I don’t like green Christmases. They’re not green—they’re just nasty faded browns and grays.
L. M. Montgomery
I’m baking this year as well, but here is a look back to previous Decembers.
French Christmas Sablés (I admit I had my concerns of the flavour, but they grew on me as I ate. When I had guests, these biscuits disappeared very quickly.)
Jewish cakes (Always a big hit)
Jussi Björling’s Swedish version of O Holy Night.
It’s December 13, or Saint Lucia’s day today. What better day to make Lucia buns? The recipe has been translated and adapted from this one.
50 g yeast
500 ml milk
150 g butter
250 g quark cheese
2 dl sugar
0.5 g saffron
0.5 tsp turmeric
1.6 liter all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 tbsp milk for brushing before baking
The text mentions lighting a thousand Christmas candles. In Norwegian the words lys (light) & hus (house) can be replaced somewhat in lyrics like these for rhyming purposes, resulting in funny songs around the Christmas table. Or that might just be my family.
A candle is burning, a flame warm and bright;
A candle of Hope in December’s dark night.
While angels sing blessings from heav’n’s starry sky
Our hearts we prepare now, for Jesus is nigh.
Gingerbread became a bit controversial in Norway last Christmas. Mainly because it is called pepperkake (i.e. pepper cake) and a lot of the recipes don’t contain pepper. Hence, it is linguistically wrong.
We’re a small country. We like to argue about things like this.
In English, the ginger is very clear in the recipes, and the name. But is it a bread, really? Here it doesn’t matter, because it is an ice cream.
Silliness aside. I wanted to try to incorporate Christmas flavours into ice cream, and did some googling for recipes. I found this Gingerbread Ice Cream from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. It’s actually the first hit when I search for Gingerbread ice cream recipes.
The minute I tasted the base, and smelled it as it heated up – I understood why. It definitely spread the scent of gingerbread in my house. (I may also have licked the various utensils before washing them, and they definitely had the taste of gingerbread dough. Not that I ever eat gingerbread dough.)
My Dad, who usually does not eat gingerbread, came back for seconds on this.
I have changed the proportions a bit, and gone for light syrup instead of molasses, since I can’t find that here.
It is a rather time consuming recipe, in terms of waiting for things to infuse, to cool, and having to cool the base overnight, but as this is time you can use for other things… The active parts of the recipe does not take much time.
Ikea in December is a dangerous place if you’re trying to be healthy.
They have a gingerbread and gløgg-stand every five minutes, and even if you just ate… You will be inspired enough to partake in goods from all of them.
This is Oslo Gospel Choir singing one of the newer traditional Christmas carols.
Tine Thing Helseth on trumpet performing Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker.
Dinner for one is traditional “Little” Christmas Eve, ie. December 23, watching in Norway. It airs around 8 o’clock in the evening. And it is almost always as fun each year to watch them toast and the stumbling of the butler.
In other parts of Europe, it airs on New Year’s Eve.
Marit Larsen, Kråkesølv and the Norwegian Broadcasting Channel’s version of Vi tenner våre lykter. The song is from the television advent calendar, Jul i Skomakergata, which was very popular in the 1980s and 1990s, and I would estimate that quite a lot of 20-30 year olds in Norway know this song. The original behind the cut.
For my work computer, I tend to use Chocolate & Zucchini’s delicious-looking monthly desktop calendars. I get tons of nice comments on them from co-workers who stop by, and they’re absolutely droolworthy. I get in a better mood just by looking at them.
Unfortunately, they rather fell a victim to the Norwegian butter shortage, as I only had 100 g of real butter left, and the recipe calls for 280 g. I substituted with margarine. (My local stores have been empty of real butter for about a month now.)
I do think that affected the flavor of the cookie. Also, it wasn’t as sweet as I thought it would be, and at one point I considered using royal icing to decorate my stars, however, the flavor as it was grew on me.
I also had some co-workers over, and served these, along with the rest of this year’s production of Christmas cookies.
I am not wrong when I say that these disappeared the quickest from the serving plate, and I had added a good pile of them.
I would definitely consider making this again, but I might halve the recipe as it yields quite a lot. Especially as I like to try out making loads of different cookies for Christmas.
For a long time, we used the pre-made Gingerbread House-sets. My mother does not care for melting sugar to the point of caramel to glue gingerbread pieces together, and having a pre made set made the process easier. She just delegated it to us.
My sisters and I have talked for a bit about making a gingerbread house from scratch, and to make it look like our cabin in the mountains.
The Saltbox House pattern we started with doesn’t quite resemble the cabin, but moving the door around, and not having any windows on the largest piece of gingerbread helped.
Due to an extreme amount of dough, we ended up making two gingerbread houses – so now one is residing with my parents and another one came home with me. Check out the pictures below.