More Than the Degree

It’s Christmas!! Reach out to your close ones (even if they are far). Plus, a holiday recipe!

Lights in Helsinki

The darkest day of the year is past and, for those of you that celebrate, Christmas has come! But for those that don’t, there’s also winter break… a time to relax and try to gather energy for the beginning of the new year. 

And, though the holidays are usually represented as wintery, presents under a tree, and a family playing some board games this is not usually the case for many people and definitely not the case for many during the corona times. I find myself missing the warm Christmases with my family on the beach, collecting seashells and then going to the fair. Being stuck half the world away from the ones that are closest to me is not easy and I know I’m not the only one in this situation. But yeah, the holidays mean different things for everyone. Remember to respect that. 

I want to encourage you to reach out to those that are close to your hearts, present or not. Because Christmas isn’t about the shopping, food, or the Christmas movies, it’s about people. It can be a holiday greeting, a simple hello, a reminder that you are there for them or that you need them to be there for you. 

I know I said Christmas isn’t about the food but that doesn’t mean it isn’t deliciously enjoyable. I leave you with this super simple recipe of what I consider a holiday snack, garrapiñadas (which also happen to be vegan). And feel free to comment what you eat for Christmas, Hanukah, New year’s, or any holiday around these times. Recipe translated from

The final outcome
The final outcome

What do I need? 

cup of sugar

cup of sunflower seeds (Peeled), peanuts (also peeled) or almonds not toasted or salted.

cup of water 

How do I make it? 

In a not too deep pot or pan add the 3 ingredients. Bring to high fire, mix until it’s san-like (when mixing the sugar will form crystals). This should take 10 min. 

Once almost all the liquid has evaporateda thin sand will form. Take it off the fire and mix energeticallyuntil the sugar is almost white.You will notice the sugar will not stick to the peanuts, almonds, or sunflower seedsPut it back on the fire and mix continuously. The sugar will melt and form a new layer of shinier sugar, do not let the sugar burn. 

In a tray, let the spread out garrapiñadascool. Once cold, store them in a closed container, they last up to a month without getting humid.


TIP #1Make little amounts at a time 

TIP #2 MIX constantly (This is the key for the sugar to crystalize) 

TIP #3Once the sugar has crystallised mix OFF the fire and let cool one minuteput back in the high fire and let melt, lower the fire once it starts to melt so the sugar doesn’t burn. 

TIP #4 For a daker color, add a spoonful of cocoa powder with all the ingredients. 

TIP #5 The typical garrapiñadas are street food and are made with peanuts and have cocoa powder and vanilla essence. They are made with the same technique.  

Have a good winter break! And remember to take care of yourself! 

Zina Marpegan

Bachelor’s Programme in Design | Aalto University

Aalto study options 

Contact email: aaltosquad(at) 

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