Any of the four Sundays of Advent is a perfect excuse for putting together your own party.
We've passed the third of advent (For a quick intro to these important days in Sweden, see 'Första Advent' - First day of Advent), and though that may be a scary thought it’s also the perfect excuse for arranging an informal “glögg party”. You don’t need much, really. Lussekatter and “pepparkakor” (ginger snaps) and glögg of course. Add to that some Christmas music and candles and you’re set. Remember that less is more, so leave complicated flower arrangements and Christmas decorations for later, a glögg party doesn’t need it anyway. Culling from our favorite recipes, we found the absolute best recipes for “pepparkakor” on Ebba von Sydow’s blog (which you can find here: http://blogg.svt.se/ebba/) and lussekatter. Below is also a quick and easy glögg recipe.
Yields: 36 buns
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Raising Time 75 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes
1/4 tsp saffron
2/3 cup butter
1 ¾ cup milk
50 grams of fresh yeast
¾ cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
6 ½ cup all purpose flour
Raisins for decorating
Egg white to be brushed on before baking
Use a mortar to grind the saffron to textured powder. Melt the butter and add the milk, making sure that the mixture is a little bit warmer than lukewarm (98 F) and add to a bowl.
Then crumble the fresh yeast into little pieces and add. Then add the rest of the ingredients, adding the flour a little bit at a time until the dough is loosening from the bowl. It should stick together nicely without sticking to the bowl.
Let the dough rise in its bowl (cover with kitchen towel) for about 45 minutes.
Add the dough to a working area (countertop, large table). Knead it lovingly and start rolling it out with a rolling pin. Cut strips of dough, about 10″ long and ½ ” in thickness, and shape it by rolling it between your hands into a sausage. Alternatively just take a piece of dough and roll it into the above mentioned proportions. Form traditional Lussekatter by creating two opposite spirals. Let the Lussekatter rise for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 440 F.
Decorate each individual spiral with a raisin in the middle and brush with beaten egg.
Bake the Lussekatter in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 440F.
Looking for a quick and easy intro to a Swedish Christmas? – take a look at ‘God Jul - Recipes for a Swedish Christmas’ The book offers all of the traditional dishes, translated for the American home and modified to fit today’s lifestyle. 72 beautifully photographed and inspiring recipes covering herring dishes, cold fish dishes, cold meat dishes, vegetarian dishes, hot dishes, cheese & bread and of course yummy desserts.
Skurna pepparkakor (cut ginger snaps)
1 cup sugar
200 g butter
0.5 cup molasses
2.5 cups flour
peels of two lemons (grated)
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoon cloves (ground)
1 Tablespoon ginger (ground)
1 teaspoon ground bitter orange peel
1 Tablespoon cardamom
1 Tablespoon baking soda
Around ¾ cup peeled/blanched almonds
Melt the butter in a pot along with the molasses and the sugar. Remove from heat and let cool somewhat. Stir in all the spices. In a bowl mix flour and baking soda, and add to the batter. Also stir in the almonds. Shape the dough into long “sausages” or rolls and put into the fridge (if you plan on making ginger snaps within the next week) or the freezer (if you want them later). Take out when you need, cut as many as you need and bake of a sheet of baking paper for around 7 minutes in 390 F.
4 oz vodka (or whiskey or cognac)
5 cinnamon sticks
1 piece ginger
1 teaspoon crushed cardamom pods
1 piece bitter orange peel
Put the alcohol and the spices in a can with a lid and let it sit in the fridge over night. Shake the can a few times. Then let the mixture pass through a coffee filter, this will give you a golden-colored liquid. Heat this liquid along with one bottle of inexpensive red wine (not too strong and definitely not too rich), 1.2 cups sugar and (if you can get it) 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar. Serve the glögg hot with blanched almonds and raisins.
There are as many glögg recipes as there are glögg makers... so don't be shy when you make your own. Here are a couple of the other easy-to-make recipes we've collected through the years - one a regular, old-fashioned, one an apple glögg - Glögg Recipes
Also, this year for the first time there's a glögg available in stores, '1889 Geijer Glögg' was introduced, just in time for the Holidays. Check www.geijerglogg.com to see if it's available near you.