Wishing you a very happy Christmas time, from our family to yours. See you in the New Year. Peace. XXXX
Thanks for joining in with the giveaway yesterday- I used the random number generator to pick Jen. So Jen, please send me your mailing address and i'll send them express mail.
I also promised a recipe for gingerbread cookies, or pepperkake. To be honest, I feel like a bit of a fraud because I'm no baker, and I'm not even Scandinavian. I think that Christmas baking recipes are probably the sort of thing you pass down in families. This recipe is the one I've used to bake a couple of batches of cookies now. I muddled it together from a plain gingerbread cookie recipe, and asked around to find out what the specific spices should be. Results varied! So the recipe is just how I like the cookies to taste. You could adjust the spices for a different intensity.
Also, it tends to be quite sticky, so lots of flour for sprinkling around while you're working with the dough is advised.
Pepperkake/Christmas spice cookies
3 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp finely ground pepper
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 Tb ground ginger
1 Tb ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground/grated nutmeg
90 gms soft butter
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses or dark golden syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
grated rind of one lemon
icing sugar and lemon juice for glaze/decoration.
In a small bowl, stir together the first group of dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, beat together the second group of ingredients until smooth. Next add the syrup, vanilla and lemon rind. Beat well. Gradually work in the dry ingredients until you have a stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times (you will find the mixture is quite sticky) then wrap it in plastic and pop in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
When ready to bake, break off a piece of the dough (the rest keeps well in a covered container in the fridge for a week or so, if you don't want to use it all right away.)
Roll out the dough (it helps to put flour on the rolling pin, too), cut out shapes and use a flat knife to transfer them to a baking tray. I line mine with waxed baking paper first.
Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for about 5-10 minutes, depending on their thickness.
To make the white icing for decorating, mix some icing sugar with a few drops of lemon juice and mix to a smooth paste. Use a icing set to pipe a pattern on the cookies. (I make one using a triangle of waxed paper and sellotape. :)
I'm taking a short break from my blog while I head south to London. I'm looking forward to catching up with friends, visiting some cafes and galleries and breathing in the big city for a few days.
I'll be back next week with a pepperkake recipe, a christmas giveaway and (I promise!) some replies to emails. Take care. xx
I think we're beginning to acquire some 'family traditions' since being here in Norway. It's hard to resist, being in a place like this, where tradition seems to be an important concept for most families. At first, I found the idea of the en-masse 'søndagstur' (sunday walk) in the country to be rather quaint and smugly self-righteous. It was just something about all those BMW S.U.Vs parked in the forest for their weekly meditation with nature. I wondered if they ever went walking on other days of the week. And yet, nearly every Sunday we've gone for a søndagstur ourselves, albeit without the flash car. And I really like it. I like seeing so many city-people strolling along with rosy cheeks, enjoying the forest and beaches. I'm sure it's a tradition we'll carry on when we return to NZ.