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Posts Tagged ‘kræmmerhuse’

Hazelnut Truffles

Truffles, small delectable treasures. These particular truffles have toasted hazelnut in them which gives a slight crunch. Of course, hazelnut paired with chocolate is a match made in heaven. You just can’t go wrong. Or can you? Well not with the truffles themselves but I did have quite a bit of trouble with this recipe, but I worked out the kink. The original recipe instructed me to melt the bittersweet chocolate in the microwave, which turned out to be a horrible mess. I think my microwave oven was heating at too high heat. The chocolate would harden up and become unmanageable after just dipping 1/3 of the truffles. So I tried again, but this time melting the chocolate over a water bath which turned out so much better.  And so, in the end everything turned out alright. Now we can finally enjoy these delicious little truffles.

Flettet julestjerne

Danish Christmas Tradition: Juleklip (Paper cut-outs)

Paper cut-outs such as flettede hjerter (braided hearts), kræmmerhuse (cones), angelsChristmas trees and flettede stjerner (braided stars) is a common part of Danish Christmas decorations. They are made by children and adults alike, possibly at home but always in schools planned as a special day of fun with colored paper, glue, scissors and baked goods. These homemade treasures often times end up as an important part of the Christmas Tree decorations.

I first learned to make the braided star as an adult. I meet once a month with other Danish ladies for an evening of stimulating conversation and good food. It was during one of these evenings many years ago that my Danish friend Lise’s husband Bill taught me how to make the braided star. He would make them at any given time of the year and he was very enthusiastic about making them. I now make them every year around Christmas time and they remind me of Lise and Bill, who has since passed away. It’s a happy memory.

Hazelnut Truffle Ingredients

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

1 (11.5 ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate chunks

8 (1 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate squares – chopped

2 cups hazelnut – chopped, toasted and divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (11.5 ounce package) bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cacao)

Directions:

Chop hazelnuts and toast them on a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. Stir often to make sure they don’t burn. Remove nuts from heat.

Place chocolate chunks in a medium bowl. Chop chocolate squares and add to bowl. Bring heavy cream to a simmer and then add the hot cream to the chocolate, stirring well to melt the chocolate. Add vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of the toasted hazelnuts. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator to chill for 1 to 2 hours or until hard enough to keep a shape.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop 1-inch balls from chocolate mixture and roll quickly between hands to smooth edges. Place on prepared baking sheets and refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold and firm.

Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch water to a simmer. Once water is simmering turn heat all the way down to low. Place bittersweet chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl and place over the saucepan, making sure bowl is not touching water. Stir chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Place chocolate ball on a fork and drizzle warm melted chocolate over the chocolate ball to cover. Use a toothpick to help push the truffle off the fork onto to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts and refrigerate to harden.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Chocolate and cream

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Source: adapted from Taste of the South

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Danish Pebernødder

Danish Pebernødder

Pebernødder is a natural part of Christmas in Denmark and there is almost always a small bowl of Pebernødder accompanying the afternoon or evening coffee/tea time. Pebernødder may also be found in decorative paper cones (kræmmerhuse) which are hung on the Christmas tree and pebernødder are also used in Childrens games. Although Pebernødder can be found in practically any store in Denmark, it’s really a fun activity to bake them at home, espically if you have younger children in your household. Baking with your children at Christmas time is an activity that brings closeness and hygge into the home (“hygge” danish word meaning coziness, togetherness, warmth). Kids love rolling the dough into long rolls and cutting them up into bite size pieces, not to mention the added benefit of getting first dips on tasting the cookies once out of the oven. Baking was one of my favorite activities with my parents when I was growing up and they are memories I’ll treasure forever.

Pebernødder is thought to be the oldest Christmas cookie in Denmark and it came, like so many things, from Germany (Pfeffernussen). Directly translated Pebernødder means pepper nuts. In the old days “to pepper” meant to season and they were reffered to as nuts because there was no baking soda back then and so the cookies were hard like nuts. Todays Pebernødder is not hard like nuts but rather crunchy and mildly spicy. Some Pebernødder recipes will have a small amount of white pepper in them, just enough to leave a warm sensation on your tongue, this one does not. This particular recipe is a little milder with a warm cardamom flavor.

Pebbernødder hygge

Pebernødder dough

Pebernødder

Ingredients:

80 gram salted butter (6 tablespoons)

225 gram sugar (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)

1 egg

1 deciliter whipping cream (1/2 cup)

350 gram flour (3 cups) (add more flour if needed to bring dough together)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions:

Preheat oven to 225 degrees C (400 degrees F). Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cardomom and set aside.

In your mixer using the paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add egg and mix. Then add whipping cream and mix. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Remove dough from mixing bowl onto a floured surface. Using your hands bring dough together, adding a little more flour if needed until it holds together and forms a ball. Divide dough into smaller pieces and roll into long rolls measuring the width of your fingers. Cut into 1 1/2 centimeter pieces. Place on baking sheets about 1 inch apart and bake for approximately 12 minutes until just turning golden.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Pebbernødder Christmas parade

Source: Faster Philip

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Sparkling Linzer Stars

Sparkling Linzer Stars

I first saw the Sparkling Linzer Star recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine many years ago. The cookies are so festive and Christmasy and the process of assembling them is a lot of fun.  The recipe calls for both regular flour and whole wheat flour which makes it a little healthier, but I suppose you could just use all-purpose flour if you’re not into that sort of thing. Make sure to use a generous portion of seedless raspberry jam to increase the “delish” factor.

Flettede julestjerne

Danish Christmas Tradition: Juletræet (The Christmas Tree)

The Christmas Tree tradition has very old roots dating back to at least St. Boniface of Geismar, Germany. There are so many variations of this tradition depending on where in the world your located. In Danmark it’s tradition to put up and decorate the tree on Dec 23rd, although a lot of people now wish to put the tree up earlier. My parents would decorate the tree in the evening of the 23rd (little Christmas Eve) after my siblings and I were sent off to bed. The excitement was so intense that I could barely sleep and waking up to see the beautiful tree the following morning was almost magical. Old tradition for the Danish Christmas Tree is to decorate it with live candles, small Danish flags on a string, the children’s homemade braided paper hearts (flettede hjerter), paper cones (kræmmerhuse), braided stars (flettede stjerner) and some glass bulbs. Christmas in Denmark is celebrated on the eve of Dec 24th. The day of the 24th is spent waiting in anticipation, snacking on fruits, nuts and candy. A light but extra delicious lunch. Family oriented Christmas programs are on TV to help pass the time and finally after a spectacular dinner the time has come. It is time to form a circle around the tree, holding hands and sing Christmas hymns and Christmas songs while dancing around the Christmas tree. The tradition of dancing around the Christmas tree dates back to approximately 1830’s and it’s a tradition seen in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. After everyone has lost their breath from singing and dancing it is finally time to open the presents. And so you see, the glorious Christmas tree plays quite an important role to help create Danish Christmas Hygge.

Sparkling Linzer Stars Ingredients

Sparkling Linzer Stars

Ingredients:

1-1/3 cups butter

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

powdered sugar (optional)

Star cutouts

Centers cut out

Seedless Raspberry jam

Directions:

Beat butter in a large bowl on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until well combined. Beat in as much of both kinds of flour as you can, stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll each portion of dough on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Cut into shapes using star cutters (I used a 4 inch and a 1-1/4 inch). Transfer 4 inch cutout cookie dough to prepared cookie sheets. Using the smaller 1-1/4 inch cookie cutter, cut out center from half of the unbaked cookies; remove centers and reroll dough to make more cookies.

Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very light brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, cool.

Spread the bottom of each solid cookie with a generous amount of raspberry jam. If desired, sift powdered sugar over the cookies with the cutout centers and place atop cookies with raspberry jam, sugar side up. Store in covered container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Linzer Stars

Linzer Stars

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

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