Drömmar are Swedish biscuits (or cookies if you speak American) and the word literally means ‘dreams’ – which I find extremely suitable. They are little clouds of delicate, crispy, vanilla and they are definitely dream-worthy.
I’ve always loved these biscuits, and they’re a great addition to any fika. Fika, by the way, is the greatest thing. It can be a noun or a verb, a meeting with friends, a first date, a chat with your mum. Basically, to have a fika is to have a coffee or tea – often with something sweet or a sandwich. But it has become something of a social institution in Sweden. It usually means that you take a small break if you’re at work, or that you go sit in a café (potentially for hours) if you’re with friends. It’s a good first date because it’s more casual than a dinner. And then of course there’s the Sunday fika and birthday fika you have at home with homemade bakes.
One Swedish fika tradition is to have sju sorters kakor – literally seven sorts of biscuits. It’s a Swedish concept which comes from the 1800’s and the minimum assortment of biscuits that was acceptable to serve according to etiquette. It has been said that during the early 1900’s it was commonly thought that if fewer than seven biscuits were served, the hostess was assumed to be cheap, but if more than seven were served, she was proud or haughty. In the 1940’s it became a cook book.
Now I don’t proclaim to be making seven sorts of biscuits every time I have guests over, but on my mum’s birthday I made three types of biscuits, English scones, a birthday cake, and meringues. So that’s not bad going, is it?
I’d always loved drömmar but I’d never tried to make them, because they call for a rather special ingredient ammonium carbonate. Then when I was living in London I usually had to go to Scandinavian Kitchen to get my baking supplies, and I saw that they were selling it. Being away from home and not being able to take the easy route by buying them in the shop I decided to give it a go. I’ve since made them three or four times, and as long as you can get your hands on the ammonium carbonate (hjorthornssalt) they’re not that difficult to make!
150 ml sugar
2 tsps vanilla sugar
50 ml oil (rapeseed or sunflower are my recommendations)
0.5 tsp ammonium carbonate
200 ml flour (approx. 120g)
Cream together the sugar, vanilla sugar, and butter. If you don’t have vanilla sugar you can use vanilla flavouring, but I would recommend at least halving the amount.
Mix the ammonium carbonate in with part of the flour and add to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix in the rest of the flour and roll in to small balls.
Bake on a tray covered in baking paper at 150 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.
These biscuits really are like dreams. If they turn out right they will just crumble and melt in your mouth.