Monday, December 23, 2013

Scandinavian Christmas

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!


  1. Oh how fabulous! A new Pepparkakor to try!!! A recipe from Kathryn's family shared by her sweetheart! So this one comes with memories attached! Thank you Ryan. And Gl├Ždalig Jul!

  2. Those look so yummy! Now to get my husband to bake them for me :) God Jul!

  3. They look lovely. Ive been meaning to bake some for ages and here's another recipe to try out!

  4. Good memories :-). Thanks for sharing.