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 🙂
I prepared a traditional gløgg and an non-alcoholic gløgg
Both equally flavorful and delicious.
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.
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 cardamom seeds
Heat it up and put it aside to work.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
300 g of butter
300 g of raw sugar
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)
Now roll them into little balls like this
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!
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.
Let them know it’s Christmas!