The time of anticipation before Christmas is perhaps my favourite time of the year.
It´s a bit colder outside, so its legit to snuggle up in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and freshly bakes goods.
Perhaps it´s all the exciting aromas that fill our homes this time of the year as we bake with cinnamons, orange peel, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and cardamum to name a few.
They all leave such a festive perfume that lingers for hours after the last treat has been devoured.
That´s right, that time of the year, I don't daintily pick at my salad, I devour and indulge, and I do so quite shamelessly.
In happy strides I bake and eat and repeat.
But then January comes along, the christmas tree has lost its glow, decoration is being carefully wrapped and placed back in its box and put back in storage to rest until next year.
Luckily, where I´m from, Norway, winter is all about comfort for, and mother´s continue to bake, so kitchens all across the land still smells of lovely spices.
My beloved mother used to bake cinnamon rolls on particularly cold days, so when I cam home from school a bit frozen and a bit tired, I´d sprawl out on the heated floor as soon as she opened the door.
I´d lie there and defrost while she pulled my heavy winter boots off asking me about my day at school.
All I remember was the heat from the floor slowly warming by back, gentle hands lovely warming my feet and heavenly smells of baked gods that every now and then would make my nostrils vibrate with delight and anticipation.
Later in life as I began traveling to Stockholm on wee road trips with my friends I discovered cardamom knots, and feel in love...with the knots and possibly the handsome Swedish baker that had made them.
Many a trip was made across the boarder.
Even if the festive glow of the Holiday season may have been packed and stored in the magical box labeled Christmas and been put back in the loft, January need not be as grey and dull as it might seem in comparison to the colourful December.
With a bit of Cinnamon and Cardamom, some kneading and a bit of sugar, these little knots will get you through any cold winter day.
And may I suggest, to light the fire and put the kettle on as well...just saying...
Wishing you all a happy New Year, hoping it will encourage you to be brave, find happiness in the small things surrounding us daily, or as my beloved mother always say, make/bake something to be happy about.
After all our next great adventure might just be a hop and a skip away, and when it arrives, I´ll be ready...with a bag of freshly baked cardamom knots and an open heart...
Cardamom and Cinnamon knots
(Ca 25 knots)
6 dl milk
1 farm fresh egg
200 g white caster sugar
( I usually infuse my sugar with half a pod of vanilla left in the jar, so all my sugar has a hint of vanilla)
1 kg white all purpose flour
150 g salted butter (room temperature)
50 g dry yeast
2 tea spoons freshly ground cardamom (from about 25 cardamom pods)
Use a mortar and pestel.
150 g butter (room temperature)
100 g white caster sugar
4 table spoons cinnamon
1 farm fresh egg for egg wash
A handful of pearl sugar (optional)
Mix flour, salt and cardamom in a big mixing bowl.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan till it has skin temperature, test it with a drop at the back of your hand, if you feel nothing its the right temperature.
In a small mixing bowl, or simply use the small saucepan but remove it from the heat source, mix the milk with the yeast, egg and sugar and stir till it´s all mixed evenly.
When the above yeast mixture is dissolved, add it to the middle of the flour mixture and combine gently, kneading it into a smooth bought.
This dough needs a bit of TLC, so kneading it well is an important aspect of making sure the buns become as smooth and light as possible.
Add a bit more flour if you have to.
Add the butter and keep kneading for about 5-10 min.
When smooth and elastic, cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm corner of the kitchen for about 1 hour.
Mix the filling on a bowl and have a spatula ready.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough out like a rectangle, ca 1/2 cm thick, on a flat surface with a sprinkle of flour so the dough won´t stick.
Slather on the cinnamon, sugar and butter filling on one half on the rectangle and fold the other half over where you have the mixture.
Fold again and part the dough up with a knife into
Cut ribbons of ca 6mm width.
Twist in create a knot, don't take this aspect too seriously, every knot is different to me too, and in the end that is what makes it fun.
Place all your knots on a baking tray on baling paper, cover with a kitchen towel and let the rise in a warm place for about 25 min.
Pre heat the oven to 250 C
Which one egg in a little bowl with a fork and brush over each knot after they have risen and are ready to go in the oven.
Bake for 5 - 7 minutes.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
Serve warm straight out of the oven, with or without a sprinkle of real sugar.