Today my sweet hubs will be sharing with us!
Pepparkakor, or Swedish gingerbread cookies, are an important part of the Christmas feast in Sweden. They’re crisp, ginger-y, and altogether delicious, with a spicy kick.
These tiny wafer-thin bundles of amazingness have made their mark over centuries of Swedish history.
The first pepparkakor in Sweden is said to have been bake by nuns in Vadsten, a convent in Sweden. What we enjoy today as treats were prescribed as medicine for various ailments.
Around 1500, the Swedish-Norwegian-Danish King Hans ruled his kingdom with an apparently not-so-gentle demeanor. Apparently, he was aware of his ill-humor, and directed his doctor to give him substantial doses of pepparkakor to cure his bad temper.
The first time I had pepparkakor was when I was visiting my future wife’s family in Michigan at Christmas for the first time. At that time, I was lacking in experience in all things Swedish. I sat down for my first smorgasbord, an expansive, delectable feast for the eyes and the senses, with everything from pickled herring, meatballs, rice pudding, korv, and various desserts, including pepparkakor.
I hadn’t even proposed to Kathryn yet, but I remember feeling really welcomed into the family that Christmas. And now that we’re married, every year around this time, I love eating pepparkakor with Kathryn and our family. It reminds me of that first time.
200 g (7 oz) brown sugar
200 g (7 oz) white sugar
200 g (7 oz) dark corn syrup
150 ml (¾ cup) water
300 g (10 oz) butter
2 tbs ground cinnamon
2 tbs ground ginger
2 tbs ground cloves
1 tbs baking soda
1 tbs orange zest
0.9–1 kg (2−2¼ lb) flour
To make pepparkakor, heat the brown sugar, white sugar, corn syrup and water in a pot. Add the butter and let it melt. Stir and let cool slightly, then blend in the spices and baking soda. Then mix in the flour to a smooth consistency. Sprinkle a little flour on top and put the dough out to cool, preferably overnight. Take the dough and knead it smooth on a baking table, adding more flour if desired. Roll it thin and cut into shapes, using the desired cookie cutters. Bake in the oven (180°C/350°F) for 8–10 minutes. Let the pepparkakor cool on the baking sheet.
Thanks, Ryan for sharing your love of pepparkakor! God Jul to all!