Baker’s ammonia or ammonium carbonate, as its correct name is, is the cat pee smelling secret of Norther European baking. In Sweden it’s called hjorthornssalt, which literally means, ”deer horn’s salt”, hinting at how it used to be produced. Nowadays the process is synthetic, but it’s still a peculiar ingredient. Being a leavening agent, you don’t want any of it left when the bake is finished. This is where the cat pee smell comes in. As the baker’s ammonia turns to gas, a sharp smell of ammonia fills the kitchen. This is the ammonia doing it’s thing, turning the dough in to the most beautiful porous texture.
The Dutch use it for speculoos, the Germans for lebkuchen, The Swedes use it for lots of things, among them mandelkubbar, and, the focus of this post, drömmar! Drömmar means ”dreams” in Swedish, and as a Swede, I can say that I dream about these sugar cookies frequently. Here’s how they’re made (and yes, we’re going metric here folks):
Drömmar Recipe (ca 60)
200 grams of butter
1,5 dl sugar
1,5 tbsp vanilla sugar
0,5 tsp baker’s ammonia
0,5 l flour
Mix together room temperatured butter with the sugar. Mix the baker’s ammonia in to the flour, or dissolve it in a few drops of water, and combine the rest of the ingredients with the sugar and butter. Roll the dough in to little balls and placer them on a baking sheet covered in parchment. Bake at 300° for approximately 20 minutes, or until they look kind of like the picture above. Let cool, and try not to eat all in one sitting. If you succeed, you are a stronger person than I am.