisins (optional) 
Melt the margarine/butter on the skillet over low heat. Allow to cool slightly. Sieve flour and baking powder together into a bowl. Add sugar and rice pudding or porridge and mix well. Add half the milk and mix. Add the egg and the rest of the milk, and then the melted margarine/butter, and the raisins (if you are using them). The dough should be thick enough not to run much on the pan, and yield thick pancakes.

Heat the skillet to medium temperature. Put the dough on the skillet with a tablespoon. You should be able to fry 3-4 "lummur" at once. Turn over with a spatula. Bake until light brown on both sides. 

Serving suggestion: 
-Put the pancakes on a plate in layers and sprinkle some sugar on top of each layer. Serve fresh with sugar, jam or syrup. 

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Pönnukökur - Pancakes

For me, pancakes have always been connected with my grandmothers, both of whom are expert pancake makers, and will whip up a batch at a moments' notice. These pancakes are quick and (fairly) easy to make, and how you serve them depends on the occasion. Rolled up with sugar, they make an excellent addition to afternoon tea (or coffee, depending on your preferences). Spread with jam and folded up with whipped cream, they are a delicacy fit for festive occasions. This recipe comes from my maternal grandmother. For a North American-Icelandic version, click here
Note: The recipe is only a guideline to help first time pancake-makers along. As you become more "fluent" in pancake-making, you will probably develop your own "dash-of-this, a-little-of-that" recipe, as I have.
Take 1 cup flour, 1 medium egg (the original calls for two eggs - I prefer to use just one), a dash of baking soda and a dash of baking powder, 100 grams margarine/butter and some milk. These are the basic ingredients. I also add some essence of cardamom, lemon juice/lemon essence, or vanilla essence for taste. 
Take skillet or Icelandic pancake pan and melt the butter in it. Allow to cool slightly. Mix up the dry ingredients and add some milk to make a thin paste. Add the egg(s). Add the margarine/butter (don't wipe or wash the skillet after melting the fat). Cooling the fat is important, because if it is too hot, the egg(s) will curdle and make lumps in the dough. Experiment with the thickness of the dough. 
Heat the skillet over high heat and lower to medium. Pour on a portion of the dough, just enough to cover the pan (this is a skill that will come with practice). When the underside is golden brown, turn over and fry the other side. The pancakes should be thin - a proper Icelandic pancake is only about a millimeter thick! Stack the pancakes on a plate and sprinkle some sugar on top of each pancake to prevent them from sticking together. These pancakes can be frozen and re-heated in a microwave oven.
The Icelandic pancake pan. This is basically a round skillet with a thick bottom. The thick bottom is necessary, since the pancakes must be fried quickly at a relatively high temperature.  
Serving suggestions: 
-Sprinkle with sugar and roll up, eat and enjoy - either warm or cold! Jam and jelly, especially rhubarb, blueberry or strawberry, is also excellent on rolled pancakes. 
-"Sunday best" cream pancakes: Cover the centre of each pancake with your favourite jam or jelly, add a couple of tablespoons of whipped cream (pancakes must be cold), fold in half, and again in half. Serve with hot cocoa. 
-Stack the pancakes, spreading jam on top of each one. Cut in wedges and serve like a cake, with whipped cream. 

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Skúffukaka - Oven-pan cake 

An old family favourite, and the first cake I learned to make. Much like the Lummur recipe above, this is one I never get tired of making. A very versatile recipe. With a bit of imagination, it can be turned into an apple-cake, spice cake, or a batch of muffins.
A Danish variety of this kind of oven-pan cake is called "Grandfather's Beard".
3 cups  flour  2 cups  sugar 
2 tsp.  baking powder  3 tbs.  dark cocoa 
150 gr.  margarine, melted  2 ea.  eggs 
1-1 1/2 cups  milk     
Mix the dry ingredients well together in a bowl. Add the eggs and milk and then the melted margarine and mix well. Although this dough is supposed to be just mixed, I prefer to whip it slightly - it makes the cake wonderfully light and fluffy. 
Pour into a greased oven-pan (a deep, square one), and bake at 175 C for about 30 minutes in the middle of the oven. The cake is done when it feels firm when you press gently on it with your hand. Allow to cool and spread with cocoa icing. 
Varieties: 
-Leave out the cocoa, and make a white cake (add some vanilla essence to the dough for taste). Spread with cocoa icing. 
-For spiced cake: Leave out the cocoa and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar before baking. For an even more spicy cake, experiment with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and/or powdered cloves. (I never use the same amounts twice)
-To make an apple-cake: put slices of apple, about 1/2 cm thick, on top of white dough in the pan, before sprinkling it with cinnamon sugar. To make cinnamon sugar: Mix together about 1/4 cup of sugar and about 2 tsp. of cinnamon. 
-Mix in grated chocolate or chocolate chips instead of the cocoa and pour into muffin pans. 
-For a slightly tropical taste, put grated coconut on top of the still wet cocoa icing.

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Djöflaterta - Devil's Cake

The recipe is probably originally foreign. This type of chocolate cake is very popular all over Iceland, and you can buy a slice in most cafes and bakeries. I like it best when it has been frozen and thawed before glazing, because the cake will then be nicely moist. 

Devil's Cake with cocoa frosting.

1 3/4 cup  flour  1 1/2 cup  sugar 
1 tsp.  salt  2/3 cup  milk 
1 tsp.  baking soda  2 ea.  eggs or 1 egg and 2 yolks (use whites to make Angel's cream icing
1/2 cup  dark cocoa * 100 g  margarine/butter (soft) 
1 tsp.  vanilla essence     
Mix together the dry ingredients. Add milk and mix well. Add eggs, soft margarine/butter and vanilla essence and mix well. Pour into two cake pans and bake at 175 deg. Celsius until firm. Remove gently from pans and cool. 
When cold, spread one half with rhubarb jam (leave it out if you don't have any), and spread cocoa icing over the jam. Put the other half on top and cover with chocolate icing.
*For a darker cake, use more. Proper Devil's cake should be almost black in colour.
-Other decoration ideas: Cover with cocoa-butter icing. Put mashed bananas between the layers.

- or use Englakrem - Angel's Creme Icing:

1 cup  sugar  1/3 cup  water 2 ea.  egg whites 
Boil water and sugar together until a clear syrup forms. Be careful not to burn. Whip the egg whites until they are stiff and form peaks. Continue whipping and pour the hot syrup s-l-o-w-l-y into the egg whites. Continue whipping until mixture is cold. This creme should be quite stiff. Spread on the cake and decorate with chocolate shavings. 

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Kleinur - Twisted doughnuts

In many homes in Iceland, there lurks a large cooking pot at the bottom of a kitchen cupboard. Its sides are black with burnt-in fat, and a guest might be excused for thinking that their hosts simply forgot to throw it away. Occasionally, in some homes as often as once a week, this pot will be pulled out from its hiding place and put to good use for frying doughnuts in. It is not unusual for a doughnut-maker/housewife to make a double or even triple recipe in one session. 
Twisted doughnuts are not a specifically Icelandic phenomenon, but neither are they as common in other countries. Making these delicacies is no small undertaking. It is time consuming and hard work, and therefore the batches are usually large to save time and effort. 
This is not a good recipe if you have never deep-fried anything before, as the frying fat must to be very hot, and certain precautions must be taken to avoid accidents. They include not letting the hot oil get into contact with water, never leaving the frying pot or deep-fryer unattended, and, in case of accidents, having a fire-blanket/extinguisher at hand. An experienced doughnut maker can make this look as easy as A-B-C, but don't be fooled, and don't try this unless you are used to deep-frying and know the rules! For a North American-Icelandic version, click here
500 gr.  flour  40 gr.  margarine/butter 
2 tsp.  baker's ammonia/hartshorn salt (ammonium carbonate)  2 medium  eggs 
1 tsp.  baking powder  150 ml  milk/sour milk 
150 gr.  sugar  2 tsp.  essence of cardamom 
 Mix together the flour, sugar, baker's ammonia and baking powder. Mix in the soft margarine and then eggs and milk, followed by the essence of cardamom. Knead into a fairly soft dough. Avoid over-kneading, as this will make the doughnuts tough. Flatten dough thinly, cut into strips (these should be anything from 5-10 centimeters wide, depending on weather you want small or big doughnuts) and then cut it into diamond shapes. Cut a small slit in the centre of each diamond and gently pull one end through the slit, to make the twist in the doughnuts. Heat the frying fat. It must be very hot, and will have reached the right temperature when a doughnut browns and cooks through in about 1-1 1/2 minutes. 
Genuine Icelandic twisted doughnuts are fried in sheep tallow (tólg), which leaves a special taste, but this is now considered unhealthy because of all the saturated fat. Use instead about a litre of vegetable cooking fat that can be heated to a high temperature. The doughnuts will not have that special tallowy taste, but neither will they clog up your arteries.                       
Note:
Most deep-fryers can not get the oil hot enough for frying kleinur - but they are safer than using a pot on the stovetop. If you do use a fryer, heat the oil to the maximum temperature, and allow the oil a short time to heat up again after each round of doughnuts. 
* I found an American recipe for twisted doughnuts in The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker (New York, N.Y., Harper & Row, 1989). The recipe is taken from an old American cookbook, and although the twisting method is quite different, the recipes themselves are clearly related.  

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Ástarpungar - Round doughnuts or "Love Balls"

I really like these little doughnuts, especially warm with a glass of cold milk. Make them and everyone will love you for it!
4 cups flour 1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder 2 ea. eggs
1 1/2 cups. milk to taste raisins
Mix the dry ingredients well, and then add the rest. Use a mixer for convenience. Dough should not be very thick. Drop into the frying fat with two teaspoons. For frying instructions, refer to the recipe for twisted doughnuts.

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Sykurstirni/Marengstoppar - Meringue Drops

These delicious meringue drops are the perfect accompaniment for my mother's home-made ice-cream! 
2 ea.  egg whites  1/2 tsp.  cream of tartar 
approx. 3/4 cup  sugar, white or confectioners'  1/2 tsp.  vanilla essence
dash  salt 
Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks. Add the sugar in small doses, whipping well in-between. Whip until the dough is stiff and mix in vanilla or other flavouring (sherry or rum is also good). Oil and flour a baking sheet. Put some of the dough in a  pastry bag with a big tip, and squeeze out some even sized blobs onto the baking sheet. Bake in a warm oven (150° C) until dry and lightly coloured. Remove immediately from the baking sheet and allow to cool before storing in a cookie tin. Serve with home-made ice-cream. 
-Make small drops, dip them in chocolate,  and serve as sweets. 

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Vínarterta - Viennese cake

also called Randalín -  "The striped one"
This cake is famous among the "Western-Icelanders" - the descendants of Icelandic immigrants in Canada and the U.S. For them, there is hardly anything more Icelandic than Vínarterta. 
In spite of the name, I think it probably originated in Denmark. The "Western-Icelandic" version is somewhat different from this - you can find one variation at the INL recipe collection. Here is my grandmother's recipe. 
500 g  flour  250 g  sugar 
250 g  margarine/butter, soft  2 ea.  eggs 
1 1/2 tsp.  baker's ammonia (ammonium carbonate)  pinch  baking powder 
essence of cardamom/pinch of ground cardamom 

Mix together all dry ingredients. Add the margarine/butter, kneading until well mixed. Cool in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. Roll out into a thickness of approx. 1 to 1 1/2 cm. You can divide the dough now or after baking, into as many parts as you want layers (3-5 is the usual). Try to keep each portion the same shape, size and thickness as the others. Bake in the centre of the oven at 200°C, until golden in colour and done through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When the cake is almost cold, spread rhubarb jam or prune jam (see recipe below) on top of all layers except one and sandwich the layers together. 

-This cake freezes well and thaws quickly, and is liked by almost everyone. 
-Brown Vínarterta: Add some cocoa to the recipe and use vanilla butter icing instead of jam, or alternate layers of icing and jam
-Alternate layers of jam and butter icing 
To make prune jam: take one kilo (approx. 2 lbs.) prunes with pits, or equivalent in pitted prunes. Soak the prunes in water to soften and remove the pits. Mince the prunes and cook on low for 30 minutes with 650 g sugar. Cool before spreading on cake.

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Jólakaka/Tebollur - Christmas cake/Marble cake/Lemon cake/tea buns

Probably not Icelandic in origin, but we have certainly made it our own. We may call it “Christmas Cake”, but we actually enjoy it all through the year. My mother usually bakes up a big batch of these cakes in one go. They freeze well, and are always popular with guests. 
This versatile recipe is also good for making Tea Cakes, and, with minor changes, Marble Cake, Lemon Cake, Sand Cake, Fruitcake and Spice Cake. Christmas cake 
is traditionally made with raisins, but as neither I or my mother like raisins in cakes, we usually substitute them with chocolate chips.
150 g.  margarine, soft  150 g.  sugar 
1 ea.  egg  250 g  flour 
2 tsp.  baking powder  150 ml  milk 
100 ml  raisins or chocolate chips or 50/50 of both (optional)  1/2 tsp.  lemon, cardamom or vanilla essence 

Margarine, milk and eggs should all be at room temperature. 
Beat together sugar and margarine until it takes on a pale, almost white, colour. Add the egg and continue beating until light and fluffy looking. Add flavouring essence and mix well. Sift together flour and baking powder and add, small portions at a time, alternating with small doses of milk. Mix well in-between. Stir as little as possible after all the flour has been added, as over-stirring will make the cake dry and tough. Gently stir in the raisins/choc-chips (if using), by hand. Dust lightly with flour before mixing - it will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the bowl. 

To make Christmas cake: Pour into a deep, rectangular cake/bread pan, filling it 2/3 to the top. Bake at 175-200 C, on the lowest rack in the oven. Use more heat under the cake than on top. Baking time is approx. 45-60 minutes. The cake is ready when it shrinks from the edges of the pan, but test with a pin just in case. It should be well and evenly browned on all sides, with a peak down the middle. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. Cool on a rack - if you can resist eating it while it is still warm!

To make marble cake: Use vanilla essence for flavouring. When the dough is fully mixed, divide in half and add melted chocolate (65 gr.) or sifted dark cocoa (2 tblsp. + 1 tblsp. sugar) to one half. The marbling is done by layering the dark and white dough. The amount of marbling depends on how many layers you use. Pour the dough in the baking tin in layers, beginning and ending with white dough. Drag a knife or spoon down the middle of the dough to marbleize. Bake as instructed.

To make tea buns: Drop by the teaspoonful on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven until golden in colour. 

To make Lemon Cake: Use lemon juice (1 ˝ - 2 tsp) or lemon essence (1 tsp.) and grated lemon peel (from ˝ a lemon) to flavor the cake.  Spread with lemon flavored icing if desired.

 

This lovely recipe and it's variations comes from the book “Nýja Matreiđslubókin” by Halldóra Eggertsdóttir and Sólveig Benediktsdóttir. 

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Rjómaterta I - Cream Cake I

All kinds of scrumptuous, decorated cakes with fruit, cream and/or sweet icing are very popular in Iceland, and there are plenty of recipes to choose from. Most are based on some kind of sponge cake, or are made with meringue. They are often jokingly called Stríđstertur (Battle Cakes). Hnallţórur is another joke name for these cakes - derived from a character in one of Halldór Laxness' books, a woman who loved to make and serve these kinds of cake. These creations are as beautiful and tempting to behold  as they are delicious and fattening! 
Layer 1:
4 ea.  egg whites  1 cup  sugar 
2 cups  desiccated coconut or Rice Crispies  100 gr.  dark chocolate 
Beat together egg whites and sugar until stiff and peaks form. Chop or finely grate the chocolate and fold in along with coconut/Rice Crispies. Pour into a greased, round cake pan (use one with a loose bottom). Bake at 150°C for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. 
Layer 2:
4 ea.  eggs  100 gr.  sugar 
50 gr.  flour  50 gr.  potato flour 
Whip the eggs until light and fluffy and add the sugar. Continue whipping until light in colour. Sift together flour and potato flour and carefully fold into egg/sugar mixture with a fork. Pour into a greased round cake pan (same size and type as layer 1). Bake at 200°C for 5 minutes and then lower heat to 175°C and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. 
Decoration:
500 ml.  whipping cream  1 large. can  strawberries in syrup 
as needed  fresh strawberries  chocolate-covered raisins & salted peanuts 
Whip the cream until stiff. Mash the canned strawberries and fold into the cream. Spread a portion on top of layer 1.  Top with layer 2. Cover the cake with the rest of the strawberry cream. Decorate with fresh strawberries, chocolate raisins and salted peanuts. 

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Smjörkrem - Butter Icing

This icing is excellent on cakes and as a filling for Mömmukökur.
125 g butter OR margarine 125-200 g icing sugar
1 ea. egg yolk to taste flavouring essence
1 tblsp. cream (optional) few drops colour (optional)
Soften the butter at room temperature, or put in the microwave for a few seconds. Whip together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Adjust amount of sugar according to how sweet you want the icing. Add the egg yolk and flavouring, and cream, if using (will make the icing smoother). Frost the cake and enjoy.
-vanilla is the usual flavouring for white icing, but many other flavours are excellent:
Rum, sherry, amaretto/almond or hazelnut are good flavours for many kinds of cake. Fruit, berry and flower flavours, such as orange, lemon, strawberry, cherry, peppermint or rosewater, are good with white cake.
Other variations:
-add some cocoa powder to make chocolate-flavoured icing
-flavour with fresh, strong coffee. This combines well with chocolate.

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Mömmukökur - Mama's Cookies (Christmas gingerbread cookies)

My mother only makes these gingerbread cookies before Christmas, but they are excellent at any time of the year. When I was little, I really thought it was my mother's own recipe.
Different people have different ways of making Mömmukökur. My mother makes them very thin and bakes them until they are dark brown and crisp. Some others make light brown, thicker cookies that soften quickly once the icing is on. Mother allows them to stand until completely cooled, before putting in tins for storage. This is to ensure that they will stay crisp. Then, just before Christmas - usually on Ţorláksmessa - the four of us (my parents, brother and I) sit down together and make cookie sandwiches, sticking the cookies together two by two with vanilla butter icing.
125 g butter/margarine 250 g golden syrup
125 g sugar 1 ea. egg
500 g flour 2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. powdered ginger 1 portion butter icing
Melt together the butter, sugar and golden syrup. Cool. Stir in the egg. Mix together flour, baking soda and ginger. Add the syrup mixture and knead until smooth. Stand in a refrigerator over night. Flatten thinly and cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a glass, making sure there is an even number of each shape. Bake at 200°C, until brown. Cool completely before icing.
-p.s. Don't try to use this recipe to make gingerbread houses - it's too fragile.

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Piparkökur - "Pepper Cookies" - Spicy gingerbread cookies

These unusual gingerbread cookies not only contain pepper, but also paprika. My mother modified the recipe from one she found in an old recipe booklet.
500 g. flour 500 g. brown sugar
250 g. butter 2 ea. eggs
5 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ginger 1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. powdered cloves 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika    
Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the soft butter and eggs and knead until smooth. Stand in the refrigerator over night. Roll out into even sausage shapes, pinch off small portions and make little balls out of the dough. Flatten slightly with your hand. Bake at 200°C until dark brown.

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Kókostoppar - Coconut Drops

These little drop cookies are more like sweets that cookies, especially if you dip them in melted chocolate! This recipe makes about 20-25 cookies.
2 ea. eggs 150 g. sugar 225 g. desiccated coconut
Whip together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in the desiccated coconut. Drop by the teaspoonful on a greased cooking sheet, and bake at 200°C until light golden brown (approx 10-12 minutes).
-dip the bottom half of cooled cookies in melted chocolate for added sweetness.

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Hjónabandssćla - Wedded Bliss

I don’t know where the name for this yummy cake originates, but I think it’s a good one! I learned to make it in home economics class when I was in elementary school.
200 ml. Oatmeal 100 ml. Whole wheat flour
100 ml. Flour 100 ml. Brown sugar, well packed
Ľ tsp. Baking soda (optional) 100 gr. Butter/margarine, semi-soft
1 ea. Egg As needed Rhubarb jam or stewed prunes
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter/margarine and mix well with your hands. Add the egg and mix well. Press the dough into a round baking tin, saving some for the topping. Spread with the jam and crumble the rest of the dough over the cake. You can also use the leftover dough to make a pie lattice for the cake. Bake at 200°C for approx 20 min. or until the cake takes on a dark, golden color. Delicious hot or cold.

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Lísu Brúnterta - Lisa's spiced chocolate cake

This is one of the cakes my mother always makes for holidays like Christmas and Easter, and for birthdays and other special occasions.
500 g flour 350 g sugar
250 g margarine or butter 2 ea. eggs
3 tsp. ground cloves 3 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda 2 tblsp. dark cocoa
as needed milk  
Cream together the sugar and softened margarine or butter. Mix in the eggs. Sift the flour with the spices, baking soda and cocoa. Add to the margarine mix, one tablespoonful at a time. Alternate with splashes of milk, and mix well in between (dough should be medium thick). Pour into cake tins and bake at 190°C until firm. Cool.
My mother makes these cakes about as thick as her thumb, and uses three layes of cake and two layers of vanilla butter icing. Tastes great with whipped cream.

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Loftkökur - Air cookies/chocolate meringues

Another cookie recipe my mother always bmakes for Christmas. These delicious candy cookies are light as air and melt on the tongue. The rising agent, baker's ammonia, unfortunately makes a big stink while the cookies are baking. I've seen these cookies for sale in Denmark, where they are called Rutebiler, or "Buses"
1 kg icing sugar 3 tsp. bakers' ammonia
3 tblsp cocoa 3 ea eggs, beaten
Mix the dry ingredients and beaten eggs and knead well. Run the dough through a cookie press or meat grinder with cookie attachment. Use this attachment: . Each cake should be about 5 cm (2 inches) long. Bake in the center of the oven for 8-10 minutes at 175°C. These cookies are light and airy, with a hollow center.
The unbaked cookies don't need to be big - they will expand in size 3-4 times during the baking.

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Slöngukaka- "Snake cake" with chocolate butter cream

It's called a snake cake because the slices look like stylized rolled-up snakes. For chocolate version, see next recipe.
4 ea. eggs 150-200 gr.  sugar
50 gr. flour 50 gr. potato starch
Cream together the eggs and sugar. Add the flour and potato starch, little by little. Prepare a temporary baking container by putting baking paper on a baking sheet and folding in the corners to make a shallow "box".  Pour in the dough and smooth with a spatula. Bake at 250°C for about 10 minutes. Set the oven to heat from below. Test for doneness by gently pressing the top of the cake with your finger - if the cake feels firm and the fingerprint quickly disappears, the cake is done. When done, turn the cake over onto a sheet of baking paper sprinkled with sugar. Put a roasting pan or cutting board on top of the cake while it cools, to keep it smooth and prevent it from hardening. 
Chocolate buttercream: 
50-73 gr. margarine or butter, soft 50 gr. brown sugar
1 ea. egg yolk 2 tblsp. dark cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla sugar or vanilla essence
Make the buttercream: Cream together margarine and brown sugar. Add the egg yolk and mix well. Add the flavouring and sifted cocoa. 
When the cake is cold, smooth the butter cream over one side of it and firmly but carefully roll up the cake. Slice and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Variations: Instead of chocolate butter cream, you can use white butter icing with the flavouring of your choice, chocolate pudding or jam. Strawberry or raspberry jam tastes especially good with this kind of cake. 
Recipe taken from Helga Sigurđardóttir's "Matur & Drykkur", Mál og Menning, Reykjavík, 1986 (1947).

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Súkkulađi-slöngukaka - Chocolate "Snake cake"

A chocolate version of the delicious snake cake. For plain version, see the above recipe.
3 ea. eggs 125 gr.  sugar
50 gr.  potato starch 2 tblsp. dark cocoa
1 tsp  baking powder    
As in the other recipe, cream the eggs and sugar. Add the dry ingredients (sift them first) and mix carefully. Bake like the other snake cake. When done, turn over onto a sheet of baking paper sprinkled with sugar. Roll up with the paper to store. When you want to serve the cake, gently unroll and smear one side with fruit jam, and top with whipped cream (about 150 ml. is suitable). Slice and serve.
Variations: Instead of cream and jam, use vanilla buttercream or cream with mashed fruit. Banana is especially good. Or smooth half-frozen ice-cream custard on the cake, roll up and freeze before serving.  
Recipe taken from Helga Sigurđardóttir's "Matur & Drykkur", Mál og Menning, Reykjavík, 1986 (1947).

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