One of my writer friends asked for the recipe for this after seeing me discuss it in our off topic chat on our writing server. This recipe is something my husband grew up with as a Christmas treat. It’s a relatively inexpensive treat, at least when compared to marzipan and nougat and other things that are the staples of the Danish Christmas. So pretty much it’s a poor man alternative that is so good you still want it even if you can afford marzipan, etc.
Ideally you want to mix these a week or more–preferably longer–before the holidays so they can “dry out” a bit. But don’t worry–they still taste good fresh. It’s mainly the texture that changes a little when they get time to rest.
I apologize for only having weight measurements. It’s a Danish recipe and I don’t have time this year to try to convert them to US measurements.
If you only make a single batch, you may find you need to make more soon. It hasn’t been uncommon for us to make two double batches with two different flavorings.
Rolling them can be an enjoyable family activity. We often set up on the coffee table with a holiday movie. It goes faster with more hands. As long as you work somewhere sticky hands can’t ruin things, it’s also something you can include kids in.
- 250 g oatmeal (preferably quick oats if you have them handy, not that it matters much if you are able to chop it finer as recommended)
- 1 dl heavy cream (I’ve never tried substitutions here, but I’d expect nondairy alternatives would work equally well. If it is a thinner substance than heavy cream, you may need less)
- 125 g butter or margarine (we always use butter for better flavor)
- 375 g sugar
- 2 tablespoons (rounded) cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract or other flavoring (we frequently use peppermint or whiskey or cognac as alternatives)
- Sugar or coconut for rolling in (optionally colored)
Chop the oatmeal more finely using a food processor or blender. You basically want to end up with a course oat flour. I mix ours entirely in the food processor, which can just fit a double batch.
Add the sugar, butter, and cocoa. If you can’t mix entirely in a food processor, you may find it easier to melt the butter.
I just cut it into chunks and let the processor do the work the same as making pie crust.
Once everything is mixed evenly, add the cream and flavorings and mix until well-distributed and everything sticks together in a nice dough. Taste test it and be sure you are happy with the amount of flavoring. We often use more than the recipe calls for, especially with peppermint.
When satisfied with the flavor, I recommend resting it somewhere cold at least a few hours and preferably overnight. Put it all into a bowl, press it together, and cover with waxed paper or cling film. It is easier to work with and less sticky when cold and the oatmeal absorbs some of the moisture of the cream making it firmer.
Roll the dough into balls of the desired size then roll each ball in sugar or coconut. We prefer sugar. I use a spoon to scrape blobs out out of bowl then roll them by hand and drop into a bowl of sugar. Then I jiggle the bowl when there are several so they roll themselves into sugar.
Put the rolled balls into jars or other containers. We like the looks of glass jars. But make sure the mouth is wide enough that you can get them out. Store cool or refrigerated. They’ll keep a while if kept cold.
We store ours in the workshop, which serves as an extended pantry for the winter and generally stays around refrigerator temperature.
They also make a great homemade gift. I always roll the ones for my mother-in-law in smaller balls than we prefer ourselves.