Favourite Swedish Gingerbread Cookies (Pepparkakor)
Updated: Feb 28, 2019
If you travel around Nordic countries you will see that there are slight variations in the recipe. Danes like to add almonds or pistachios to the dough and use potash (Brunkager cookies) or baking powder. Some Finish recipes use egg and molasses (for taste and darker colour).
Below is our favourite recipe for this cookie. We are sticking with traditional black pepper, variety of spices, golden syrup and egg-less version.
As a result you get thin, crisp, full of spicy flavour gingerbread cookies.Simply delicious and really addictive! Cookies taste best when the dough is chilled for 24-48 hours before baking and rolled out really thin. The dough is easy to work with, cookies bake with clean edges and keep fresh for up to 4 weeks.
All in all - a winner every Christmas :) (and not only).
Yield: 80 cookies
Active time: 10 minutes prep + 24 hours cooling + 60 minutes (prep and baking)
Tin: baking tray
- 3/4 cup* white granulated sugar
- 140g (1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons) golden syrup
- 100ml full-fat milk
- 125g unsalted butter, diced into 1cm cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups + 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (480g), plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 Tablespoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 Tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 Tablespoon allspice
- 1/4 Tablespoon cloves
- 1/4 Tablespoon cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
*cup = 250ml cup
1. Sift flour with baking soda. Set aside.
2. In a small pot combine golden syrup, sugar and milk. Bring the mixture to the boil and let it cook for 1 minute on medium heat. Set aside (you will use lukewarm).
3. In your main bowl place diced butter, salt, spices and pour the warm sugary mixture (from Step 2). Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
4. Add sifted flour (from Step 1) to spiced mixture (from Step 3) and mix by hand until all ingredients are fully combined. Shape to form the dough, wrap in the cling film and refrigerate for 24-48 hours. The cookie dough will seem loose but will set when refrigerated.
5. Once ready bring the dough to room temperature. Cut the dough into workable sizes. You need to roll it thinly (0.1- 0.2 cm) hence best to cut small sizes of dough each time. Transfer the dough piece onto lightly floured work surface, shape the disc and roll out into 0.1-0.2cm thin circle/rectangle. Cut cookie shapes and transfer cookies onto the baking tray.
6. Preheat oven to 170C and bake cookies for 8 minutes until golden. Once baked leave on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to the cooling rack.
1. Shaping the dough - the dough from this recipe is slightly sticky but should form OK. It will set further once refrigerated. If you find that the dough is still too loose (all depends on flour) you can add more flour but just 1 tablespoon at a time (1-2 Tbsp is max). You don't want to add too much flour as otherwise cookies will be hard. After refrigerating you can always sprinkle a little bit of flour while rolling.
2. Cookies taste best when rolled out really thin. You can opt to roll the dough on the parchment paper, cut cookie shapes and transfer with parchment paper onto the baking tray. Rolling on silicon baking mat works well too. Remember to bring the dough to room temperature as it makes the job of shaping and rolling much easier.
3. You can use floured rolling pin if the dough is too sticky.
4. Nuts - if you want to go for Danish version then add nuts at the end of Step 3. Use baking potash instead of baking soda. Form the log shape and refrigerate. Once ready take out the log and cut with sharp knife into workable dough pieces (you may opt to roll it out or cut the log thinly and bake round cookie shapes).
5. Use molasses for darker cookie colour. Use maple syrup for brighter colour and lighter flavour.
6. Cookies from this recipe store really well. Keep in airtight container for up to 4 weeks (we had a batch which lasted 10 weeks - kept in airtight container and there was no impact on flavour or texture).
7. Gingerbread House - perfect dough for playing a baking engineer. Double the portion. Prepare cut out project (:D yay!) and stick parts together with melted sugar (use glue gun), icing or special gels which are available to order. Easier written than done :D but this recipe is by far best for making proper shapes with clean and firm edges. Added bonus is long shelf life on these cookies so you can prep your gingerbread house already in November/early December.