God Syttende Mai!

Celebrate Norway’s constitution day with a traditional recipe.

Norway’s constitution was signed on May 17, 1814, and declared the country independent (in the hope of avoiding a takeover by Sweden after the Napoleonic Wars). Over the years, May 17 has evolved into a festive national holiday in Norway—and, of course, we Norwegian-Americans love a good excuse to celebrate, too. My recipe for sandbakelse (“sand tarts”) is easy to whip up once you have a set of special fluted tins—and the result is beautiful and delicious. Whether you’re Norwegian-American by blood or just in spirit, I wish you a God Syttende Mai!

Makes about 2 dozen tarts.

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • ½ cup shortening, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups flour

Combine ingredients in the above order and mix well, by hand or with an electric mixer. Press dough into sandbakelse tins, leaving an indentation in the middle where the dough will rise. Place tins on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 8 to 12 minutes.

Sandbakelse tins are easy to find at Scandinavian imports stores in the Twin Cities or online. Some bakers use the tarts as shells for whipped cream or berries; I like to fill each tin with more dough and serve the sandbakelse as stand-alone sugar cookies.