Sharon Tyler Herbst calls these tender fruit-filled cookies one of the prettiest in her chapter on holiday treats. They are small, almost bite-sized, and filled with lekvár, which here in the United States is typically prune butter but in Central and Eastern Europe can be any fruit preserve. They could also be filled with rhubarb.

The dough is lightly-sweet and pastry-like, made with cold butter cut into a mixture of flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt and cardamom. An egg yolk beaten with vanilla extract holds the crumbly mix together for rolling out. Once the shapes were cut, filled and folded, I brushed each with egg white and sprinkled them with coarse sugar before baking.

These delicate, delicious cookies are Icelandic in origin. Hálfmánar means crescents or half-moons.

About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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2 Responses to Hálfmánar

  1. dawnk777 says:

    We love cardamom in this house and almost always have some. We can get the ground stuff at a specialty store, but we have to go to a different specialty store to buy the whole pods. We like making chai latte mixtures, so need lots of cardamom. The mainstream grocery stores don’t always have it. To me it’s not that strange, though. It also goes into some Finnish Pulla bread, that we made for Sarah’s 5th grade class, when she had to do a report on a country, where her ancestors came from. My grandma on my mom’s side was Finnish. That bread was so good! Sarah’s classmates loved it, too.

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