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18: Cloudberries & lingonberries (& candy apple)

18 december, 2013

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Today´s bauble inspired cupcake is lingonberry and cloudberry flavoured, and topped with whipped cream and a candy apple. I put lingonberries in a vanilla batter and later filled the baked cupcake with cloudberry jam mixed with a little whipped cream. I made the candy apple the same way I did last time, but used really small apples.

As for drinks to accompany Swedish Christmas food I’ve already mentioned julmust. Christmas beer and wine are other options, and of course as with all important holidays in Sweden there will be snaps. Not the sweet peachy or raspberry kinds, but not so easily drunk rough stuff. You can buy plenty of classic and newer stuff, but you can also make your own version by flavouring vodka or brännvin. It’s fun and can be made to look quite artistic. This year I might try making snaps with clementines and cinnamon or fresh figs.

17: Apple & maple

17 december, 2013

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I do love the taste of maple syrup, so here it returns, but this time paired with apple (added to the batter in chunks) rather than fresh figs. Other than that the set up and recipes are the same.

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Yesterday I wrote about bread served with Christmas dinner in Sweden. Another favourite with Swedes alongside vörtbröd is knäckebröd: crispbread. So of course we have special Christmas editions of those too. Like the vörtbröd they’re served with the Christmas food but also eaten at other times during the holidays. Here are two lovely looking varieties.

16: Candy cane latte

16 december, 2013

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I adore candy cane. I associate the flavour and colours very much with Christmas, but this year I haven’t been able to find any vegan candy canes sadly. When I had a look on the internet for how people usually flavour their candy cane baked goods however I realised that many don’t even use them (as I normally do), but prefer other minty ingredients such as pepermint oil. As I think pepermint tends to dominate a little too much I chose mint chocolate, as I wanted to give the cupcake latte flavour too. So I grated some mint chocolate finely and stirred into a vanilla cupcake batter (this, again without the apples) along with some strong coffee (2-3 Tbsp strong coffee, and about 8 squares of chocolate), and then topped the whole thing with whipped cream.

And of course I had to find something other than my beloved candy cane to decorate the cupcake so I had this idea to make a candy cane resembling Swedish style Christmas cracker (with frizzled edges rather than straight, and hung in a Christmas tree rather than given out at the end of the Christmas meal). It turned out possibly the poorest Christmas cracker ever. Oh well. The candy cane latte cupcake was awesome anyway.

As for Swedish Christmas food I’ve taken you through most of my favourites. Alongside the different dishes bread is often served. One kind is vörtbröd, bread with a malty flavour from a byproduct of beer making (I think!) and with raisins. I like it at Christmas but probably wouldn’t eat it during the year even if it was available. Though I might if it didn’t have raisins. Here is how to make your own vörtbröd (in Swedish).

15: Banoffee

15 december, 2013

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Today’s cupcake has a not very Christmassy flavour at all, but was none the less lurvely – possibly the tastiest in the calendar so far (mind you I haven’t actually eaten ALL of them myself. Some have been donated, others given to friends and family). The cupcake bottom was tasty thanks to the toffee (or rather caramel sauce) I folded in, and moist due to the banana slices I put into a regular vanilla batter (the favourite, sans apples). The topping is just whipped cream, and the decorations chocolate shavings and sliced banana. Lovely.

There are loads of dishes at the smörgåsbord style Swedish Christmas table/dinner, many more (traditional or more modern) than my family eats. But very roughly they can be divided into fish courses and meat courses (well, and dessert), where different kinds of fish dishes are usually eaten at the start and meat later during the meal. I haven’t yet touched on the fish here, as the only kind I eat really is sill; pickled herring (which is so much nicer than it sounds). I don’t of course eat fish but we make a more than decent substitute from blanched eggplants. Here‘s how to make vegan sill and a couple of flavour suggestions. We usually make a few different ones: old favourites and some new. The flavour possibilites are endless and it’s fun to experiment.

14: Chocolate, blueberry & liquorice

14 december, 2013

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Today’s cupcake is chocolate with a sprinkling of raw liquorice powder (instead of the cranberries in the the recipe) topped blueberry frosting. As I was making frosting for only this one cupcake I made a simple version. I used my regular white chocolate frosting and flavoured and coloured it by mixing in juice from blueberries until I was happy with the colour.

I’d gladly put loads more salads on my Christmas table than the ones I’ve already suggested in this calendar, one with red cabbage and one with fresh kale for instance, and maybe I will. I quite fancy this apple and roasted hazelnut salad too though and will definitely try that soon. Both apples and hazelnuts are nice and Christmassy and go lovely together.

13: Saffron & lingonberries

13 december, 2013

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Saffron is a classic Christmas flavour here, as in many other countries I’m sure. I actually don’t like saffron all that much and normally only eat it in Lucia buns (here is a great vegan recipe for those, in Swedish and English), which are eaten in loads over the nation today: Lucia day. Follow the link for more on Lucia, the day Swedes (not all of us thankfully..) get up really early and dress up in a white gown, and bearing candles, go off to sing Lucia and Christmas carols to people who are barely awake. And serve them glögg, lucia buns, gingerbread cookies and possibly coffee as compensation. A very cozy tradition if you ask me despite the early wake up. Lucia buns are not eaten only on Lucia, thankfully because I do love these buns.

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But buns are not what this advent calendar is about, so in honour of Lucia I made a saffron cupcake, or rather a saffron-lingonberry cupcake. I topped it with some gingerbread cookies (alright, a whole tree of them) as that is another classic lucia flavour, as mentioned before.

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I made this cupcake by simply adding ground saffron and whole fresh lingonberries to a vanilla cupcake batter. I used this recipe (less the apples), which is my favourite at the moment. The snow/frosting is whipped cream.

I also made the gingerbread cookies myself, using the recipe linked to yesterday, only without the almonds as I wanted to be sure they stackaed up straight. Not sure they did after all..

12: Gingerbread & chocolate

12 december, 2013

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Did I mention I loove gingerbread? I love the fragrant spice mix and gladly put it into anything, including obviously, cupcakes. The Classic is of course the gingerbread cookie, which we eat a lot of in Scandinavia/Sweden during November and December, especially for Advent and Lucia (on December 13). I made my own dough this year (it’s pretty cheap to buy and readily available) and chose to make a kind that is traditionally cut with a knife rather than with cookie cutters. I even out almonds in them. Here is one Swedish gingerbread cookie recipe (in English).

Today’s cupcake is, as you might have guessed, also gingerbread flavoured: like these, only with chocolate chips added rather than lingonberries. Same frosting too.