“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”
– Stephen Hunt
There are moments and then there are moments to remember. What an honor to be invited to a Christmas Tree Lighting party. Days before the party, our friends gently remind us that their friend’s party will be held outside. Of course, silly me – trees live outdoors! There is a bitter chill and we soon realize how fast toes freeze. We sensibly huddle by the fire, smoke in my eyes, while balancing grilled bratwurst in brötchen and glühwein in each mitten. Oh the joys of winter!
As we circle around the tree, switching rotation with every new song sung in German, I revel in the moment. The tunes are familiar but the lyrics are not distinct, still a liberating way to celebrate the Christmas season. Most memorable was a woman who sang solo, beautifully in Norwegian. It was so nice that I could hear Odd humming the song as we went to sleep that night.
As the hostess was Norwegian, I thought I’d bring Adventkrans (Advent wreath) for the party. I realize this is best served indoors (and as you know, trees live outdoors) so I changed my mind and reserved it for our own first Advent Sunday at home instead. It is especially delicious warm from the oven with the aroma of cinnamon and cardamom still lingering in the kitchen. I think true Norwegians actually make this on the last Advent Sunday but maybe you’ve noticed *sarcasm* I’m learning to live on the edge.
Adapted from My Little Norway
I used a scale to measure my ingredients in grams, but have included the conversions.
500 g / 17.6 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour + extra, if necessary
100 g / 3.5 ounces / 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
100 g / 3.5 ounces / 0.44 cup butter
3 dl / 300 ml / 1.27 cup milk
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast
sugar, cinnamon and raisins (optional) for filling
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
Divide in 3 equal parts + reserve a little extra for decorative pieces. (If you prefer not to braid, simply roll dough into one log and break off a little piece for decorative pieces. Just follow the next few steps, noting that the log will be larger and wider. Skip braiding step.)
Cover and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200℃/ 392℉. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar if you like. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. (*FYI: I have been using a convection oven so I have turned my oven about 25 degrees lower than suggested temperature above and baked this wreath closer to 30 minutes.)