Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Pepperkaker & Mulled Wine

The embers from Bonfire Night have only just died away and Blossom & Bill have already been invited to their first Christmas parties. It's time to take stock and really appreciate friends and family, the things that are important in life.

Blossom & Bill love this time of year. It has a warmth and closeness that is so readily conjured up by all the wonderful aromas and flavours associated with the festive period.

Blossom's first task is to bake two batches of
Pepperkaker, traditional Scandinavian ginger biscuits with secret ingredients. The first batch is to pack into a little box as a gift for the first dinner party and the second is to eat at home with a frothy coffee sprinkled with cinnamon. Meanwhile Bill decants some of his homemade elderflower wine to make bottles of mulled wine to go with the Pepperkaker. Just delicious and really imbue the festive spirit.
You can follow the recipes below but be sure to use freshly ground cardamom pods for the secret ingredient to freshen up the flavours.




We wish you all the best for the season and hope you can avoid all the silly stresses and worries that this time of year can cause.

How to Make Traditional Pepperkaker

Large mixing bowl
Plastic wrap
Large cookie sheets

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teasoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, pepper, cinnamon, salt, cardamom and ginger. Stir in flour 1/2 cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Form dough into a ball; wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll rounded 1/2 teaspoons of dough into 3/4-inch balls. Arrange, 1-inch apart, on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 11-14 minutes or until golden brown on bottom. Cool on wire rack. Cookies may be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for one month.

Makes about 4-6 dozen cookies.

Mulled Wine Ingredients
  • 100g whole blanched almonds
  • 700ml homemade red wine
  • 700ml ruby port
  • 600ml vodka
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • 2 small cinnamon stick
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • 10 cloves
  • the pared zest of 2 large oranges
  • 100-150g golden caster sugar

Method: How to make spiced scandinavian mulled wine

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Cover 100g whole blanched almonds with boiling water and soak for 10 minutes. Drain and slice lengthways into thin shards, then spread out on a baking tray and roast for 6-7 minutes, until golden. Cool. Meanwhile, put 700ml red wine, 700ml ruby port, 600ml vodka, 10 green cardamom pods, 2 small cinnamon sticks, 10 cloves, nutmeg, the pared zest of 2 large oranges and 100-150g golden caster sugar into a large pan and leave over a low heat for 20 minutes – do not let it boil.

2. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Put a metal teaspoon into each glass – this will absorb the heat so that the glass doesn't crack (or use a mug!).

3. To serve, pour the mulled wine between glasses and sprinkle with the toasted almonds and 2 tablespoons raisins.

4. Repeat 3. until feeling festive and full of love for everyone!

Blossom & Bill festive Greeting Cards available from www.isak.co.uk. £10 for pack of 8 assorted cards.

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