Let them know it’s Christmas …………

I love traditions and Christmas is filled with them. Traditions bring coziness and hygge, comfort and joy.This year there was something missing and I couldn’t quite put a finger on it. Then one day I came in to the kitchen and my daughter had put cloves in to the oranges and the whole kitchen was filled with an intense smell of Christmas and tradition. The smell always reminds me of how my mom stuck cloves in the oranges, put red ribbon around them and hung them in the kitchen windows .

That lead to the idea of making hot wine (Gløgg) or mulled wine. Christmas in our house means a warm glass of Gløgg with marinated raisins and slivered almonds and a handful of pepper nuts or baked œbleskiver. Gløgg and peppernuts/œbleskiver are served  everywhere in Denmark and the smell of spices fills the air and adds to the feel of Christmas.

As I prepared the gløgg and the peppernuts, the smell of freshly baked cookies, cinnamon, cloves, orange and cardamom filled the air – a smell of hygge and old tradition filled the house. I took a deep breath and realized I felt that Christmas had finally and fully arrived 🙂

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I prepared a traditional gløgg and an non-alcoholic gløgg

Both equally flavorful and delicious.

Traditional gløgg

You need to make a flavorful intense essence first – preferably allow it to work its magic by making it hours before you need to use it so the spices come out in full bloom.

You need:

One cup of red wine

1/2-1 cup of brown sugar or raw sugar (depending on how sweet you like your drink)

2  cinnamon sticks

15-20 cloves

15 – 20 cardamom seeds

1 orange

Heat it up and put it aside to work.

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Now marinate the raisins

you need 3/4 cup of raisins

1 cup of port wine

Allow them to stand next to the essence to soak up the port wine and become soft.

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Now make the almonds – don’t buy the bagged slivered almonds – they tend to be dry and have lost their flavor.

1 cup of raw almonds – pour boiling water on them and allow them to stand for 10 min to soak. Drain them and take off the skin – which just pops off and make the almonds go flying around the kitchen easily.

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When you are ready to make the gløgg

add the rest of the bottle of red wine into a pot

along with one orange

pour the essence through a strainer and into the pot.

Add the raisins along with the port and the slivered almonds – and a dash of brandy. Heat it all up.

Serve in glasses with a spoon to scoop up the goodies.

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The non-alcoholic gløgg

You can make this delicious drink with apple juice, elderberry juice, or grape juice and cranberry juice – excellent if you don’t want an alcoholic drink and the kids will love it!

I used grape juice and cranberry juice

For the essence you need:

1 cup of grape juice if you are using apple or elderberry use this to make the essence too

one orange in slices

2 cinnamon sticks

15 cloves

15 cardamom seeds

1/2 -1 cup of raw sugar or brown sugar

Heat it all up and allow it to stand to let all the spices work their magic – at least a couple of hours

Now soak 3/4 cup of raisins in some freshly squeezed orange juice

Prepare 1 cup of almonds as above for the traditional gløgg

When you are ready to make the gløgg –  strain the essence into a pot and add 1 cup of grape juice and  2 cups of cranberry juice. Heat it up, add the raisins and the almonds – see if it needs more sugar.

Serve and enjoy!

Gløgg is always served with treats – traditionally with œbleskirver ( I thought this blog with a delicious recipe for œbleskiver  was pretty cool) ( I know my friend, Somer, at Vegdedout makes amazing vegan œbleskiver)

AND, I made peppernuts another Danish tradition. Little cookies that are eaten in large quantities throughout all of December – by the end of December you sweat you will never eat another peppernut in your life! But in by the end of November the following year you cannot wait for the first peppernuts to come out of the oven!

Peppernuts –

300 g of butter

300 g of raw sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon of ginger

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of cardamom

1/2-3/4 teaspoon of white pepper – ( all depending on how strong you like them)

600g of flour

Mix it all together in a bowl- I use my fingers to make it into the perfect dough. (It takes a little while until that happens – just keep mixing it together with your fingers)

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Now roll them into little balls like this

peppernuts

Place them in a 360F hot oven and bake them for about 12-14 min

Another little treat I made – as filled dates. They are easy, delicious and healthy!

filled dates

I used Medjool dates  and filled them with a little piece of marzipan, topped them with a mix of 50 g of melted  70% dark chocolate and 1/2 cup almond butter.  So to assemble, place a half date, add a small piece of marzipan, a scoop of chocolate mix and place a whole almond on top. A perfect treat.

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Let them know it’s Christmas!

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

In Canada, it’s Thanksgiving, a long weekend and I have been baking little Sugar Pumpkins for the famous and traditional pumpkin pies that I will be making this weekend for Thanksgiving dinner.

This afternoon, I thought that an afternoon Chai tea and a homemade cinnamon roll would be something wonderful! And since the sugar pumpkins were standing there – so beautifully, cooling off,  before going in to the pies, I thought, maybe pumpkin would taste really good in cinnamon rolls? And with Chai tea?

I had extra pumpkin, so what the heck. I gave it a try and 2 cups of blended deliciously baked and beautifully orange pumpkin went straight into my cinnamon dough.

These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls will go in the recipe book – they were so tasty, moist and overly yummy. And they were awesome and perfect with the afternoon Chai tea.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

1 1/4 cup of milk

1 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast

1/2 cup melted butter

2 cups of baked and blended pumpkin

7 cups of flour + a bit more for rolling the dough out

1/2 cup of raw sugar

1 teaspoon of cardamom

1/2  teaspoon of salt

Gently heat the milk with the butter and let it cool slightly before you add the yeast. Dissolve the yeast in the milk/butter, add the sugar and the salt, add the pumpkin – add the flour – a little at a time while stirring – keep adding flour and stirring til you have a perfect dough, i.e., not too sticky – just so that is leaves your fingers when kneading.

Leave the dough under a wet dishtowel or similar to raise for about an hour.

Now make the filling

1 cup of  butter

1/2 cup of raw sugar

3 teaspoons of cinnamon

Soften the butter and add the sugar and the cinnamon – work it into an even paste to spread on to the dough when it has been rolled out.

When the dough have risen for about an hour, add some flour on a clean counter top and pour out the dough – mix with the extra flour until it doesn’t stick to your fingers.

Roll the dough out thinly

Spread the filling out evenly and thinly

and roll the dough lengthwise.

Cut the rolls about 2″-3″ thick) and place them on baking paper and a baking tray. Leave them to raise again for about 1/2 to 1 hr – bake in an 355 F hot oven for about 12-14 min.

Serve with tea – this afternoon, we had Chai tea. My favorite Chai tea in the whole wide world comes from Sky Tea.

Watch Jeni, one of the founders of Sky Tea make the perfect Chai, her award-winning Masala Chai.

Enjoy!

Wishing everyone happy Thanks Giving, where ever you are!