5 & Spice is two years old (two years young?) today!  Admittedly, in the scheme of blogs, that’s not very old yet.  But, to be perfectly honest, when I first started writing, I’m pretty sure I expected that by the end of two years, I wouldn’t have anything left to say.  Instead, I feel like I keep having more to say, more that I’m excited about, more I want to share with you.

It’s like one of those conversations where, each time it starts trickling off and you think maybe it will end, instead a new and even more exciting topic comes up, and you keep talking, until finally you look up and notice that the sun is rising, you’ve been talking all night, and you can’t think of any other way you would rather have spent your time.

I’m not one of those people lucky enough to have discovered early on that they have a calling (to those of you who do, I am way jealous!), however, having stumbled into this little world of developing, photographing, and writing about recipes (okay, okay, and writing about my random thoughts and stories), it feels suspiciously close to one.  It’s more of a persistent beckoning, perhaps, than a “haloo-there” call.

I’m listening to it, at any rate.  I can’t not.

And in this process, something a bit funny has happened.  I started the PhD program I’m in partly as a challenge to myself to go deep, to move beyond dabbling and really dig my teeth into something.  I started this blog partially on the premise that I’m a lazy cook, but that I still like to cook and eat fairly well.  And I started it to write for fun, for myself, certainly not thinking about the quality of the writing overall.

But, things went topsy turvy.  The PhD process, though everyone involved is wonderful and trying their best and being supportive, has had the effect of driving me to the surface, bullying and jerking me about so that I just want to get it done.  Okay, so maybe I’m a little hyper-sensitive and not suited for academia; it’s something I’m working on.  It’s just that, most interactions, and most days of working on my dissertation have the effect of making me feel small and helpless, like I think about things in a way that is different enough to be ‘the wrong way.’   And so I scrunch up my neck and pull my head back into my shell, and stop digging or pushing.

Each time I come here, to this funny little piece of cyberspace, I feel myself expand, and my heart opens up, unafraid to spill over.  Creating the images and the words, sharing them with all of you out there who are so kind as to listen brings me such joy I can just feel it streaming out of me!  It has given me courage and spurred me to push myself in ways I would not have anticipated.

I have dug deeper with technique, explored further with ingredients, and expanded my cooking.  I’ve pushed myself to learn about lighting, and f-stops, and food styling, in spite of disastrously hideous and frustrating early attempts.  I’ve started to think intentionally about the craft of storytelling and the art of turning a beautiful, or giggle-inspiring, phrase.  And I’ve loved it in a way that makes me want to keep stretching, keep striving, and keep going.

It’s for myself still, but it’s also for you, and thanks to you.  You all make me feel like a million bucks, and I can’t thank you enough!  I wish I could give you all big hugs!!!  Instead I’ll have to share this recipe with you.

These are skolebrød.  Kind of like boller, they are an extremely classic Norwegian treat, mostly eaten by children, but there’s no shame in loving them in your adult years.  I’m not ashamed.  They’re fabulous, in that I’m going to eat this and smile to myself because I feel like a kid at a birthday party but it also legitimately tastes good, sort of way.  Plus, they’re the very best served with coffee, and that’s not something you’re going to get at a kid’s birthday party!

Skolebrød means “school bread”, because they would supposedly be packed into school lunches back in the day, or maybe kids gave them to their teachers as gifts.  The tales of how they originated conflict, and personally, I’ve never received on in my lunchbox nor given one to my teacher.  But, I have a hard time resisting them any time I go into a bakery in Norway.  For my birthday this year (back in July!), I finally decided to try to make them myself.

They’re futsy to make, but to me it was totally worth the effort to get those familiar flavors and textures – pillowy cardamom bread, creamy vanilla custard, flaky sweet coconut frosting.  They’re seriously celebratory, and I feel I have every reason in the world to celebrate!

Skolebrød (makes around 20 buns)

For buns:

  • 1 stick (8 Tbs.) melted butter
  • 3 cups warm whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. yeast
  • 2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
For custard filling:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For icing:
  • powdered sugar glaze (1 Tbs. milk + 1 tsp. vanilla extract blended with powdered sugar until it reaches icing consistency – probably close to a cup)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  1. Roll up those sleeves, put on your apron and get ready for “a project!”  In a large bowl, mix together the 3 cups warm milk, the melted butter, and the 1 cup sugar.  Sprinkle the yeast over it and allow to stand until the yeast is foamy (5-10 minutes).  Then, stir in the cardamom and salt.
  2. Stir in the flour bit by bit until you have a stiff, but still pretty sticky dough.  Then turn it out and knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes.  The dough should be as sticky as possible while also still being somewhat workable.  You don’t want it to be dry, or the buns won’t have a good texture.  (It’s easier to do this in a Kitchen Aid with a dough hook, if you have one because then your hands don’t get totally dough-encased).  Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. In the meantime, make the custard filling.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar.  Combine the 1 cup milk and 1 cup heavy cream in a saucepan, and bring just to a simmer.  Add about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid to the bowl with the egg yolk mixture, whisking well as you pour to keep the egg from curdling.  Repeat, adding another 1/4 cup.  Then, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the milk and cream, and cook over a medium-low temperature, stirring constantly, until it thickens to almost a pudding texture.  Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and set aside to cool.
  4. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.  When the dough has risen, punch it down, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide it into 20 equal pieces.  Gently form each piece into a ball, then pull each out and flatten it slightly into a thick disk. Use your fingers to make a big dimple in the center of each, then place them on the baking sheets.  Cover with towels and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350F.  Put a spoonful of the custard into the center of each of the buns.  Then, brush around the edges of each bun with the egg glaze.  Bake them one sheet at a time until golden brown, mine took around 15 minutes per batch.  Remove to cooling racks and allow them to cool completely.
  6. When the buns are cool, put the dried coconut in a shallow bowl.  Make the icing, and rub a little icing onto a bun, avoiding the custard center.  Then, gently dip the bun in the coconut, and set on a plate to dry.  Repeat with the remaining buns, making more glaze or adding more coconut as needed.
  7. Serve alongside your afternoon coffee for a very special treat!

36 Responses to Skolebrød + 2 years old!

  1. Lise Lunge-Larsen says:

    Happy birthday little toddler blog! Skolebrød is an excellent way to celebrate.

  2. Sherry says:

    Kudos on your blogging! I want to have these at the kitchen table.

  3. vintagejenta says:

    Holy crap do skolebroed sound awesome! Hmmm… May have to spend the day baking bread soon…

    Also – happy birthday!

  4. Congratulations!!! Thanks for the great recipe!!

  5. kochfrau says:

    congratulations to your two years! You can be proud of yourself and your blog which I only recently discovered and immediately liked it a lot. Very appetizing photographs and a very entertaining style of writting. I began with blogging some months ago, still in the period of searching for the fitting way for myself. but as you tell about your own experience I’m going just through a similar process: Since I put that seed into the soil, the more I think about my blog the more fun and the more enthusiame blooms …

  6. Cinnamin says:

    Congratulations Emily! Here’s to many, many more years and posts :) 5 & Spice is one of my favourite blogs and since I too, started blogging very recently, it’s a great source of inspiration. Since I began reading you, I’ve been thinking of signing up for a short-term nutrition course! What’s great is that your writing is as beautfiul as the food.Happy Birthday xoxo

  7. jo-el-leo says:

    Happy blogiversary!

  8. Kasie says:

    Wow, those look delicious! I would love to make them when I am feeling ambitious in the kitchen! Congratulations on your two years! I just recently discovered your blog, and you have inspired me to cook more! I have loved your recipes that I have tried so far! Thanks!

  9. You have a lovely blog and your recipes (especially desserts!) are mouthwatering! Glad to be your newest follow :)

  10. I could totally relate to this post, I am in my 3rd year doing biology at Uni but all I really want to do now is work in the food industry, my interests have completely changed! Everything about this post was absolutely lovely and the recipe is so intriguing, beautiful and HAPPY BLOG ANNIVERSARY :)

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Thank you! And you know, I think changing interests is part of growing and basically being alive. Good luck with your work!

  11. Iris says:

    Happy birthday, and I have been enjoying your blog for a while now, so I can say I definitely think you have something special here. Don’t be afraid to listen to that voice in your head that’s beckoning…

  12. Just stumbled upon your blog via Tastespotting when I saw your picture of those lovely Skolebrød and now I want one! It has been a few years since I last made skolebrød since I have developed a thing for cupcakes. I have been thinking of making something quintessentially Norwegian for cupcakes and I think I now have the answer – skolebrød-cupcakes!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Oh my gosh!!! I love the idea of skolebrød cupcakes so much!! Do it! Let me know how it works out!

  13. Hannah says:

    Congratulations on 2 years! I’ve recently discovered your blog and enjoy it immensely. We hosted a Norwegian exchange student and she introduced us to skolebrod (and other Norwegian treats). I look forward to making your recipe!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Oh fun! Thanks so much Hannah. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog, and I hope you get a chance to try baking the skolebrød one of these days!

  14. Aasa says:

    I’m just making these as I’m writing. Came back from Trondheim yesterday (my sis lives there hence I stay there alot, it’s one of my ‘holy’ places in this world) where I almost lived on skolebrød! I love them so much!
    I’m a Swede who moved to England at a tender age, I love reading your blog, seeing your pictures, and reminiscing about cold summer swims in the Baltic, and the smell of pine needles, and the feel of bare feet running on bare floorboards.

    Kämpa på, nyderligt!

  15. [...] gorgeous scenery, and of course I got to fill up on all my favorite foods:  hotdogs with lefse, skolebrod, boller, waffles, and enough ice cream, berries, and smoked salmon to sate even the most ravenous [...]

  16. Grace says:

    thanks for the recipe. the cardamon really makes a huge difference.

  17. [...] Inspired by Five and Spice’s Recipe [...]

  18. Sara says:

    Found your blog, while searching for a food to make for my son’s school project. Thanks for sharing – I made these last night, and while they were a lot of work……..what a feeling of accomplishment with the finished product!!! My son was very proud, and got great reviews from his teacher and peers! Thanks again!!!

  19. Carrie says:

    I made these yesterday and blogged about them today! They are amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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