Swedish traditional Pepparkakor recipe

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This traditional Swedish Pepparkakor recipe makes deliciously crispy spice cookies with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. They are a Scandinavian Christmas tradition and they are absolutely fabulous!

Have you ever seen a prettier Christmas cookie?

This recipe comes from Nordic baking book by Magnus Nilsson. Nilsson runs the famous Fäviken restaurant in Sweden. The book is a fascinating and well-researched collection of traditional Nordic baking recipes, from breads to cakes and cookies.

I think cutting cookies is a must, at least once during the holidays. This pepparkakor recipe is lighter in color and flavor than my Easy gingerbread cookies with royal icing recipe. The paler cookies lend themselves to a fun modern Scandinavian theme and are a nice change from tired gingerbread old men;)

What are the Pepparkakor? (peh-par-KAH-kor)

Pepperkaker in Norway, Piparkakut in Iceland Brunkager in Denmark, Piparkokur in iceland

Pepparkakor, or pepper biscuits in Swedish, they are spiced gingerbread cookies. They come under the general heading of gingerbread cookies, and are traditionally baked for St. Lucia's Day (December 13). They are also eaten at Christmas and make beautiful rustic decorations for the Christmas tree.

Do you want to make pepparkakor decorations?

Use a straw to drill a hole in the cookies before baking. If the hole fills up during cooking, drill again just after the cookies come out of the oven. When it's cold, run a thin ribbon or string through the hanging hole.

Ingredients in pepparkakor

  • flour
  • Butter
  • golden syrup (sirap) or honey
  • Milk
  • spices ~ cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom. I used freshly ground cardamom because it had little amount of pre-ground material, resulting in a distinctive flavor that I really enjoyed.

What is golden syrup?

  • cane honey (sirap) is a type of sugar syrup that is common in Scandinavian cooking. It is used in the same way as molasses in gingerbread cookies, but is much lighter in color and flavor.
  • Many stores in the United States have imported golden syrup, so definitely use it if you have it! You can also substitute honey like the one I have here, or even maple syrup.

I stretched these cut cookies a little on the thicker side, so they bake somewhere between soft and crisp. In this way I can package them as gifts for friends without worrying about breakage. You can spread them thinner for a crispier cookie if you like.

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Dala horse and reindeer cookie cutters are perfect for pepparkakor

Pepparkakor cookies can be cut into simple or star shaped hearts, or any shape you like. I used simple modern Scandinavian horse, reindeer and elk cutters.

How to get soft and unique colors from a basic box of food coloring

Don't settle for the bored and bored colors that come out of the little bottles, here are some easy tips for mixing truly beautiful and personalized shades that take your cookies to the next level.

  • To get pastel shadesEspecially when coloring small amounts of enamel, do not add full drops of color, which can be too intense. Sometimes I put a drop of food coloring on a small plate, and I use a toothpick and add small amounts to my enamel. Be sure to mix well before adding more, it takes time for the coloration to fully incorporate. Remember, soft colors are generally more appetizing than deep dark colors when it comes to icing and frosting.
  • To create subtle color variations try adding a little touch of the opposite color on the color wheel. For reds add a little touch of green, for blues add orange, for purples add yellow ~ and vice versa.

Without food coloring? Try these natural food coloring ideas

  • Matcha powder it makes a nice green
  • Freeze fried berries like blueberries and raspberries (Trader Joe’s takes them) they can be powdered into a fine powder and used for pretty pinks and purples.
  • Ground turmeric and saffron make glorious yellows.

How to make simple decorations on gingerbread cookies

Decorated Christmas cookies don't have to be complicated to be beautiful, and you definitely don't have to be an artist to do it!

  • You can cover these cookies with a layer of frosting, or decorate simple cookies for a rustic look, both of which are beautiful.
  • To make simple white designs on your pepparkakor, put your frosting or frosting in a small bag, twist the frosting down in one corner, and cut a bit from the corner tip of the bag. Place dots and lines on the cookies by gently squeezing and turning the bag. You can also use a store-bought tube to do this, no shame on that! Use these photos as a guide to inspire your simple decorations.
  • Accentuate your designs with a splash of color using sparks like colored balls and simple shapes like holly leaves, below. A red nose on reindeer is always fun.

More Scandinavian recipes from the archives ~

Swedish Pepparkakor Cookies

This traditional Swedish Pepparkakor recipe makes deliciously crispy spice cookies with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. They are a Scandinavian Christmas tradition and they are absolutely fabulous!

Course dessert

Swedish cuisine

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

chilling 12 hours

Makes 24 cookies

For the cookies

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey, sparse (100 ml)
  • 1/2 cup of milk, little (100 ml)
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1.5 teaspoons of ground cardamom
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 4 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda

For the cherry

  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, or more if you plan to cover the entire cookie.
  • water, to lose weight
  • a few drops of food coloring (optional)
  • pearl sparks (optional)

For the cookies

  • Add sugar, honey and milk to a small saucepan. When measuring a "meager" cup of honey and milk, it should be a little less than 1/2 cup, but not closer to 1/3 cup. If you can measure in milliliters, that's exactly 100 milliliters.

  • Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

  • Add the butter and spices to a bowl and pour the hot syrup mixture over them. Mix until butter is melted and everything is combined.

  • Sift the baking soda, salt, and flour, then add them to the butter and syrup mixture. Mix until everything is evenly incorporated.

  • Roll out the dough into a flat disk and chill in the refrigerator overnight or up to 48 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out the dough to about 3/8 "thick and cut it out with cookie sheets.

  • Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until they are slightly puffy and golden.

  • Let cool completely before icing.

For the cherry

  • Mix the powdered sugar with enough water to get a smooth but thick glaze. Divide the icing into smaller batches if you want to make different colors. You can also flavor the icing with a little vanilla extract or almond extract if you like. For cut lines and small designs, keep your frosting thick enough so it doesn't spread, there should be a bit of resistance when mixing with a whisk. To cover the entire cookie, such as green and blue reindeer, add a little more water to the icing so that it continues smoothly and it is easier to cover the entire cookie before it starts to dry and crack. Try a bit of frosting on a test cookie if you're not sure of the texture!

  • For the light blue color I used, add 2-3 drops of food coloring to 1 cup of the glaze.

  • For the darker green / blue color, add a couple of drops of green and blue, and a little touch of red to tone the color down a bit.

  • Place the frosting in ziplock bags or a piping bag with a very small tip. Cut a small corner of the ziplock bags if you use them. Decorate and let it harden completely before moving or stacking it.

Pepparkakor Recipe Traditional Swedish

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