The best gingerbread cookie recipe for eating are Pepparkakor a “ginger nut” cookie from Sweden. After years of making gingerbread, I stumbled upon a recipe that is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy with a light crisp crunch. It is more fragrant and filled with a few different spices from the classic gingerbread cookie used in the US.
At our Christmas potluck two years ago my pastor’s wife brought the most perfect gingerbread cookies I have ever tasted. They were thin crisp, slightly sweet and minimally decorated–very much like an English style ginger snap. The difference in the spice mix was enough to peek my interest for researching these Swedish Gingerbread Cookies.
Pepparkakor ( Swedish Gingerbread) Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe for Eating
As you might have guessed ‘peppar’ in Swedish means pepper and “kakor” or ‘kaka’ means cookie or biscuit. The cookie dates back to 1444 and did once have pepper in the recipe. Also, the early names of the exotic spices of cinnamon, clove, and ginger were once referred to in Swedish as peppers.
In Sweden the Pepparkakor is made with a sirap, a light molasses syrup and flavored with the spices of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and bitter orange. In America the recipes often leave out the cardamon and bitter orange for just the more traditional three spices of ginger, cinnamon and clove. As with most family recipes, the spice you choose to include often depends on how your Mormor (Swedish for Grandma) made it when you were growing up.
Not being Swedish, I found a Swedish friend who could tell me a little more. Meet Leia the Boxer.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Leia and her “hoomans” are champs at making these delicious cookies.
Gingerbread Cookie Dough
In America gingerbread cookie dough is a shortbread style cookie with no egg or dairy other than butter. Most Pepparkakor recipes call for an egg and sometimes cream. This lightens and binds the dough in my opinion. Not being Swedish, I combined a few recipes and came out with the following recipe and loved it!
Gingerbread Cookie Dough Recipe with Lots of Spices
3/4 c Butter
3/4 c Sugar ( I chose brown but you can use white)
Cream together in mixing bowl
3/4 c molasses ( ljus sirap is available and more traditional)
Mix together first and then add to mixture
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp Water
Mix All Dry ingredients together first then add to wet mixture (It will seem like a lot of spices, but it is what makes the cookie so good!)
3 c floor
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp ground clove
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground cardamon
Mix dough together well and then place between two sheets of wax paper to rest over night in the fridge. The resting is important to fully develop the spice mixture.
Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut and bake and 375 F for about 6-8 minutes. They will get slightly darker, but timing is everything as they burn easily.
Decorations on these cookies are normally minimal, so I use a water powdered sugar icing. Using a piping bag helps the icing look neat.
Leia the boxer does like these cookies she warns all her dog friends.
“Yes, I got to tastes a little bit but not so much, Mommy said that my stomach can get upset if I eat too much.”
Remember to join Leia on her Instagram page for more dog friendly advice and lots of boxer wiggles!
No Egg Icing That Hardens For Gingerbread Cookie Recipes
3 3/4 c confectioners’ sugar
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Although we love to share our ‘hooman” Christmas treats with our pets the spices, sugar and heavy fats may cause them issues. If you want give them something special for Christmas, try some of the follow: