How to Hygge -Signe Johansen

How to Hygge: The Secrets of Nordic Living by Signe Johansen ushers the Scandinavian lifestyle trend right into our homes. Hygge (pronouced "HOO-gah") is effortlessly orchestrating normal everyday events into special and meaningful occasions. It's a feeling more than an effort that takes pleasure in other people's company along with sharing a meal or warm beverage. 

Envisioning Sweden and Norway in my mind, often involves a small stone cottage near a glistening lake with a backgroup of snow capped mountains. Hygge images typically show a photo of feet enveloped in warm comfy socks, a mug with swirls of warm steam in a pair of hands, a rustling fireplace with friends and food nearby. It is an image of what vacation in the winter months are about - warmth, coziness and love.

I am a fan of Signe's books both Scandilicious: Secrets to Scandinavian Cooking and Scandilicious Baking are beautiful titles and both convey the meaning of hygge as well. Her newest title is filled with tips for creating a hygge home, ideas for outdoor actvities and taking breaks from the workday to socialize and enjoy a coffee and sweet treat. After the book concentrates on providing those tips and ideas for designing a hygge home to bring people together. The remainder of the book is filled with delicious recipes for comforting food and sweet treats.

It is very hard to power down in today's hectic world but with How to Hygge in our arsenal we have a fighting chance.  Any lifestyle that encourages one to have a doughut is good with me. Special thanks to the author and St. Martin's Griffin for allowing us to share the following recipes with our members. 

Head over to our contest page to enter our giveaway for one of five copies of this book. 

Cardamom Doughnuts with Orange Blossom Honey
Makes 15-20 doughnuts 
For Stage 1 
1 cup white bread flour 
3/4 ounce fresh yeast or 1 heaping tablespoon dried yeast 
2/3 cup water 
For Stage 2 
2/3 cup whole milk 
2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom (about 40 whole pods-1/4 ounce) 
1/2 ounce (1/4 cake) fresh yeast 
2 3/4 cups unbleached white spelt flour 
1 1/2, cups white bread flour 
1/2 cup superfine sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt 
6 egg yolks 
For Stage 3 
5 tablespoons butter. cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
For the Final Stage 
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying 

To Serve 
orange blossom honey 

We used to make these for our EatScandi supper club events, as so few people make their own doughnuts at home anymore. It felt special, and we were overjoyed to hear guests tell us it was the finest fried dough they'd ever tasted. Homemade doughnuts require a little effort, I'll admit, but if you've ever been curious about how to make them then I urge you to give these a go-- they're the ultimate fika treat. 
Stage 1: Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl and beat for 5 minutes until you have a smooth, runny paste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside somewhere warm. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until it's bubbling and doubled in size. 

Stage 2: Heat the milk and cardamom until scalding and then set aside in a cold place so that the milk cools to below 125°F. It's important to be patient with this step as yeast is killed off above 125°F. If you're in a hurry, you can pour the milk from one pan into another and repeat a few times, which will help to speed up the cooling process. Crumble the fresh yeast into the flours and add to the Stage 1 bowl; then stir in the cooled cardamom-infused milk and the remainder of the ingredients in Stage 2. Knead well for 10-15 minutes or until the dough looks smooth and springs back when you touch it. The dough should feel quite firm and not too slippery or loose (that will come when you add the butter). 

Stage 3: This is the most crucial stage of the whole process so please don't rush it. You need to add the cubes of butter one at a time to the dough and work the butter in completely before adding the next cube. I know it sounds fussy but it makes a difference. If you rush this stage you'll end up with an oily dough, and what you want is a smooth, supple dough for frying. A little elbow grease should mean this process will take about 10 minutes at most, and then you can have a rest while the dough relaxes for another 30-45 minutes. (Make sure to cover it again so that it doesn't dry out.) 

Stage 4: Once you've had a cup of tea and allowed your arms to recover, scrape the dough onto a clean work surface and use a dough scraper or sharp knife to portion the dough into equal-sized balls. If you want to be precise about this, you can weigh the dough and then divide that amount by the number of doughnuts you wish to make, using that figure to determine the weight of each ball. Cup your hand over each dough ball and swirl it around on the work surface to create a really smooth bun shape, then place the bun on a baking sheet or platter and cover with a damp tea towel while you repeat the process with the remainder of the dough balls. Put the baking sheet or platter in a warm room for another 30-45 minutes-the final rising time. You'll know the doughnuts are ready to be fried when they've doubled in size and spring back when you touch the surface of the dough. 
Stage 5: Pour the oil into a deep-fryer or a large saucepan or stock pot (as a safety precaution, it shouldn't come up more than a third of the total depth of the pan), and have a candy thermometer or a digital probe ready to check the temperature of the oil. Heat the oil to 320"F,-the optimum doughnut frying temperature. Keep an eye on it and arrange the following nearby: a long oven glove, a lid that can completely cover the pan should a fire break out and a long slotted spoon or spider spoon-plus have the ventilation on full blast, otherwise your kitchen and whole house will smell of fried dough for a day or two afterwards!

Start to fry the doughnuts, keeping an eye on the oil to make sure the temperature doesn't rise above 320°F or dip below 300°F. (If the oil starts to seriously smoke, turn off the heat immediately and do not under any circumstances pour water on hot oil.) Fry the doughnuts for 2 minutes (if small) and up to 3-4 minutes (if large) on each side-you can flip them over using the slotted spoon. They should look even and golden pale brown on both sides. Once the doughnuts are cooked through, use the slotted spoon to carefully lift them out of the oil and place them on paper towels to drain off the excess. Then transfer the doughnuts to a separate plate and drizzle lots of delicious orange blossom honey all over them. 

Stage 6: Eureka! Congratulations, you've made doughnuts. It's a big moment if you've never made them before so I hope you love them as much as I do. Remember to turn off the heat under the oil when you finish frying.

Copyright © 2017 by Signe Johansen and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Griffin.


  • Nancith  on  3/5/2017 at 3:16 PM

    The hygge lifestyle sounds quite relaxing. My daughter, her husband & their 2 young daughters have a ritual every Friday of going to a coffee shop after work for refreshment. They call it their "piggy hygga" courtesy of their 4 year-old(the coffee shop has a pig on it's signage).

  • PennyG  on  3/5/2017 at 9:17 PM

    I would love to learn more about hygge and how to incorporate it into my life here in Texas!

  • nadiam1000  on  3/6/2017 at 6:57 AM

    True to the american workday life, I have a demanding job with barely time to eat lunch these days. I could use some hygge in my life!

  • hippiechick1955  on  3/6/2017 at 9:05 AM

    I would totally try to incorporate it into my everyday life; deep breathes alone don't work.

  • monique.potel  on  3/6/2017 at 10:34 AM

    i would happyly try to incorporate Hygge in my everyday life

  • lebarron2001  on  3/6/2017 at 11:10 AM

    I could use some Hygge in my life.

  • gjelizabeth  on  3/7/2017 at 1:27 PM

    This sounds just right for a rainy day.

  • kbennall  on  3/7/2017 at 4:22 PM

    Hygge is everywhere right now! Without going too much into it, it does have quite a few aspects that are racially exclusionary which a white Scandinavian might not even notice, but it also has some lovely aspects which I definitely try to use.

  • jemans  on  3/8/2017 at 4:47 PM

    I have been waiting for the perfect doughnut recipe all my life - this must be it!

  • Uhmandanicole  on  3/13/2017 at 1:54 AM

    I am so intrigued by Scandinavian cooking. Pretty sure this book would be perfect for me

  • Teruska  on  3/14/2017 at 1:49 PM

    Not only do we love to share our cooking with our friends, I would love to incorporate some hygge into our life and benefit a few of our friends as well.

  • fiarose  on  3/17/2017 at 9:23 PM

    "Hygge images typically show a photo of feet enveloped in warm comfy socks, a mug with swirls of warm steam in a pair of hands, a rustling fireplace with friends and food nearby." i want to incorporate those images in my everyday for SURE!

  • tarae1204  on  3/18/2017 at 1:32 PM

    A friend gave me a beautiful thick white candle for my engagement 9 years ago, we are about 2/3rds of the way through. We don't light it for dinner every night, but when we do, it brings everyone at the table closer together. I love that candle.

  • Siegal  on  3/22/2017 at 9:25 AM

    I would love to try this lifestyle

  • laurel2000  on  3/24/2017 at 10:20 PM

    I have read so much about this lifestyle in the past few months. Tried it out a bit on a snow day. Would love to do more!

  • edyenicole  on  3/25/2017 at 9:08 PM

    I might try it.

  • imaluckyducky  on  4/7/2017 at 8:58 PM


  • lgroom  on  4/11/2017 at 10:39 AM

    I do try to incorporate some principles in my everyday life already.

  • cseychew  on  4/12/2017 at 10:27 PM

    When you live in Buffalo you learn to embrace the ethos of hygge. Wonderful to know before the Nords have a name for it.

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