December 4, 2010

Pepparkakor - Gingerbread Cookies

These are by far my favorite holiday cookies. The Swedish Pepparkakor are identical with Finnish Piparkakut and taking a bite of one of these takes me back home for a moment. We would use our gingerbread boy, girl, pig and scalloped cookie cutters and decorate the baked cookies with Royal Icing. I also use the same recipe for Gingerbread houses and Christmas trees. I just bake them a little longer so they are sturdy enough for building.

This year I actually decided to bake some of these before Thanksgiving, thus the pictured leaf shapes.

  • Pepparkakkor (from

  • 8 ounces butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark baking syrup, see note below (or light corn syrup, or molasses)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup orange juice 
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

  • 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • 2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in egg, corn syrup, orange juice, and orange zest. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; stir into the creamed mixture until combined. Chill in the fridge at least a few hours. I generally wait till the next day.
  • 3. Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness, and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies on wire racks.

Note: Dark baking syrup is something that I grew up with in Finland. It is used instead of molasses or corn syrup and has much nicer taste than regular American molasses. If you'd like, you can find it at Ikea's Swedish Food Market.

Royal Icing (also from

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 egg whites, beaten (see note below)
  • Lemon extract, optional

  • In a bowl, sift together confectioners' sugar and cream of tartar. Using electric mixer, beat in 2 beaten egg whites for about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape. 

Note: I do not use egg whites for my Royal Icing. I substitute Meringue Powder which has substitution instructions on the container. Meringue powder is basically dried and powdered egg whites and poses no health risks. You can find it on the cake decorating aisle at your local craft store or walmart.

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