Cookies · Pastry

Swedish Sour Cream Twists


‘Tis the season for traditional family recipes. These are twisted with layers of love and mounds of sugar. # 98: Swedish Sour Cream Twists



I usually get my recipes from other blogs or a dive into the depths of google, but occasionally I’ll whip out a family classic. This recipe has been passed down from my great-grandmother Olive Huckabee, but we’re pretty sure she got the recipe from a bag of sugar (brand unknown.)

As for who invented it, good question! I’ve been able to trace that it is originally from Sweden, but there aren’t many more details past that. My mother’s family is from Sweden, and it seems that we adopted a this twisty Swedish pastry recipe as our own holiday classic.



Someone in my family will usually make these once a year and they are delightful! It’s hard to decide if they are pastries or cookies, so I suggest eating 3 or 6 to help you ponder that distinction.

These pastries-in-a-cookie-shape use yeast, but don’t proof in a typical way. Instead of stashing the dough in a warm place, you chill the dough for several hours, and then laminate it with heaps of sugar. They end up with a soft texture, with slightly crispy sugar coating.



These little beauties take a LOT of time. If you’re going to devote the time to one batch, you might as well double it. Or triple it. Or in my case, quadruple it. Yep, that means 12 dozen cookies. (Secret: they freeze really well.) Don’t worry if they’re not all perfectly identical – they are meant to have some personality!



Halfway through the cutting process. I had to use two butter knives since I don’t have a pastry cutter, and they worked beautifully!




Don’t be afraid to use your hands! It’s way easier than trying to wrangle it with a spoon. I did ask my mom about using a stand mixer, but she shot it down. Some things are truly meant to be done by hand.



Lamination, fold #1. Sugar, sugar, everywhere. Don’t try to skimp here; make it snow!



Oh hi there, layers!



All tucked up and ready for the sauna.



Parchment paper is key. When the sugar cools after baking, they’ll be glued to your pan forever.



I added some cinnamon into the sugar for about a quarter of the twists, and my my was it delicious. I’m partial to cinnamon sugar in pastries, but I tried my best not to stray too far from the classic recipe.



Look at that crispy, caramel-y base. *whistles “All About That Bass” quietly to self*



Happy munching!



1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup sour cream
1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar (or more)
2 – 4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Sift flour and salt into mixing bowl. Cut in shortening/butter. (If you don’t have a pastry cutter, two butter knives work just fine.)
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Once it is foamy, add it to the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well with hands.
Cover with damp cloth and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Line several baking pans with parchment paper.
Roll half of the dough on sugared board into a rectangle sized 8″ x 16″.
If you’re using it mix the cinnamon (to taste) in with the sugar.
Do an envelope fold (fold a third towards center, then overlap the last third on top.) Sprinkle with sugar, and roll out again to same size. Repeat twice more.
Roll it out into a long, thin rectangle (4″ wide) and cut into 1″ strips.
Twist ends in opposite directions, stretching dough slightly. Put in shape of horse shape, pressing ends to keep shape.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, until delicately browned. Take from baking sheet immediately or they will stick forever.
Makes about 3 dozen.


5 thoughts on “Swedish Sour Cream Twists

  1. Hi Nicky! My sister and I are about to attempt the sour cream twist recipe of a grandmother that no one else in our family has been able to accurately duplicate! I’ve been doing lots of research and have concluded that her recipe is most like the Swedish recipe even though she was German. She has shortening listed as the only fat source and my family knows she used Crisco, but in light of the fact that today’s Crisco is made differently than it used to be, what fat taste and function most like the hydrogenated Crisco? Any tips you can give me would be greatly appreciated! 🌸 Cristina


    1. Hi Cristina! Great question! I checked with my mother, and she confirmed my theory that we haven’t noticed a difference in the sour cream twists we made before and after the 2007 Crisco elimination of trans fats. I don’t have an alternative, but I can offer you some confidence that today’s Crisco should still produce a yummy pastry. 🙂


  2. Hi Nicky!
    Thank you so much for your response! I was thinking of using the Spectrum brand shortening since it uses palm oil just as the Crisco brand does and I appreciate the quality of their products. Please thank your mother for me! ✨

    Liked by 1 person

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