Overheard at the check out counter of the local Lund’s Uptown grocery store yesterday: “There’s a butter shortage in Norway.” Said the checker to a customer buying a pound of butter. “Be glad we have enough of what we need.” She added.
Since I was next in line, I said, “Oh really? What’s happened?”
“Someone in the government didn’t calculate correctly for the Norwegian butter supply. People are being busted at the border for trying to import butter from Sweden.”
My purchase was Sparkling Sugar for the Chewy Chocolate Cookies I am going to make.
I was thinking, imagine Christmas time without butter for cookies! That’s a Scandinavian tradition. So much so that you can go to these lovely homey places in the country where cookies are served. Guests pay a flat fee to enjoy coffee and a cookie smorgasbord. (I have enjoyed that myself in Sweden.) My second thought was they could go to Denmark to buy butter. My curiosity peeked; I checked the news items for the facts.
From Monster news: By Lennart Simonsson Dec 16, 2011, 2:06 GMT
“Oslo/Stockholm – A shortage of butter in Norwegian shops in the run-up to the festive season has resulted in soaring prices, smuggling attempts and an apology from the main dairy cooperative.”
“’We are sorry that Norwegians have been unable to buy the amount of butter they have wanted to,’” said Stein Oiom, head of Tine SA, the Scandinavian country’s largest producer, distributor and exporter of dairy products.
In the statement Oiom said the cooperative, owned by over 15,000 dairy farmers, had ‘failed to secure a balance’ between milk production and demand for milk and other dairy products like butter.
With demand rising amid Christmas cookie baking and other recipes that include butter, some enterprising attempts to cash in on the shortage have emerged.
Customs officials last week stopped a Russian man who had loaded 90 kilos of butter into his car, tabloid VG reported.”
The article continues with tales of online auctions and trips to Denmark (I told you.) to obtain the precious commodity. The Norwegian cows having lived through a rainy summer produced less milk due to less feed. From the Guardian online I read that there is also a trend to use butter due to a Swedish Television chef, Leila Lindholm, who recommends using butter rather than margarine. It’s healthier. As a result, it looks like there’s a scarcity of butter in Sweden too.
Imagine no Holiday cookies! Yikes. No Russian Tea cookies that melt in your mouth to savor. No Pecan Cups or Shortbread cookies. Well, I just bought more butter to make my presents this year. Like so many people, I am giving something homemade. Material goods are well, just that. Now a great chocolate cookie, that’s a gift of gold to chocolate lovers.
I made this recipe for practice over a couple of months ago and made a mistake with the ingredients. (Sigh) When I accidentally added the sugar twice the cookie became very hard and not chewy. I was forced to eat all the cookies – not at one time – soaking them in milk to soften them. Such sacrifices have to be made.
Here is the Recipe.
Chewy Chocolate Cookies
1/3 Cup granulated sugar plus 1/2 cup for coating
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
3/4 Cup cocoa powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/4 plus 1/8 Teaspoon table salt
1/2 Cup dark corn syrup
1 Large egg white
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Put 1/2 cup granulated sugar onto a plate and set aside.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda together in a small bowl and set aside.
In another small bowl whisk together the corn syrup, egg white and vanilla and set aside.
Beat the butter, brown sugar and remaining 1/3 cup of white sugar together until light and fluffy (2 minutes). Add the corn syrup mixture and beat until combined (20 seconds). Add the flour mixture and chopped chocolate and mix until just combined (30 seconds), making sure there isn’t any unmixed flour pockets.
Chill dough for 30 minutes (but no longer than 30 minutes, according to the recipe). Divide the dough into 16 equal portions (or use a 1.5″ ice cream scoop to create the cookies – this will yield more than 16 cookies), roll between your hands into a ball and then roll the balls in the sugar to coat. Put on baking sheets, 2 inches apart and bake 10-11 minutes.
Cookies are done when they have cracked and still look wet between the cracks. It’s important to not over bake the cookies. Allow the cookies to cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheets and then cool fully on a wire rack.
Yield: 16 – 24 cookies