Recipe for Fattigman, or Poor Man Cookies

Scandinavian Poor Man Cookies
Fattigman cookies, quickly fried and sprinkled with sugar. photo ©Kari Diehl, licensed to
Ratings (22)
  • Total: 65 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 48 cookies (24 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
535 Calories
58g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Scandinavia is known for its delicious sweets. One of those is fattigman, or poor man cookies. Although they are made of almost the same ingredients as Goro, Norway's "affluent" cookies, poor man cookies are quickly fried rather than baked on an elegant cookie press. Add these to your holiday cookie baking for a whole new taste experience.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup baker's sugar, superfine
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped into stiff peaks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • Garnish with vanilla sugar or powdered sugar

Steps to Make It

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 flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt.

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 board to a thickness of 1/8 inch.

Using a fattigman cutter or a pastry cutter, cut the dough into diamond shapes about 1 1/4 inch wide by 3 1/2 inches long. If you're 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-inch slash in the middle of each diamond. Twist one corner of each diamond up through the center slash to make a knot.

Heat 2 inches of vegetable or canola oil in the bottom of a heavy pot to 375 F. 

Drop in the pastry knots and fry them until they are golden brown, turning occasionally.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle the cookies with vanilla sugar or powdered sugar and serve immediately (Note: If you're preparing the cookies ahead, store them in an airtight container without sprinkling with sugar. Warm them in a low oven before serving and then sprinkle with the sugar).