Pepparkakors (A Nod To My Swedish Roots)

We made them every year.  Thin, crispy, sweet, buttery, spicy little bites of deliciousness.  Mom would open up her recipe book, the one Grandma made for her birthday many years ago.  It was simple, just a fabric covered notebook filled with page upon page of Grandma’s slanted script, and each year another stain or two would land on the yellowed, buckled paper as an endorsement of quality.  Mom loved that book.

The cookies were traditional Swedish ginger cookies, heavily dosed with cinnamon and cloves, a lacing of molasses, and decadently buttery.  Somewhere between creaming the butter and sugars and scooping the flour, one of us would get out the cookie cutters.  And oh, the fun of deciding which ones to use!  There were little ginger people, a slightly crooked heart, stars, an angel, a bell, and a dozen tiny animals.  A silly moose head silhouette.  Flowers.  Leaves.

The rhythm of rolling and cutting and scooping onto the cookie sheets set the cadence for a magical  morning.  Taste testing was mandatory.  As my mom often said, “You can’t eat just one!”  She was right.  Every year at Christmas, I pull out the recipe book that my mom hand wrote for me, and make these wonderful cookies.  Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without them!

Pepparkakors (A Nod To My Swedish Roots)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. cream/milk

Instructions

  1. Cream together butter and sugars.
  2. Add molasses and egg.
  3. Mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
  5. Add dry ingredients alternately with the cream, stirring well, until the dough comes together.
  6. Chill several hours or overnight.
  7. Divide dough in half, and refrigerate the portion you will not be using right away.
  8. Further divide the dough into fist sized portions.
  9. Roll out one portion on a heavily floured board/pastry mat till very thin. Cut shapes.
  10. Re-roll and cut.
  11. Bake cookies at 375 F for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool on sheet for 2 minutes prior to removing to a cooling rack.
  13. Enjoy!
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What are your favorite Christmas treats?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

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