Christmas is at the corner, no one can remain indifferent to such a magical and wonderful atmosphere. The decorations, the lights, the smells, the gifts, Family, friends, typical X.mas meal, X.mas sweets and delicatessens.
In my many different cultural experiences, one that I cherish the most is my period in Finland or as they call it there SUOMI. Finland is a magical land, for me coming from warm Algarve (Portugal), Finland was like another planet. I was in paradise. Wonderful nature, lakes, pristine landscapes and a very pragmatic population. Finns are at first glance cold, shy folks, but once you come to know them they can become your best friends for life.
So, my contribution for the festivities is the typical Finnish gingerbread cookies (pipparkakut). You can prepare simply the cookies or for the bold ones you can try building the house. I have done it together with my kids and they have loved it. We managed to prepare, both the cookies and a house. Now at home, not only we have a wonderful gingerbread smell but also a beautiful gingerbread house that creates a magical Christmas feeling.
Our neighbour’s loved it and ask us when we will eat it. Hope that you will enjoy it.
Here's the shopping list:
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark molasses
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons baking soda
5 cups all-purpose flour
Suggestion: Mix all spices and leave it to rest in a dry container for a period of time.
Step 1) Combine butter, sugar, molasses and spices in a saucepan.
Step 2) Over low-medium heat, stir ingredients constantly until ingredients look like they are about to boil.
Step 3) Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Step 4) Allow sugar mixture to cool to room temperature.
Step 5) Stirring occasionally might help speed up this process.
Step 6) Stir eggs into cooled sugar mixture.
Step 7) Sift flour and baking soda together and add to sugar mixture.
Step 8) Mix well.
Step 9) Roll dough into a ball.
Step 10) Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours or overnight.
Step 11) Split dough into 2 parts; Roll dough about 1/4-inch thick on a clean, floured surface.
Step 12) Cut into desired shapes.
Step 13) Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for about 7-8 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Step 14) Cookies can be left plain, or decorated with pipped icing.
Step 15) NOTE: This makes a crisp cookie, pay attention to the cooking as cookies tend to burn easily.
Step 16) For the house, cut the dough into shapes (roof, walls, floor, trees, Santa, etc) and glue them together with hot caramel.
Season greetings and Bon Apetit
Chef Gourmet Du Art