Mormor Larsson’s pepparkakor

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Just in case you might feel a little behind in all things Christmas (I am desperately, hence the tardiness of this post) and have not reached the comforting, all-embracing Christmas feeling that comes with the house being festively adorned, cards sent, presents bought and menus planned. If despite being assaulted inundated by Season’s greetings, bells, songs & carols, decorations, quaint markets with roasted chestnuts and the like, the Christmas spirit has not reached you, then these traditional Swedish spiced cookies should do the trick. Up the dosage and take one to five in the early evening with a large mug of hot, mulled wine – preferably outside around a glowing fire with a group of friends & family.

Pepparkakor is not your usual soft gingerbread, nothing like German Pfefferkuchen although they share the name nor Lebkuchen, Honigkuchen or other gingerbreads. The sweet crisp cookies loaded with aromatic spices are more akin to spiced Spekuloos / Spekulatius biscuits – perfect to be dipped into milk, cocoa or the aforementioned mulled wine (Glögg).

Mormor Larson, who’s name has become inseparable from pepparkakor in my mind, is not my grandmother and therefore I have no constraints about meddling with her original in engaging a different spice mix. But I love the homeliness it implies and the pedigree such an attribution provides as I am a hopeless sucker for family traditions at Christmas, old & new, borrowed & adopted; real & imaginary ancestors’ recipes included.

pepparkakor

For more Holiday baking & lots of German Christmac cookie recipes: Pfeffernüsse, sour cream cookies with plum filling (Sauerrahmplätzchen), coconut macaroons (Kokosmakronen), Marzipankartoffeln (marzipan cocoa potatoes), almond apricot squares, Zimtsterne (cinnamon star cookies) and Mexican Wedding cookies. Or see the whole list under Christmas baking

 


Mormor Larsson’s Pepparkakor

Adapted from an Arte TV programme on Swedish home cooking

 

1¼ cups / 8.8oz / 250g caster sugar
1¼ cups / 10.14fl.oz / 300ml Swedish light syrup* (alternatively any other Skandinavian light syrup, Dutch keukenstroop or Lyle’s Golden syrup)
2 sticks minus 2 tbsp. / 7oz / 200g soft butter
2 eggs
5 2/3 cups / 24.7oz / 700g flour (add more if needed)
1 tablespoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon / 0.5oz / 15g pepparkakor spice mix (see below)

 

Mix sugar, syrup and butter, whisk in eggs. Combine flour with baking soda and spices and add to the fluffy batter, knead into a soft-ish dough similar to the consistency of firm honey. Place in the fridge overnight for the dough to firm up.

On the next day: Preheat the oven to 225°C / 435°F and on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough very thinly. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters (dipping them into flour makes for an easy release). Place the cookie shapes on baking sheets (covered with baking parchment) and bake for 3 minutes in the very hot oven. Leave for a few minutes to cool before transferring them onto a wire rack.

Pepparkakor taste excellent in their pure form but of course they can be decorated with icing (mix one stiff-beaten egg white with icing sugar) and all the sprinkles in the world if you so wish or are commanded.

* No corn syrup, please: Traditional Swedish light syrup is made from sugar beets and has a toasted brown sugar taste, which adds, well, toasty-ness. Each Skandinavian country has its own special brand and is an easy swop if you can’t find the Swedish stuff. Other good substitutes are Lyle’s Golden Syrup or a Dutch syrup, de Zeuwse Boerin keukenstroop which I regularly use – and not only because of the pretty packaging. Corn syrup would be a very poor solution since it does not have the characteristic flavour while molasses or treacle are ways too intense & heavy.

 

Pepparkakor / gingerbread spice mix:

2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground dried bitter orange peel (if you can’t get bitter orange peel, use dried ordinary orange peel or leave out, do not use and store fresh zest together with spices over a long time as it will get mouldy)

 

Stir all spices together, label and store in a sealable jar in a cool, dark place.

 

 

 

Swedish pepperkakor


Schwedische Pfefferkuchen

Adaptiert vom Arte Programm Zu Tisch in… Schweden

 

250g Zucker
300ml heller Sirup (original heller Zuckerrübensirup aus Schweden oder aus einem anderen skandinavischen Land; ich benutze holländischen Keukenstroop oder den englischen Golden Syrup von Lyle’s als Alternative)
200g weiche Butter
2 Eier
700g Mehl
1 EL Natron
½ TL Zimt
1 EL / 15g Pfefferkuchen- oder Lebkuchengewürz (Rezept unten)

 

Zucker, Sirup und weiche Butter gründlich verrühren, anschließend mit den Eiern schaumig schlagen. Mehl mit Natron sowie den Gewürzen mischen und alles zusammen zu einem weichen Teig (die Konsistenz sollte festem Honig ähneln). Zum Festwerden über Nacht in den Kühlschrank stellen.

Am nächsten Tag den Backofen auf 225°C vorheizen, den Teig auf einer leicht bemehlten Fläche sehr dünn ausrollen und Plätzchen ausstechen (um das Auslösen zu erleichtern kurz die Förmchen in Mehl eintauchen). Die Pfefferkuchen auf mit Backpapier belegte Bleche legen und für 3 Minuten backen, kurz fest werden und anschließend auf Kuchengittern abkühlen lassen.

Pepparkakor schmecken bereits jetzt unglaublich lecker, aber sie können natürlich auch mit Zuckerguß nach Herzenslust dekoriert werden (1 Eiweiß steifschlagen und mit Puderzucker vermischen).

 

Pfefferkuchengewürz:

2 TL gemahlener Zimt
2 TL gemahlener Ingwer
1 TL gemahlene Nelken
½ TL gemahlene Muskatblüte (Macis)
1 TL gemahlener Piment
1 TL gemahlener Koriander
1 TL gemahlener Kardamom
1 TL gemahlene getrocknete Bitterorangenschale (alternativ: getrockneten gemahlene Orangenschale; keinesfalls durch frische Schale ersetzen und über längere Zeit lagern)
Alle Gewürze vermischen und mit einem Schildchen versehen (vergisst man leicht) in einem verschließbaren Glas kühl und dunkel lagern.

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Mormor Larsson’s pepparkakor

  1. These are so cute. I like that they’re different and they look delicious. You sound like you’re feeling the way I am, behind and inundated. We’ll get there!

    • Hope so, still no change here and I am running like a madwoman around town. Haven’t even had time to look at my reader or any of your blog posts or write any of my own – ach, but I still manage to eat them all… N xx

  2. Must try to make some! Also, looooove the reindeer antler cookie shape. Never seen one before. Great post, as always. Merry Christmas! xxx

    • Thank you, Jeannette, you are so kind. Who could pass by those antler cutters? Certainly not me, if I remember correctly, they were ordered online (Tortissimo.de). The other non-Christmas cutters are Frankfurt related: Goethe’s silhouette and the three triangle-topped house is supposed to be the Römer, well, if you know it… Merry Christmas to you, too!!

      • Of course! Must say it passed me by, but now that you mention it, I see! What a fantastic Frankfurt theme!
        J x

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