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Banish those cold-weather blues and embrace winter with the power of crafts and the Danish practice of hygge!
Want to survive those dark and freezing winter months? The Danish do it with hygge—a concept that’s all about coziness, simple pleasures, and the company of loved ones. Embrace this warmhearted philosophy with these 25 creative crafts and recipes, which range from gorgeous trinkets to snuggly woolens and tasty treats. You don’t have to be an expert with a crochet hook or a whiz in the kitchen to complete the projects, which include easy-to-follow instructions and photographs. Make vintage ornaments, bake plum and orange blondies, crochet boot cuffs, and more—and you’ll feel hygge warming you no matter how cold it is outside.
The Danish do it with hygge—a concept that’s all about coziness, simple pleasures, and the company of loved ones. Embrace this warmhearted philosophy with these 24 creative crafts and recipes.
When I emerge from the house during winter, I’m always surprised by how good it feels. Nestling by an open fire is all very well, but even when there’s an incessant drizzle wafting drearily from the sky, being outdoors can be uplifting. If you’re off on a walk, though, a day with that almost transparent, liquid winter sunshine is the best choice. Taking a piece or two of something delicious to eat on the way will make the walk even lovelier. Imagine stopping for a few minutes in the clearing of a wood and eating one of these fruity, citrus-flavored blondies while sitting on a bench in the winter sunshine. Sunshine boosts mood and so do carbohydrates, especially when laced with plums steeped in sloe gin and orange. It’s a recipe to put a spring in your step.
1. Line an 8-inch (20-cm) square or 8 x 12-inch (20 x 30-cm) rectangular baking pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. If you have a little extra time, place your chopped plums in a saucepan with the sloe gin and 2 teaspoons sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer for about a minute, stirring gently. This allows the gin to infuse into the plums, the sugar to dissolve, and (some of) the alcohol to evaporate. Drain the sloe gin syrup into a cup. If time is tight, or alcohol isn’t your thing, the chopped plums will still taste delicious in the blondies without their gin treatment.
3. Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl and whisk together for 3 minutes until the mixture is light and voluminous.
4. Carefully pour the melted butter into the mixture while continuing to whisk. Ensure that the butter is well combined before moving on to the next step.
5. Fold in the flour, baking powder, orange zest, and salt, then whisk again to add a little more air.
6. Add the plums and ginger (if using) and fold into the mixture carefully to distribute them evenly.
7. Pour the mixture into the lined pan and shake gently to level it. Then, if you'd like to add decoration, you can add slices of plum to the top. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the blondies comes out clean.
8. Allow the blondies to cool, cut into squares, and either take with you on a walk or serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of the sloe gin syrup on top for a fancy-ish dessert. Alternatively, save the small glass of plum-infused sloe gin and enjoy it in private.