I’m obsessed with everything Scandinavian (some of you may know that I’ve just written the recipes and contributed some of the food photography for a book called Nordic Style for Viking Cruises along with Liz Jarvis and Sara Malm – super proud!). I especially love how the Scandinavians do Christmas, and, knowing that Homesense often have extra special bits and pieces from around the globe, I headed to my nearest store to find some inspiration for a Scandi Christmas, and a few bits for some special Scandi Christmas cookies.
Diverting my eyes from all the gorgeous, Christmassy homeware (I mean look at these cushions!), I headed straight upstairs to the kitchen and dining section. Actually that’s a bit of a fib, because I hit the candle section first to stock up:
As well as all the kit you need for cooking the Christmas dinner (great baking tins, a huge selection of decent knives, turkey platters, all that jazz), and serving it in style (gorgeous glassware, napkins, plates, and some very pretty candle holders), there are some really lovely, unique festive bits and bobs.
The whole point of Homesense, though, is just that – they’re unique. You need to grab them when you see them. I picked up this cute, Christmassy mug (top), but have never seen another one in all the times I’ve been back. These lush ceramic measuring spoons will be adorning my kitchen (merry Christmas me, love from me):
Plus there’s all sorts of delicious, gourmet food from all around the world. I picked up Dutch Stroopwafels, German Lebkuchen and Swedish cordial, amongst other things!
I also bought an amazing Nordic Ware Bundt tin to make some delicious, Christmas shortbread, plus some copper cookie cutters – basically everything I need for a Scandi Christmas.
Scandi Christmas cookies
The spicing of these cookies is really up to you. If you want to make these truly Scandinavian, add the cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. If you’d rather keep them plain, try a teaspoon of vanilla paste. Either way, this is my favourite cut-out cookie recipe as it keeps its shape really well when baking.
150g caster sugar
225g salted butter
400g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
200g icing sugar
1 lemon, juiced
Preheat the oven to gas 4/180 C.
Using a food mixer (or a bowl and a wooden spoon if you’re feeling strong), cream the sugar and butter until they’re really light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, a little at a time.
Sieve together the flour, baking powder and spices, then with the mixer on low, add them to the mixture and mix just until it comes together into a firm dough.
Flour the work surface and roll out the dough so it’s about 1/2 cm thick (thinner ones will be crisper, thicker will be more like shortbread), then cut out your festive shapes. Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, and bake around 10 – 12 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool while you make up the icing: add just enough lemon juice to the icing sugar to make a very thick icing – be careful, it doesn’t take a lot! Pipe your patterns onto the cookies, then allow to set before serving.
If you want to turn this recipe into Christmas shortbread using either a tin like mine (above) or just a loose-bottomed cake tin, this mixture is enough to make two decent sized shortbreads, so split the dough into two, butter the tin well before pressing the dough firmly into the tin – bake for about 20 minutes.
Do you know what? I’m definitely going back to get those Christmas cushions too.
Thanks to Homesense for my Scandi Christmas shopping haul!