Monday, November 28, 2011


fresh dough ribbons


hard work

making shapes


yesterday was spent in my sister's kitchen, ringing in the start of advent with traditional baking and a bit of crafting with three generations of family. for those who don't know, my parents immigrated to canada from denmark in 1970, shortly after they were married. many scandinavian traditions have always been part of my and my two sisters' lives, along with visits from our relatives who all still live in denmark, and trips there occasionally. now with my sisters both having children, it is nice to continue these traditions into the next generation. my niece especially has been learning about her family history through school activities, so when my mom and i talked about meeting up to do some holiday baking together it seemed like a good idea to include my sister and her daughter as well. fittingly, they also live halfway in between my mom and i, so their house made a good congregation point as well.

after a nice lunch prepared by my sister, and including my BIL and my nephew, the boys headed out for some exploring in the woods and we set to work. my mom brought her hefty old meat grinder with the special attachments to grind out the dough for vanillakranse, classic danish vanilla wreaths. my 8-year-old niece had great fun turning the crank of the grinder while my mom caught the long strips of dough coming out. the dough is then cut in shorter lengths and joined in a circle for baking. my niece also found room in her tummy for her fair share of raw dough and finished cookies. these are my sister's favourite, although i have always preferred the second cookies we made: brunkager (yes, that translates to brown cookie).

the closest comparison i could say for brunkager would be gingerbread, but they have citrus zest, cloves and cinnamon for spice. they are rolled out very thin and cut into shapes, and bake up nice and crispy. oh yum, just writing about them makes me want to head into the kitchen for a little snack. normally my mom makes both of these all on her own, so i hope we were a help rather than a nuisance all joining in. then again, very generously, she left us will all the cookies, insisting she would make more at home later. i hope she knows we all appreciated her spending her day with us making goodies to eat.

woven hearts

we also spent a little time making woven heart baskets (flettede julehjerter) - well, mostly my sister and i. hearts are a common motif in danish holiday decorating. these hearts are two halves of folded paper woven together and then a strip glued on to make a hanging basket that can be put on the tree, sometimes with a little treat inside. the trick is to make sure you weave the pieces correctly so the basket can be opened when you are done. i admit it had been a little while since i made one, and very confidently i chose the most complicated template (top heart in photo) to make. i didn't realize until i was done that i'd made a mistake halfway through, so while my sister mocked me (as sisters do) i had to take it apart again to correct it.

the weather was pretty miserable all weekend, but today the sun has peaked out. i think a walk is in order in a little bit. last night A and i went to watch lots of mountain films at the banff film festival and i am starting to get excited for snow season (the local mountain opens next weekend). a little fresh snow this week would be great, but the sunshine in the forecast is also pretty appealing.

thanks for stopping by to 'visit' and hope your week is starting well.


• have you seen the growing indigo blog? so much gorgeousness.


Anonymous said...

you have such lovely traditions, K
I wish my parents had some, but alas, none (or in my heart, "fake" ones - it was more conformism to me, rather than traditions)

joanie said...

What lovely memories and memory making you shared together. It looks wonderful and cozy.

Margie Oomen said...

can't wait to smell gingerbread baking in my kitchen

Rachel said... this post about traditions.

kate said...

I'm digging those heart baskets - lovely.

Rumour has it the mountain opens this week-end now.

Mona said...

True danish traditions - the exact same småkager and julehjerter as here :)
Thank you so much for the link to the Indigo blog!