Recipe: Fattigman or Klejner Cookies aka “poor man’s cookies”

blog fattigman

Fattigman Cookies. Yum.

Fattigman Cookies, like so many other goodies on here, are Scandinavian. As such, they were a fond part of my childhood.

They are so interestingly shaped, I think. I remember spending a few too many minutes trying to untie the cookies, endlessly curious about how they came to be tied that way.

What is interesting to me about these cookies is the cardamom–this is a spice that is very strong and used in Indian cuisine. Infact, I can’t think of any other European foods that call for this spice (except for other Norse baked treats). Cardamom is related to the ginger root…considering this is the region that also brought us the Ginger Snap Cookie, this kind of makes sense to me.

Its smell is distinctive. But, like many things, cardamom loses its potency quickly after it is ground, so it is ideal to get it whole–in pods.  The conversion for this is about 6-7 pods equals a teaspoon of ground. But don’t worry if you can’t find whole cardamom; just get the best-quality ground black cardamom you can find.

blog fattigman cutter

Click for additional fattigman recipes and to order this specialty cutter.

The cookies do require some special equipment, namely a special cutter.

This recipe is from


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Baker’s (superfine) sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cognac or brandy (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (whipped to stiff peaks)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • vegetable / canola oil for frying
  • vanilla sugar or confectioner’s sugar


Cream together the eggs, sugar, and brandy (if using). Stir in the melted butter. Gently fold the whipped cream into the batter. Sift together the remaining ingredients; with a light hand, mix the dry ingredients into the batter to form a soft dough. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Roll the chilled dough out on a floured counter to an 1/8″ thickness. Using a fattigman cutter or a pastry cutter, cut the dough into diamond shapes (approximately 1 1/4″ wide by 3 1/2″ long. If using a pastry cutter: cut the dough first into 1 1/4″ inch strips and then cut across these diagonally to form diamonds. Use a knife to cut a 1/2″ slash in the middle of each diamond). Twist one corner of each diamond up through the center slash to make a knot.

Heat two inches of vegetable / canola oil in the bottom of a heavy pot to 375.º Drop in the pastry knots and fry until golden, turning occasionally. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with vanilla sugar or confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately (Note: if preparing ahead, store in an airtight container without sprinkling with sugar. Warm in a low oven before serving, then sprinkle with the sugar).


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