Tonight was a celebration of Finland.  One of my friends from college suggested this recipe for Finnish Meatballs.  To pair with it, I decided to make a common dessert in Finland, Lusikkaleivat, as well.  Both recipes were slightly modified to be dairy-free (or, as in the case of the meatballs, as close to dairy-free as I could get them).  If you are not lactose intolerant, click through the links to the original recipes and try those.  

Verdict:  The meatballs were great!  The recipe makes a TON of them so be prepared to have leftovers for a few days.  They are very rich in flavor.  Ebabe was the only one who didn't like them, reinforcing my belief that if it isn't made of processed hot dogs or chicken nuggets, she won't like it.  Boo had seconds and is looking forward to those leftovers!   

Finnish Meatballs (original recipe from the New York Times)

To make these, you need:
¾ cup soy milk
3 slices white bread with the crusts removed
6 oz mild Gouda-style cheese (aged Gouda cheese is almost completely lactose free)
1½ cups parsley, finely minced
¾ cup finely minced onion
2 large eggs
2 tsp salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 TBSP ground allspice
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground pork
½ cup flour
¾ cup chicken broth
¼ cup vegetable oil, or as needed
½ cup heavy cream (see recipe for dairy-free heavy cream below this recipe)

In a small sauce pan, heat the milk until it just begins steaming.  Remove from heat and gently press bread into the milk.  Set it aside to soak while you begin the meatball mix.

Using the large holes of your cheese grater, grate the gouda into a large bowl.  Add the parsley, onion, eggs, salt, peppers, and allspice.  Combine these ingredients.  Add the ground beef, ground pork, and milk-soaked bread.  Use your hands to mix until they are well blended.

Form into balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  I will admit, I tried to do them this size, but the more I made, the bigger they got!  Roll each ball in flour until completely coated and set aside.  


Once all balls are made, heat oil in a large skillet.  Also begin heating the broth in a large Dutch oven.  It will seem like you need a lot more broth.  You don't.

When oil is heated, add some of the meatballs.  Sear, browning on all sides.  You will need to stir or shake the pan to accomplish this.  

Once meatballs are browned, move them to the Dutch oven.  Continue process until all meatballs are browned.  Allow meatballs to cook in the Dutch oven, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.  Add the heavy cream and cook until it is warm. 

Serve over egg noodles garnished with finely chopped parsley.

To make dairy-free heavy cream you need:  
Coconut Milk (high fat content)
powdered sugar
vanilla extract

Refrigerate the coconut milk for about an hour.  Pour it into a medium size mixing bowl.  Add 2-3 TBSP of powdered sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla (these amounts vary depending on your taste).  Whip on medium until slightly fluffy.  Refrigerate until you need it.

Lusikkaleivat aka Spoon Cookies (original recipe from Food Network)

You need:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance as it is Dairy-Free)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch fine salt
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
berry jam
powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 325 F.  Next, melt the butter in a small sauce pan.  The original recipe says to cook it until the butter starts to brown and have little bits in it (abt 15 minutes).  This didn't work quite as well with the Earth Balance sticks, but after about 15 minutes, it did start to get darker and have a nuttier smell.  Set it aside to cool.

Gently whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in another medium bowl.  Whisk in the egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla into the cooled browned butter.   Pour the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix until you get a crumbly dough.  Use a soup spoon and scoop the dough into the spoon.  Use the side of the bowl to pack in the dough and flatten the side.  Remove from the spoon carefully and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone liner or parchment paper.  Make sure to form an even number of cookies, since you will be turning them into sandwiches.

Bake at 325 F for about 15 minutes or until the cookies appear golden brown. 

Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 15-20 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.  Once they have completely cooled, spread some jam on 1/2 the cookies and place the other cookies on the top, creating a sandwich.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

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