Pepparkakor Recipe

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Pepparkakor_recipe

Pepparkakor (or in Finnish: piparit) are traditional Nordic holiday cookies which are somewhat similar to gingerbread though the main spice isn’t ginger, but rather cinnamon.

The dough is based on spiced caramel and has quite “waxy” texture when uncooked, and it’s the recipe that I use each year.

Pepparkakor recipe

125 grams (4,41 oz) of butter
100 ml (0,42 cups) of molasses
150 ml (0,63 cups) of granulated sugar

1 egg
500 ml (2,11 cups) of wheat flour
2 tsp of baking soda

Dry and ground spices:

2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of ginger
½ tsp of clove

Optional dry and ground spices (which I always add):

1 tsp of bitter orange peel
1 tsp of cardamom

On the day of making dough:

  1. Mix the baking soda into the flour.

  2. Put the butter, sugars and spices into a kettle. Stir from bottom to top while they melt as a mix and let it boil until it’s a bit caramelized. You can boil it as long as you like, but if you boil it long you’ll probably get a dough that’s harder to work with and has small hard bits of caramel. But in the end it’s the matter of taste and effort.

  3. Take the kettle off the stove and keep stirring slowly so the caramel’s temperature stays even and won’t only harden around the edges. When the caramel shows signs of cooling a bit by thickening but is still being easy to work, add the egg and mix it even.

  4. Start adding the flour mix into the caramel mix. The flour can be stirred in with a tool at first but once the dough starts to get a lighter colour and thicken the rest would have to be kneaded in – with delightfully sticky fingers.

  5. Press the dough into container(s) and let it settle in the fridge at least overnight. It can also be frozen if you want to save it for later use.

On the day of baking:

  1. Before you start to work the dough into cookies or house parts, let it warm slowly in room temperature so it’s easier to work with.

  2. Heat the oven into 200°C (392°F). Dust the surface with wheat flour and start to stretch the dough out with a rolling pin, making a thin sheet. Use cookie cutters of your choice and have fun. I usually make the next batch right when the previous is still being baked in the oven.

  3. The cookies will first slightly rise and puff, then they settle down and brown slightly and that’s when they’re at their best. When you take them out they’re still a bit soft when they’re hot, but quickly harden when they cool down.

Fun fact: If you’re making a pepparkaka house you can still shape them while hot which makes the round towers possible if you have round dishes to shape them with such as glass bottles.

Decorate the cookies as you wish, using royal icing with sprinkles, candies, edible dust etc. They will keep for a long time, and even get better with age as more aromas are coming out.

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Goodbye Deviantart, Hello ArtStation

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I have decided to delete my DeviantArt account altogether, and focus on my ArtStation account as my main way to publish my visual art.

The reason is mainly realizing which social media I truly need for my visual art. I experience that ArtStation as a site has more focus on quality, advanced graphic design, artistic value and realism which I’m always striving for.

As opposed to that, Deviantart has more quantity with a medley of things, including screenshots, generator images without the personal artistic touch and the forms of interest in fandoms that I’m not into. There has been an influx of those things in the site, especially in the past few years and so the site is no longer what it used to be.

I based the group in Deviantart called Tolkien-Voronwë since as many might know, I am into the books of JRR Tolkien (more so than the fan of the movies), especially the Silmarillion and I will remain as such. The group has been my main reason to stay in the site, and now I will transfer the ownership of the group to my co-founder Yvan Strong. May she take a good care of it.

As for myself, I will remain as a Tolkien fan, but my ways of expressing it will change. I will still be checking DeviantArt from time to time, to see what my favourite artists there have created. But I won’t be contributing there any longer.

Currents of Time

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Poem, as I posted to WritersCafe:

In these currents of time
Are you rock, sand or tide?
Sound of news will chime
As on waves they will ride

The water may storm, and will
Take sand away with force
After frothing waves, comes still
As ever, tide keeps it’s course

Then the new waters came
But always saw the rock humble:
The shore is still the same
And too easily won’t crumble

Live cameras for nature lovers

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I wonder how many of you enjoy to seeing the wildlife live online – the one that isn’t found near you? I can list a few cameras that I’ve watched, but if you know any more cameras like these, please do list them in the replies – I’d be glad to check them out. Do not expect a David Attenborough in these though (as much as I like him) – they let the images and sounds speak for themselves.

I have watched Decorah Eagles nest camera for many seasons – those are bald eagles in Decorah, Iowa. In Finland (my country) white-tailed eagles are found, as well as golden eagles, and I’d like to see a camera about them, but so far no other camera has been as clear and up close to eagle family life as this one. It includes night vision, panning and zooming.

For Americans the bird is their national symbol, of course, but for me it’s simply a magnificent animal, and the camera has also been very popular worldwide. Ustream has some more selection for live animal cameras, if you want to see something else – both wild animals and pets.

Beleef de Lente is a Dutch site for many bird cameras, but especially with Google Translate as a companion there shouldn’t be a problem to browse the site. Right now they offer to view nest cameras about barn owl, tawny owl, little owl, great tit, house sparrow, European robin, white stork, common kestrel and peregrine falcon, respectively.

And finally, here’s something completely else – an African safari. In Arathusa Safari Lodge, you can see various wild African animals nearly all the time, and the operators of the camera also pan and zoom often. The entire site, WildEarth, is dedicated to live cameras for wild animals worldwide.

You may discover that these cameras may offer you a lot of surprises and good amount of education, and perhaps in that way also inspiration.

Masquerade of Hearts

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Lyrics, as I posted to WritersCafe:

1st Verse:
My lips are curved to smile
I have stayed for a while
But my eyes are shadowed by mask

You cannot see them rose
‘Cause my voice never rose
And nor I never dared to ask

I need you to set me free
See, you don’t really know me
In silence soul is screaming
As in vain I am dreaming

That some day I would change
Which for you I’d arrange
Tolerating this lie
Inside making me die
Chorus:
This mask is worn too long
Oh, how it feels so wrong
I do love you, but see
I want you to know me

One day, one night I’ll leave
Through pain it will relieve
As my mind and body parts
From masquerade of hearts
2nd Verse:
I’m cold or so I seem
Inside my embers beam
Secret and hot have been waiting

To spark fire again
Long time ago back then
Much passion it was creating

I am sure that you’re not blind
That my heart has been aligned
Somewhere else than in this room
Where illusions brightly bloom

I hope you forgive me
I don’t want to hurt thee
But the time has arrived
As flame is now revived
~Chorus~

This started out as a poem, but as it developed, it got a rhythm of syllables and so it turned out to be lyrics fit for a song. The subject can be about friends, lover, family depending the situation. But it’s dedicated to all who want to return as what they really are, and have the courage to do so.