Tag: Nordic

EASY “Romkugler”

Hi everyone!

Our New Year started indeed really typically – we got sick. Coughing, stuffy nose, headache, fever etc – it was even hard to wake up from bed and do something simple like cooking or cleaning up.

I decided to bake something good to make others at least a little bit happier, that was just before when I too started to feel sick. Now I understand why people should not bake anything when they are sick – I forgot the cake to oven for too long, so the edges of it got a little bit burned. It was not good  to eat it in that condition but luckily I got an idea – I should make rum balls.

Rum balls are sweets that resemble to truffles but  are made of cookies or cake, cocoa and rum. They are popular Christmas treats in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Czech Republic, according to Wikipedia. Rum balls are consumed all year round in Denmark and they are called rumkugler there. They are consumed year arond also in our homeland Estonia and here they are called rummikoogid. Rum balls were originally made of leftover cakes or from cakes that came out poorly. They say that when life gives you lemons make lemonade but I say – “When cake comes out bad, make yourself some rum balls”. It sounds tacky but it is great thing to remember. Every fail leads to success in the end! 🙂

We make our rum balls with rum essence instead of real rum since our family does not consume alcohol. There is a product link to rum essence that is similar to the one we use at the lower part of this blog post.

For 20 rum balls you will need –

1 pack (400 grams) cake base (you can use cookies instead)

180 grams butter

4 tablespoon cocoa powder

rum essence

about 3 tablespoons sour cream or greek yoghurt

coconut flakes for decorating


Crumble cake or cookies to smaller pieces and then crush them to tiny crumbs in food processor or even in blender. Mix cocoa powder with cake crumbs. Melt butter and pour it to the crumbs. Add rumm essence according to your taste. Ideally it should have quite strong rum taste. Add as much sour cream as you need for the dough to be moldable and not crumbling anymore. Form dough into golf ball sized balls and decorate them by rolling in coconut flakes. Leave to fridge for at least 2 hours before eating.



Estonian Gingerbread – “Piparkook”

Gingerbread is a cookie that is made of sugar syrup, flour and spices. It is a traditional Christmastime pastry that is most popular in Germany, England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Latvia. Although it is called Gingerbread in English it is named “Piparkook”  in Estonian which word by word means pepper cake. Yes, Estonian gingerbread really has pepper in it, no joke! While gingerbreads and gingerbread dough are widely sold in supermarkets, Estonians still enjoy making them at home too.  Dough is rolled thinly on flour and then pieces are cut out of it with special forms. Traditionally gingerbread forms are shaped as Christmas trees, stars, crescents or hearts. Gingerbreads are baked in oven for about 5 to 7 minutes and then put aside to cool down. After that gingerbreads are decorated with sugar icing which is usually bought from store. Making gingerbreads is usually a family activity.


250 grams  sugar syrup (preferably dark)

160 grams  sugar

1 package (or 30grams)  gingerbread spice, you can add 0,5 teaspoon of black pepper

5 tablespoons  lemon or orange juice

250 grams  butter (chopped to small pieces)

2 eggs

650 grams  flour

2 teaspoons  soda

Heat syrup and sugar in a pot until it almost starts to simmer. Then remove pot from the heat and add chopped butter. Mix and let it cool. Add eggs and mix again carefully. Mix soda with flour and add it to the dough. Knead the dough thoroughly and pack it into food wrap. Let it sit in refrigerator for a day. Roll the dough as previously mentioned and cut out the cookies with gingerbread forms. Preheat the oven to 180℃ or 356℉ and bake them 5 to 7 minutes.

History of gingerbreads quoted and translated from – piparkoogimaania.ee.

„Tradition of making gingerbreads is much older than commonly believed. Origin of gingerbread is associated with Germany and Christmas, but first gingerbread is actually known to come from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. They reached to Europe through crusaders and spice importers in 11th century. Gingerbreads were first cut to different shapes in the middle of 15th century.

… It was believed that gingerbreads have healing, magical and lucky characteristics. They’re peak of popularity was in 16th to 18th century.  Gingerbreads were not only enjoyed in Christmastime but year around during many Holidays.

… The ingredients of gingerbreads were flour, honey and spices in the Medieval Times. Only wealthiest burghers could afford gingerbreads as sweets until the 18th century. Honey in the dough was replaced to less expensive sugar syrup, in the beginning of 19th century. That change made gingerbread available to everyone. The spices that were used for gingerbread were – cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, coriander, clove, ginger, black pepper, anise, orange or lemon peel and chopped nuts. Gingerbread recipes were kept carefully secret and recipes were passed down from generation to generation.“

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