Sweeten Your Week with a Special Recipe from Erica Ashton’s Family to Yours
This week’s featured dish echoes, both, Chef Jon Ashton’s “cookie of the day” served whenever he sails with Crystal and warm memories from his wife, Erica’s (you know her as Mrs. Spielberg) family heritage. As we are all one Crystal Family, Erica’s family recipe is now your family recipe and the perfect sweet complement to any holiday feast. Here, Erica Ashton shares how some of her sweetest childhood memories have blended with some of her favorite travel memories, as we prep our pantries for Grandpa Schultz’s Swedish cookies.
EA: Grandpa Schultz made the best Swedish cookies, a recipe passed down from my Swedish great grandmother over 125 years ago. These almond flavored cookies bring back warm memories of my childhood growing up in Connecticut. Each batch was prepared with love and a lot of butter. It’s a Christmas recipe that keeps our family connected, although we all live miles apart. When I met and fell in love with Jon, I asked him to try and replicate the recipe. Jon took on the task with full gusto and instantly was mesmerized by the buttery crumb and almond goodness. Although our family mostly makes these cookies at Christmas, my grandpa loved to bake and send me fresh batches of cookies throughout my life whether it was a care package at camp or a surprise sent to my dorm room at school. Jon and I love baking these cookies and delivering them to our local fire and police departments to thank everyone for their service. We also love to make them and share with our friends and neighbors.
When Jon is on board Crystal Serenity or Crystal Symphony, he always makes a cookie of the day and Grandpa Schultz’s cookies are always the most requested! I remember being stopped at two different airports in the U.S., where Crystal guests spotted us and yelled, “Cookie Chef!” I can imagine my grandpa smiles down on us knowing his cookie has been a highlight of travelers’ most wonderful journeys and this one little recipe has brought smiles internationally. Crystal’s own Captain Thomas Larsen, who is originally from Sweden, can’t get enough of Grandpa Schultz’s cookies.
It’s our greatest honor to share this timeless recipe in the hopes it becomes a holiday staple in your home and creates joy in your kitchen.
Check out the recipe below, gather your ingredients and join us for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton this Sunday, December 20 on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen.
Grandpa Schultz’s Swedish Cookies
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) fine sea salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) baking powder
1 bottle (30 ml) Almond extract (1 fl oz.)
3 cups (360 grams) All Purpose flour
1 cup (192 grams) Swedish pearl sugar
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, salt and baking powder on medium speed for about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. The mixture should be smooth but not fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the egg, followed by the almond extract. Turn off the mixer. Add the flour all at once, and with the machine on low, mix just until the flour disappears into the dough. Give the dough a couple of turns with a spatula. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it in half. Shape each half into a log about 1-3/4 inch thick. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Butter or spray a muffin tin.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Using a sturdy knife, trim the ends of the logs if they are ragged, then cut the dough into ½-inch-thick rounds. Dip cookies into pearl sugar and place in muffin tin.
Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes, rotating the tray after 9 minutes, or until they feel firm to the touch and are golden brown around the edges. Transfer the tray to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest for about 10 minutes before carefully lifting them out of muffin tray onto the cooling rack.
Repeat process with the remainder of the dough.
Makes 35 cookies.
Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.