Saturday, May 17, 2014

Easy Icelandic Laufabraud Experience Using Pie Crust

As soon as the kids finished reading Foods of Iceland, they each immediately asked to make laufabraud (funny, they had no desire to make hardfiskur or hakarl...). Laufabraud (pronounce it "LOIF-uh-broith") is a traditional Christmas food in Iceland, made from bread rolled thin, with snowflake and other pretty designs cut into it, then deep-fried.

Fine, it DOES sound super yummy, but I ain't deep frying nothing for nobody!

Since we read that at Christmas time, bakeries often sell laufabraud bread dough all rolled out and ready to be baked, I decided that pie crust cookies would be a reasonable approximation for us. After all, all the kids really wanted were the experiences of cutting pretty designs and eating yummy baked goods, so no need to struggle for undesired authenticity.

Laufabraud is usually fairly large, but the kids wanted to hand samples out at their International Fair (there's lots of geographically-themed noshing going on at the International Fair, let me tell you), so I cut out small circles from the pie crust using my Pappaw's old biscuit cutter, then gave the kids a clean x-acto knife, clean awl, and plastic straw to make their decorations.

If we hadn't been baking these to pass out, the kids definitely would have preferred to make the larger size--cutting tiny designs into 30 small laufabraud cookies sure gets old!

When the kids were finished with the decorating, I sprinkled the cookies with cinnamon sugar and then baked them as you do any pie crust cookie (burning them a bit around the edges is my own personal specialty):

Even though they weren't deep-fried in sheep fat, they were happily nommed up by all the kids!

I was never in Iceland for Christmas, so I haven't tasted authentic laufabraud, either, but I did once bring home from Iceland a bottle of brennivin wrapped up in sweaters in my duffel bag. I technically brought it home as a souvenir for Matt, but after hearing my stories of how it actually tasted and how it made one feel the next day, both he and I were too chicken to break into it, and instead kept it as a knick-knack on a high kitchen shelf until one night it was spotted in the middle of a rowdy grad school party. This being grad school, there were other friends there who'd also been to Iceland (Old Norse is a grad school thing, y'all), and we were somehow persuaded to open it up so we could all dive in.

I think that the next morning, everyone not already in the know finally understood why I'd been so reluctant to open that now-empty bottle...

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