Fattigman are fried cookies dusted with powdered sugar for a special snack at Christmastime.
It had been years since I’d eaten fattigman, “poor man’s cookies”, during the holidays. These special fried cookies have crossed my mind frequently in recent years, but I could never find the time to make them. This year, I decided I had no real excuse to not dive in to the recipe.
Although they are a bit finicky, I only needed one single bite to be transported back in time. Sometimes it seems odd that so much of our memories are tied up in tastes and smells, and not necessarily the actions of the given day. I don’t recall any singular moment of fattigman at Christmas, only that they were there on the table often, ready for us to eat along with the spritz cookies and the Midwest appetizer platter of cheese and summer sausage.
Our Christmases never felt like a big to-do, but there was always plenty of food, plenty of coffee (for the adults), euchre at night, and hours of just being.
Our families have shifted quite a bit over the past ten years, which I suppose is part and parcel of growing up. It makes sense, but that doesn’t mean things get any easier. Especially these days, as both my brother and I have children, but my small unit lives so far away from the rest of the family. We do what we can. What I can do, is cook and bake.
Fattigman is similar to pie crust in that you mix up the dough and chill it before forming. Spiced with classic cardamom, the dough is soft and rich thanks to extra egg yolks. Fattigman cookies do take some work to get to form properly, so don’t get frustrated if your first few bows don’t look quite right. You can easily toss the dough back into a ball, re-roll and re-cut to try again.
These are best served immediately, but if you plan to save them for later, make sure they are crisp-fried and well-drained. Save the powdered sugar dusting until right before eating.
- 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cream or half & half
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour , plus more for dusting
- Oil for frying
- Powdered sugar
- Beat together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, cream, and bourbon.
- Add cardamom, salt, and flour, and mix until a soft dough forms.
- Dust a work surface with flour and knead about 5 times just to bring dough together smoothly.
- Divide dough into two, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- When ready to cook, heat 2 inches of oil in a deep skillet to 375°F.
- Dust a work surface with flour and roll out dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Using a knife, pasty wheel, or pizza cutter, slice dough into diamonds.
- Cut a small slit in the center of each diamond. Pull the bottom tip of the diamond through the slit, creating a bow shape.
- Fry fattigman in oil in batches, about 1-2 minutes per side (they should be crisp, but not too browned). Remove and cool on paper towels, paper bags, or newspaper, then dust with powdered sugar and serve.
The bourbon is optional, but will help prevent the oil from soaking into the dough during frying.
More cookie recipes you might like:
Candied Meyer Lemon Cookies – Food Fanatic
Double Chocolate Cookie Sticks – Stetted
Lemon Drop Cookies – Bluebonnet Baker
Peppermint Snowcap Meringues – Very Culinary
Super Chocolatey Raspberry Cookies – Stetted
For more tasty inspiration, check out my A Taste of Sweden board on Pinterest!
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