Hazelnut Roses

December 19th 2018
Hazelnut Roses

Today, for me, marks the last day of baking the 'syv slag', the seven must bake Christmas cookies that a Norwegian home should have for bringing in the season, ready for unexpected and invited guests alike.  And if like me you have baked the seven or even just one or two, you may have already run out of one variety of cookie already!  I am about to bake my second batch of pepperkake this year and my third of the sugar cookies.  Every year I tell myself to bake bigger batches, you think I would have learnt by now!  Although maybe I should take a leaf out of my mormor (mother's mother) leaf and just say, 'You eat whilst they are here and when they are gone they are gone for another year...'   She was much slimmer than me!

Pepperkaker: Cookie 1
Serinakaker: Cookie 2
Brunne Cookie: Cookie 3
Chocolate Biscotti: Cookie 4
Chocolate Christmas Cookie: Cookie 5
Vanilla Wreath Cookie: Cookie 6

So the last cookie recipe I share with you today is very similar to an old favourite I have shared before but with a slight twist in that, we mix two types of nuts.  You can, of course, use any nut you like and keep it to only just one type if you prefer.  This simple and quick recipe comes from Trine, link below and if you like melt in the mouth and favour a nutty meringue-like cookie, then this is for you... enjoy...

Cookies made using a small star nozzle for piping
You will need:

100g ground hazelnuts
75g ground almonds
150g sugar
2 egg whites
pinch of salt
For the decoration:
whole hazelnuts to decorate
100g chocolate for melting

♥  Preheat the oven to 180 Celcius.
♥  Mix the ground nuts and sugar thoroughly.
♥  In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until very stiff.
♥  Carefully fold in the nuts to the egg whites trying not to lose too much air.
♥  The mixture needs to be stiff enough to hold its own shape but not so stiff that it cannot be piped.
♥  Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a large as possible star nozzle.
Once baked the cookies look more appealing
♥  Pipe directly onto lined baking trays.  Depending on the size of your nozzle either pipe a rose shape or if your star is on the small size pipe in concentric circles.
♥ Bake for 10-14 minutes or until just golden do not overbake otherwise the cookies will become too dry.
♥  As soon as you remove the trays from the oven place a whole hazelnut in the centre of each rose.  Press the nut in firmly to avoid it falling out later.  Leave to cool on the tray for a good five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
♥  Once completely cold, melt some chocolate and dip the underside (or brush the underside) of the cookie.  Allow the chocolate to set by placing the cookie upside down on the wire rack.  I tend to cover only half of the cookies with chocolate bottoms.
♥  These cookies freeze well but place some baking paper between each cookie if you are to freeze.  These defrost in about 15 minutes once removed from the freezer and will keep for 3 months.

Hazelnut Roses without chocolate bottoms

This lovely cookie recipe comes from one of my favourite Scandinavian cooks, the Danish Trine Hahnemann, do pop over and see her recipe and cookie:  Trine's Hazelnut Roses

It was hard to show you that the cookies had chocolate
underneath, so I turned them upside down!

Cookie number 6, Vanilla Wreaths
and Cookie number 7, Hazelnut Roses

   Seven cookies now baked for Christmas 

Vanilla Wreath Cookies

December 18th 2018

Today I share with you the penultimate of the seven cookies that I will be baking for a 
Vanilla Wreath Cookies
Norwegian Christmas.  These vanilla based cookies are not dissimilar to shortbread, the difference being they are thinner and therefore really melt in the mouth and are very quick to make, only seven minutes in the oven!

I do so hope the Advent time has been a joyful one for you all and that you are taking time out to enjoy.  As each year passes I become less stressed and think what will be will be.  I make and do that which I enjoy and no more.  These cookies are made most years and are truly one of the seven traditional cookies made by most Norwegian or if not made then bought.  These along with pepperkaker epitomise the Norwegian coffee table at Christmas. So let's get baking if you fancy it...

Vanilla Wreath Cookies ~ makes about 40-50

You will need:

2 vanilla pods
Divide the dough into sections
175g plain flour
125g sugar
pinch of salt
200g butter, straight from the fridge
100g ground almonds
1 egg yolk

  Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
  Rub in chopped butter with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  Split the vanilla pods and scrape out the seeds and add to the mixture along with the ground almonds.
  Add the egg yolk and using your hands' mix to form a dough. Kneading in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes.
  Wrap in cling film and chill for a minimum of two hours or preferably overnight, but it is not necessary.
  Preheat oven to 200 Celcius.

Form sausage shapes before
making them into wreaths
From the sausage lengths form circle shapes

  Either roll out the dough or using food processor attachment with a star-shaped nozzle make sausage length of about 6 cm long and a diameter wide.  NOTE:  I tried piping these with a piping bag once, it does not work, so either roll out, use the food kransekake) then use that.  I also mark out the dough into sections to give me an idea of how many each portion should give me, to try and keep it the same size.  I divided mine hereinto 8, so I hoped to get 6-7 out of each section.
processor method or if like me you have a
metal piping contraption (used for piping
  Shape each sausage length into a flat circle like wreath, see the photograph.
  Place on  lined baking sheets.
  Bake for 7 minutes or until very lightly golden.
  Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.  Although I doubt they will last this long.

Eat and enjoy, bet you have more than one!

  What preparations do you enjoy doing for Christmas?   


December 17th 2018

Glass cocktail stirrer
The art of glass entered my life a few years ago and I can honestly say it has brought me joy.  From
the first scratchy cut on the glass to opening the kiln to see what the heat has done to my simple creations, there is nothing, nothing that I do not like about it.

Despite not having really made much this year, the Christmas spirit began to seep into me through the fusing of glass, from looking and searching out ideas, to sketching some thoughts down on paper and then tweaking the ideas once I began to cut has been so much fun.  Want to see my little creations?

The first Christmas haul included 'nisse' and some trees

From the three nisse in the kiln to before firing, look what the heat did...

I made little heart tokens in all shapes and sizes, some to hang, some as little pebbles and a few as stitch markers too.

Hanging hearts with frit and wire

Pebble token hearts with copper and
heart stitch markers

I made glass for the talented Kim at Little Hearts who has two cats, this was my version of her feline friends...

Cats in glass

And then I made some Christmas tree cocktail stirrers, before firing...

Cocktail stirrers in glass before firing

Christmas tree cocktail stirrers made in glass

A glass tree in tack fusing to give some texture
My husband is not kind to his cufflinks and losing them or treads on them, who knows what he does to them, so this year, he will have four almost identical pairs!

Glass boat cufflinks

Then finally we came upon the idea of trying to slump some bottles and see what that would do...

I added some copper hearts to one and thick
kiln paper in the bottleneck to keep the opening

Look closely you can see how I am trying to
keep the neck open so it will not fuse shut

It worked!  Fused bottle with an open neck so I could add flowers!

Can you see how the bottle has become flat!

Now if you will excuse me, I think I may go drink a few glasses of something so that I may make some more glass presents out of bottles... hic...

  Have you decided to make any presents this year? 

Scandinavian inspiration

December 16th 2018

Today is the third Sunday in Advent and as we light the candle and ponder all that still needs to be accomplished I hope you find time to be still and enjoy.  With that in mind rather than perusing a magazine or reading a good book, why not follow the links I am sharing with you today from some wonderful Scandinavians that I follow for one reason or another...

Just a few of the Instagram pages I follow, do go and ooh and ahh at the photographs.

Danish crochet inspiration  

Norway's largest food website

Daytona ~ Norwegian descendant living in USA, food and rose painting

Elin ~ beautiful Swedish interiors

Vibeke ~ from my neck of the woods in Norway wonderful interior

Some of the Scandinavian blogs I follow:

Nikki, living in London but full of Scandinavian treats

Kim from Denmark, mostly food

Daytona's blog Outside Oslo

These are just a small selection but ones I thought may interest you now leading up to Christmas.  Today we are having a family outing as we do every year, more on that in a day or two.  for now have a wonderful Advent day whatever you are doing my friends.

♥  Happy 3rd Sunday in Advent ♥

Chocolate Christmas Cookies

December 15th 2018

Fancy an uber quick chocolate cookie fix?  This is not your traditional Norwegian Christmas cookie but then Ella, my daughter is not the biggest fan of cardamom and cinnamon spices, so to please her too we branch out and add in a little chocolate here and there.  

They are very quick and if you are organised can whip them up in a mere half an hour from beginning to end, possibly even as quick as twenty minutes...

Christmas Chocolate Cookies

You will need:

300g plain flour
3 eggs
200g Nutella
150g sugar

  Mix all the ingredients together.  The mixture will be a thick consistency and quite gooey.
  Using two teaspoons, place a small dollop onto lined baking sheets, spacing them apart as they will spread a little.  If you like you can smooth them down a bit to be less 'risen'.  I made half of the batch with smooth tops and half left as I 'dolloped' them.  
  Place in a pre-heated oven of 200 Celsius for approximately 10 minutes.
  Cool on a wire rack and enjoy.

These are Moorish and will fulfil any chocolate craving and the children LOVE them!

The Nutella was just scooped out of the jar.  Can you see
I made theme early in the
morning, look at the morning light streaming in

The mixture is sticky 

These are the smoothed out batch

These were the ones left and not smoothed out

The mixture should make about 24 Christmas Chocolate Cookies

  So far I have made 5 of the 7 Christmas cookies, 
have you made any? 

A Winter Walk

December 14th 2018

This year has been tough on both the physical and mental level.  I am a strong person and have been rocked by the fact that I could nose dive into my own deep dark thoughts.  In an effort to combat these and to return to my previous almost half a century-year-old self of being a bubbly, enthusiastic glass half full person I have begun walking and breathing in the fresh air on a daily basis and trying to live a little more slowly and take time out for me.

As I begin to advance in years and the children leave home, looking after myself and making 'me' the priority is possible.  And do you know what?  I am learning to enjoy it.  I am one of life's givers and I flourish on helping my family and friends but I think maybe I burnt out.  This is my time to look after me.

And I promised myself that the Christmas season would be no different to the past year, walking and taking things slow, care to join me on one of my walks earlier this week.  I think wherever you live there is something to look at and see, be it in a busy city or out in the rural wilderness.  I live somewhere in between and it suits me well...

On my walk, I spied several lovely wreaths and all so different...

And look how stunning some of the house features are:

Decorations are taken seriously:

And if you are a walking detective you can spy some very unusual features over the garden wall:

Nature even in the depths of winter has beauty:

Structural features of interest:

And from me to you on this sunny but cold winter's day:

  Be kind to yourself, you deserve it