Snow castle hot chocolate

Valentine’s day always surprises a bit in Finland as it is not such a commercial happening here and so I all of a sudden realize that it is the middle of February and the day has arrived. The children do remember it though, and usually wish for a little something special. This past week it had been raining and all along the driveway and on many of the smaller roads there was a thick layer of ice under a layer of water. It was slippery.

lumilinnakaakao collageBut today it snowed almost all day. It was heavy, wet snow perfect for building snow castles, snow dogs, snowmen and having snowball fights. And it was a perfect day for having hot chocolate in the snow castle.

Our Erik did complain in the car the other day that no one had given him a Valentine’s day card. Some of the girls had gotten a card or two from a friend, but as it is not such a notable holiday here there are no class parties where everyone exchanges cards. He did seem quite sad. So today my husband told some of the kids to make him a card, and soon they were all making cards for each other. And that is what our Valentine’s day or Friendship day, as it is called in Finnish, was made of: play in the snow, hot chocolate and homemade cards made from the heart that brought smiles to the recipients.

valentine's day cards

vintage chocolate chip cookies spelttijauhoilla edit

Vintage Chocolate Chip cookies with Spelt


The original recipe is from BBC’s good food site. I substituted some of the white flour with wholegrain spelt flour to give it an added dimension of flavor.

150 g/5.3 oz softened butter
80 g/2.8 oz light brown sugra
80 g/2.8 oz sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
150 g/5.3 oz flour
75 g/2.6 oz wholegrain spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
200 g/7 oz dark or semisweet chocolate (I used only 100 g/3.5 oz for this batch)

sunspelt jauhojaFor our family I made a triple batch. For a smaller cookie I make 30 g/1 oz cookie dough balls that I froze and then bake off. For a larger cookie I have made a 56-58 g/ 2 oz ball of dough. Line a freezer safe container with parchment paper and place the balls of cookie dough in rows and freeze. Between each layer place a piece of parchment paper. Plastic bags work just as well but then I suggest to not layer the cookies. Bake the frozen cookies at 180 C/350 F. For small cookies the bake time is 8-9 minutes and for the larger cookies it is about 10-11 minutes. Do not overbake.

lumilinnaleikitHappy Valentine’s to all my dear readers! “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust


    1. Thank you Leya…the joy of the three-year old when the snow castle was built was so genuine that it couldn’t help but put a smile on everyone’s faces. Hope your Valentine’s weekend was relaxing and full of friendship!

  1. We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day any longer, we just do loving little things for each other every day. My husband would love me even more if I made him these chocolate chip cookies!!! His favourite. I love the quote by Marcel Proust. Thanks for a lovely post Laila, best wishes to you and your family.

    1. I actually think that is the way Valentine’s should be celebrated. Little deeds all through the year. I’m not really big on Valentine’s either, but with the kids they often request for a something “little extra”. The thing is that often that little extra thing does not even need to be overly extravagant or expensive. Family time together and a snow castle and hot chocolate and they were perfectly satisfied. 🙂

  2. A wonderful post. Loved seeing your children at play. Who couldn’t help but smile at the sight of your little one trying to throw snowballs then ducking into the fort for cover? Priceless.

    1. I had a huge smile on my face the whole time I was videoing…I actually missed a few priceless situations when my camera was not rolling yet…He certainly participated in the game and the bigger kids were careful to not throw snow on his face. Love it when the little ones are able to join in. The glee just makes my heart bubble. Really a perfect Valentine’s!

  3. Happy Valentines Day dear Laila, sorry I am late. I loved this post, the video is so beautiful I just loved seeing the children playing in the snow and your spelt chocolate chip cookies look so good. I am in love with spelt flour. The homemade cards are beautiful and whoever drew the beautiful birds is quite a wonderful artist.

    1. Thank you Suzanne…Happy Valentine’s to you as well! Hope you had a relaxing weekend. I love spelt flour as well, it brings such a wonderful flavor into baked goods, not to mention the fiber etc. The birds were drawn by my third grader Lilja for Erik. He is a little scientist who definitely appreciates all the fine details of the specific species. She knew exactly the kind of Valentine’s he would like. 🙂 I thought it was quite sweet. ❤

    1. Yes, it is still around! Dad helped make it so it might be the last thing to melt in the spring 🙂 The winter weather has been perfect, cold during the nights and quite warm and lots of sun during the days.

  4. The kids look like they are having a brill time with all that snow. I didn’t realise that valentines day wasn’t celebrated in Finland. Really good to find out a bit more about different cultures and their different celebrations. So lovely of the kids to make each other a card. Cookies look very delish. Perfect to have after a day of playing in the snow castle!

  5. Love your quote by Marcel Proust …so true…and a word you used to describe a moment…glee.
    So true. Children beam right from the heart 🙂
    Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Alexa and glad you enjoyed the quote by Marcel Proust. I thought it to be so true as well. Children show all their emotions so geniunely without hesitation…and slowly as they grow up they learn a bit of restraint.

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