christmas tradition // smorbakkels


Traditions run deep on both sides of my family – from Christmas Eve lutefisk dinner on the Klegstad side to these pink frosted butter cookies on the Flaget side.

The only reason the smorbakkel recipe exists is because my aunt Marijean watched my great-grandma “measure” it in the mid 1960s. Before that, great grandma Emelia made it from memory, measuring in a pinch of soda and a heaping cup of flour here and a blop of sour cream there to get the correct consistency.

In Flaget tradition, smorbakkels are layered into a tiered cake. My mom had one for every birthday.

my mom + her smorbakkle cake.

For as long as I can remember, my sister and I help our mom frost on Christmas Eve, and we enjoy them as cookies. They’re flaky and just the right amount of sweetness to have one – er, three – after dinner.

Merriest Christmas, friends!





  • 2.5 to 3 cups flour (depends on thickness of cream… if thick, use 3 cups)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup thick sour cream
  • 1/s tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp sugar

Mix flour and salt.

Cut in (or mix with hands or two knives) the butter. Mix until crumbly.

Mix sour cream with the baking soda and sugar.

Add the sour cream mixture to the flour a little at a time, using a knife to cut in the sour cream (hands work well, too).

When mixing is done, the dough should be like butter with a floury feel. Refrigerate until chilled.

Roll dough (one-third of it at a time) to quarter-inch thickness. Cut into rectangles; cut a small slit in the middle and split.

Bake at 400 degrees until browned.

For the frosting: Mix cream, sugar and powdered sugar until spreadable consistency (boil a small amount of cream with granulated white sugar and stir in powdered sugar). Add a couple drops of red food coloring to make the frosting a light pink.

Frost cookies and then dip the tops of cookies in coconut (my mom uses sweetened).

Makes about four dozen cookies.


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  • Reply hyedi 12/24/2012 at 4:37 pm

    What a cool tradition!

    • Reply erin 12/27/2012 at 7:23 am

      Thanks! I look forward to it all year :)

  • Reply Luv What You Do 12/24/2012 at 9:26 pm

    I love the all pictures! what a special family tradition! I love that you got to share it on the blog. Enjoy all of this special time with your family!

    • Reply erin 12/27/2012 at 7:24 am

      Thank you! It’s a tradition that will be passed on :)

  • Reply Margaret Anne 12/24/2012 at 11:00 pm

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to have some :)

    • Reply erin 12/27/2012 at 7:24 am

      I have a container full of smorbakkles, Margaret! What day are you and Jake back in StP? Hope you had a GREAT time in Halliday!

  • Reply WEEKS 30+31+32 | Happy New Year! « lifelove+lucy 01/02/2013 at 10:06 pm

    […] in my entire life]. I know it’s a problem bad when I’m dying to get my hands on the Smorbakkles and Krumkake my sister brought back from my family’s Christmas in Hallock. This month: This […]

  • Reply nora 01/03/2013 at 10:29 pm

    I love this story……….. It takes me back to 1977 when I traveled to Europe with a friend…..our journey took us for a stop in Norway……Goll, be exact….. brother in- law Bill Flagets family roots.
    Now my sister .Shelley told me that they all spoke English…not true !!!! I had sent them a postcard to say we were coming . Now get this !!!!! When the train dropped us off in Goll, we were standing on a platform in the forest !!!! Thank god there was a pay phone. We called and their youngest son picked us up.
    .They were so welcoming even though they had not a clue who we were. So after coffee and some delicious Norwegian goodies,

    they had us take a rest while they looked for a translator …Success
    We saw the Flaget farm but the highlight was spending a day with grandma.She was the sweetest ever !!! Very happy and thrilled to have guests. We conversed all day in our own languages..laughed..looked a photos…AND YES!!!!….. there were SMORBAKKLES…..and toasts with Canada Dry Gingerale.

    So thankyou for bringing back that memory to me smorbakkles :)

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