Norwegian Christmas

Today, we’re going to Norway, where Christmas traditions are very important all along the month of December. It’s all about making wreaths, decorating the house and cooking!

My dear friend Birgitte, I’ve already interviewed with her sweet family on Sweet Cabane, is telling us about beautiful Christmas cookies tradition in her country and gives us, at the end of the article, the delicious gingerbread recipe she’s used to making every year in December.

So let’s go to the Norwegian enchanting Christmas world!

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Christmas always starts at Advent for us, when we light the first candle the fourth sunday before christmas-eve. We always try to bake our gingerbread cookies before this Sunday, and we enjoy gingerbread and gløgg (mulled vine – but not the kind with alcohol).  I always start decorating at home before Advent, but in a modest way – with amaryllis flowers, homemade wreaths and stars on the windows. As it gets closer to Christmas, we decorate more. I love to gather moss, pinecones and twigs to use in wreaths and decorations.

The kids have their julekalender (Advent calendar) that they look forward to, one small gift every day until christmas eve. This is something my mother used to make for my sisters and I when we were children. I can still remember that magical moment when the 24 small gifts were all hanging ready (november 30th) to be unwrapped one by one. I hardly slept the night before December first…

One of the last days before Christmas we have a family party at my parents, with my sisters and their family, cousins, uncle and aunts. We eat rice pudding. My mother has added one almond, and the one getting the almond gets a present. Then we’re walking/dancing around the tree, singing christmas carols.

We have an old tradition saying that you have to bake at least 7 sorts, however  there is a dispute about which seven are the traditional cookies.
My grandmother always made at least(!) 15 cookies, in addition to all the other bakeries and food she made.

I always bake cookies, both the traditional norwegian ones and others, different kind of bread and buns and oatcrackers. Homemade marzipan is a must every year. We decorate the marzipan with chocolate and walnuts. We can’t make them to early, because we risk eating them all up before Christmas😉

Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen

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Pepperkaker (gingerbread) recipe : 

They are common in many countries. In Norway we have baked them for over 400 years. As in rest of Scandinavia, we make gingerbreadhouses and decorate the windows and christmastree with hearts and figures. And we eat A LOT through December. I always bake them, so they are ready for the first sunday in Advent.

Here is the recipe that I always use (it’s big, so you can make a house as well as a lot of cookies):

  • 250 g butter
  • 2 dl dark syrup
  • 4 dl sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardemum
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (dried)
  • 1 teaspoon clove
  • 2 dl water
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 13 dl plain flour
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen

Method: melt the butter and syrup. Put the sugar and the spices in a bowl and pour the melted butter & syrup in. Stir well, until the sugar is dissolved. Pull in water and stir well again. Then mix together the flour and baking powder. Put the dough in a thin layer of plastic (the one you use in the kitchen) and put it in the fridge. It should be there at least 24 hours, the best result is when thé dough lies in the fridge for 2-4 days before you make the cookies😊 Bake at 175 °C for 4-6 minutes (or even a bit longer)

Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen
Crédit photo : Birgitte Kiste Johansen

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Many thanks to Birgitte for this lovely tale and the wonderful gingerbread recipe! You can follow her on her beauitiful Instagram. A real escape to Nature! 

See you on Thursday to talk about a lovely brand of thandmade toys I love very much.

Have a very festive week,

Emilie. xx

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