Cookie

The Spice-Filled Swedish Cookie You’ll Have Trouble Keeping in Your Tin

December 14, 2017

I thought I knew Christmas—and then I met (and eventually married) a Swede.

Christmastime is taken very seriously in this Nordic land. Summer in Sweden is often touted as the best time to visit, but I’d say the idyllic, straight-out-of-a-children’s-storybook holiday time is a close second.

Between the Christmas markets (julmarknad) and Christmas buffet table (julbord, an actual smörgåsbord!), complete with all sorts of wonderful treats both sweet and savory, it’s hard not to get swept up in the Christmas spirit. Part of this holiday tradition includes the making and baking of pepparkakor, or Swedish gingersnaps. I’ll be honest: I never cared for gingersnap cookies growing up, but this version, adapted from a 1952 classic recipe via Swedish pastry chef and friend Mia Öhrn, has made me a convert.

Is there anything cuter than a moose cookie cutter? Doubtful. Photo by Hana Asbrink

Filled with a generous amount of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves, these cookies are well-spiced, but not spicy. Plus, they have extra zing thanks to two star ingredients: lemon and orange zests.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I do not see the "note above" referenced in the parenthetical on this ingredient: 90 grams (3/8 cup or 3 fluid ounces) ljus sirap. Can you please clarify? I looked it up and see it a sweetened syrup. Is there an acceptable substitute? ”
— Erica P.
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Another major bonus? Both the dough and the baked cookies store very well. “The dough keeps for weeks,” explains Mia. “So you can make it well in advance, and even freeze it if you want to. Since it is such a large batch, you can wrap up parts of it and [they] will make a nice gift.” Who doesn't love a good edible present?

Prepare a batch (the recipe below is halved from the original) and keep the wrapped dough in the refrigerator, rolling out just the amount you need whenever the mood strikes. Or, roll out and bake the entire recipe’s worth; they’ll keep well in an airtight container from now until Christmas (if they manage to last that long!). Little hands love to help roll and cut these out, if you’re looking for good kid-friendly recipes for your next snow day activity. And according to Mia, the dough works well for making gingerbread houses.

During these cold winter months, daylight is something of a commodity. Take a cue from the Swedes and light candles as soon as the sun begins to set, indulge in a fika (Swedish coffee break enjoyed by all), and delight in these delicious, crisp, and fragrant cookies. My husband loves them with a cold glass of milk; we've also found they're amazing topped with a bit of Stilton or gorgonzola cheese (really anything blue). They’ll definitely put you in a cozy holiday state of mind.

Recipe note: Ljus sirap (light Swedish baking syrup) can be found online; you can also substitute with light corn syrup or golden syrup.

Do you have a favorite gingersnap recipe? Please share your own cookie traditions with us below.

9 Comments

Clover88 December 19, 2017
My Norwegian husband makes pepperkaker by the 1000s each Christmas as presents for friends and family. He grinds his own cloves. His specialty is making them paper thin.
 
Author Comment
Hana A. December 19, 2017
No better smell than freshly ground cloves! My husband would your husband's cookies (he loves them super thin, too). Happy holidays and thanks for sharing. :)
 
Sakura H. December 15, 2017
How long until the cookies go stale?
 
Author Comment
Hana A. December 15, 2017
Hi Sakura - I would say 2-3 weeks is no problem, but we usually eat them all up before that time! :) Just make sure you use an airtight container. Enjoy and happy holidays!
 
Erica P. December 15, 2017
I do not see the "note above" referenced in the parenthetical on this ingredient: 90 grams (3/8 cup or 3 fluid ounces) ljus sirap. Can you please clarify? I looked it up and see it a sweetened syrup. Is there an acceptable substitute?
 
Author Comment
Hana A. December 15, 2017
Hi Erica - Please click through to "Go to Recipe" and you'll see the full note there. I'm also pasting here: Note: Ljus sirap (light Swedish baking syrup) can be found online; you can also substitute with light corn syrup or golden syrup. <br /><br />Good luck and lmk how it goes, happy holidays!
 
M.McAwesome December 15, 2017
Click 'Go To Recipe', the full notes and instructions will be there.
 
Marit G. December 14, 2017
Lovely with blue cheese and a glass of port
 
Author Comment
Hana A. December 14, 2017
I couldn't agree with you more–happy holidays, Marit!