Today I’ll be sharing Svenska Pepparkakor, which are Swedish spice cookies. My Mormor (Swedish for grandmother on my mother’s side) used to make a full batch of these delightful cookies at Christmastime. The recipe I’m sharing with you is only a quarter of her recipe, but rest assured, if you roll out the dough thin enough, you’ll still get about 300 cookies from this recipe. With all the other cookies I make, I don’t usually need more than that for my holiday sharing, but this recipe can be easily doubled, or more, if you like.
She used to make a huge batch so she could share them with her neighbors, Bingo buddies, friends, and, of course, family. These cookies are best made a week or so in advance of when you’ll need them. The spices will have more time to mingle and you’ll find a much stronger flavor than when they are fresh out of the oven. She would allow my brother and I to sneak a sample while she was baking them, but then they were put away until just before Christmas. Keep these Swedish Spice Cookies stored in an airtight container and they’ll stay perfectly fresh and delicious for a couple months. They’ll probably be long gone before they get stale anyway, but, if you find that you have too many to eat, wrap them up in freezer bags then store them in the freezer for up to a few months more.
The dough for these cookies is very easy to make, the only tricky part is rolling out the dough thin enough. To be made correctly, it needs to be almost paper thin so that the cookies get crispy. Be sure to sprinkle enough flour on your work surface so that your dough won’t stick and you’ll need to be mindful of the thickness of your rolled out dough so that your cookies bake consistently and you get an even crispness of each cookie. Roll the dough too thick and the cookies will turn out soft instead.
These cookies can be decorated with your favorite cookie icing, but they have so much flavor it’s not really needed. Besides the icing will soften the cookie. So instead, try sprinkling some pearl sugar on them to give them an added layer of crunch and decoration.
Svenska Pepparkakor (Swedish Spice Cookies)
A delightful thin, crispy spice cookie. A nice difference from gingerbread.
- 3/4 cup dark Karo syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 12 tbsp butter
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp cloves
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp orange peel
- 4-5 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
In a small sauce pan, boil syrup, sugar, cream, butter and spices until thoroughly blended. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a separate bowl, combine baking soda and flour. (Do not sift the flour.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Gradually add the flour to the syrup mixture.
Continue adding the flour and stirring until well blended. When the mixture becomes to hard to stir, you’ll need to continue adding the flour by kneading it into the dough until it is fully incorporated.
You may not need all of the flour, and depending on the climate, you may need extra. Just add the flour until the dough is firm and no longer sticky. Keep in mind that while you are rolling out the dough, your dough will acquire more flour that is picked up from your work surface. With your hands, shape the dough into a smooth ball until it has a glossy shine.
Let the dough rest while you prepare the cookie sheets. Make sure cookie sheets are clean and free of crumbs. I use parchment paper so that I don’t get crumbs on the next batch of cookies.
Lightly flour your work surface.
Using a knife, cut about 1/8 of a slice from the ball of dough.
Form the slice into a smaller ball of dough and flatten on your work surface.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until very thin. It should almost be see through. Notice the picture, you can almost see the work surface through the dough.
Using your desired cookie cutters, cut the shapes in the dough.
Remove the shapes with a thin, metal spatula and place on the cookie sheet. Save the scraps to add back into the next section of dough you cut out.
These cookies do not spread much, so you don’t need to leave a lot of space between them.
Bake for 4 minutes. (These cookies burn very quickly. If you have rolled them out as thin as possible, they could be ready in as little as 3 minutes. If they aren’t very thin, it could take as long as 8 minutes.) Once they start getting a toasty color around the edges, remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool on the sheet for a few minutes before removing them from the sheet. You may notice the cookies seem a little soft. They’ll continue to cook on the hot cookie sheet. While they’re cooling down, they’ll start to get crispier.
Continue until you’ve used up all the dough.
Store in an air tight container or cookie tin.
For more great Christmas recipes, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
What are your favorite holiday treats? Let me know in the comments below.