Skip to comments.Swedish Gingersnaps (Pepparkakor)
Posted on 12/11/2010 3:53:08 AM PST by Daisyjane69
I promised this recipe a while back. I figured that I'd better post it before I got too busy with the rest of my baking!
Please read the entire recipe before you get started, so as to save time and money.
1/2 lb. butter 1 1/2 cup white sugar 2 tsp baking powder or 1 tsp baking soda plus 1 tsp cream of tartar 3 1/4 cup flour 4 TBSP dark Karo syrup 1 egg 3 tsp cinnamon 3 tsp cloves 3 tsp ginger
What, you wanted more? That's all she gave me. No instructions, no baking time, no demo, nuthin. LOL
But after having the recipe for nearly ten years, I've learned a few things.
The MOST important thing is this: Your spices must be absolutely the freshest available or you will be keenly disappointed and mad for going through this much work for nothing. This is absolutely crucial. I know spices are expensive; there are ways to make it easier and I'll deal with that later.
Here is how to make them:
Go ahead and cream the sugar, butter, egg, & Karo syrup together in that large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients, taking special pains to incorporate the spices throughout. I use a whisk to do that. Using an electric mixer, add the dry ingredients to the wet, scraping the bowl, etc. The finished product will be crumbly, so don't panic. The warmth of your kitchen/hands will make it malleable.
At this point, many online recipes will tell you to refrigerate the dough overnight in the bowl. I find that to be silly, as it makes your task more difficult.
Instead, you will need parchment paper (you'll thank me later for this) AND waxed paper. Measure out one cup of the crumbly stuff, firmly packed, and deposit on your parchment paper. Put the waxed paper on top and roll out your dough. I hope you're sitting when you read this: this dough must be rolled out to 1/8" or less (about the width of a nickel coin). That's one of the reason these cookies are not widely available in the retail market...they're delicate!
Roll out each cookie sheet's worth of dough and use your cookie cutter. Do NOT remove the wasted dough between the cookies just yet, because it will make you insane. (Just a note here, the Swedish Pepparkakor is normally the one shaped into gingerbread people, etc. and frosted with piping. Our family only made small round cookies. You do what you want, however.) That said, I'm going to tell you to do something completely different. Find a SQUARE cookie cutter (and you'll thank me later for this, too) I got lucky and found one at Michael's, the craft shop.
Anyway, take the sheets of dough, neatly rolled out and already cut into shapes, and stack them up on a cookie sheet and then, you can put it in the fridge overnight.
Next day, the dough will be stiffer and you'll be able to remove any wasted dough in between shapes much easier, if you work fast. And if you used a square cookie cutter, you'll have almost no waste! Working quickly, you'll be able to give them a little space in between on your parchment paper. They don't need a lot of space, perhaps 1/4" or so. Leave the rest of the sheets in the fridge until time to bake otherwise the dough gets soft and a pain to deal with.
Every oven is different, as you know. My oven in S. Utah is gas, but my oven in Ohio was electric. meh I find that 375 degrees seems about right. Because of their thinness, you'll want to keep a sharp eye on them. Normally, about 7 minutes in my oven does the trick. You won't want them in long enough for the edges to start to burn, of course. Bake them ON the parchment paper with the waxed paper removed (you knew this of course, FReepers, but just in case any Daily Kooks are reading). When done, slide that entire sheet of parchment paper on a rack or flat surface to cool. For heaven's sake, don't try to pull them off until they are cool!
Yield: NOT NEARLY ENOUGH
Fair warning, once you make these and others try them, you'll be expected to make them forever. There will be no going back. LOL
Yes, they are a bit of a pain in the pass, but they are beyond delightful. And here is a bit of a quirky thing, FWIW: This is an overwhelming favorite cookie of the male members of the family. Go figure. More than cookies with frosting, sprinkles, chocolate and all the rest. This is the one they grab by the handful and gobble up.
I didn’t forget about you asking for this recipe! Swedish meatball recipe is coming, soon as I find the card.
Thanks ... but in News and Activism?
And yes, I have made this cookie successfully...gluten-free and lactose-free.
My wonderful nephew and his mom (my sister) have these dietary restrictions, so I’ve been experimenting with recipes for the last couple of years.
I used the Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose gluten free flour, added the right amount of xanthan gum, and used Nucor margarine instead of butter.
Don’t know if we have a gluten-free or lactose-free ping list, but if we do, go ahead and alert the usual suspects.
I’ve never made these but I’ve made several thousand cookies and the basic procedure is about the same and here’s my secret. Only use salt free butter. All ingredients including the butter and eggs must be room temp when they are mixed. There... that’s it. I can’t wait to make these. I used to make over 200 cookies every Christmas. I gave most of them away and when I was dieting, I ate zero. But last year I paid the nice lady and her granddaughter across the street to make them and they were wonderful. But my granddaughter and I have to make a few dozen for the fun and I’ll use this recipe. Thanks.
Dashgummit. I’m married already. But ginger snaps with milk! Oh.
Thanks for the recipe - my mother-in-law makes these. Her people are Plattdeutsche Mennonite and she makes a bunch of these for us around Christmas (she is too sick to do so this year). They are delicious.
oh wait - the name sounded the same, but the cookies she makes are like little pellets the size of nickels. Still good and gingersnap-like. Maybe I should see if my wife has that recipe - she has a cookbook from her mom’s church.
I hit Post without resolving The Spice Thing.
Yes, spices are expensive, but your time is worth something, too, and these cookies involve a bit of effort.
Some thoughts to make it easier to bear:
If you live in the western part of the U.S., there is prolly a section of your local grocery store that has very fresh spices...dirt cheap. When I lived in Ohio, I never saw this, nor have I when visiting back east, either. But out west, there is usually a section of the store that has a large rack devoted to the Hispanic market. You’ll find fresh spices, not in jars, but in cellophane envelopes. And these average less than a dollar per envelope.
Around Labor Day, the national chain store Dollar Tree had the most amazing thing: 5+ ounce containers of ginger and cinnamon at $ 1.00. I was dumbfounded, as I’d never seen ginger that cheap. The brand was Baker’s Select and it says MADE IN THE USA on the package! I tried it and it worked excellent. They also had smaller containers of nutmeg
The ground cloves were the only thing I had to get at the grocery store, and I was lucky to find it 40% off.
Now....let me just tell you that the worst place to store your expensive spices is on that lovely spicerack you have in the kitchen. Anyone who knows food will tell you that the minute you grind, slice, chop food, it hastens the end of its maximum freshness. I don’t care what it is. And room temperatures do the same thing.
Therefore, once you purchase your brand spanking new spices, you need to store them properly to get your money’s worth. Room temperature in a hot, busy kitchen is not it. Start to save your small glass jars. (We talk about this on the gardener’s forum all the time, btw) Glass is the way to store things, not plastic. Plastic not only allows moisture in containers, but it absorbs ODORS. You don’t really wanna use broccoli, hot dog, cheese-infused ginger in your cookies, do you???
Once opened, transfer your fresh spices to a glass container and put them in your fridge, where they avoid both heat and light. Label and date, of course, but you should get more mileage out of them.
Did I hit the wrong box? I was typing quickly!
I think Aunt Judith hit that box, from heaven above, to get her cookies maximum traction. LOL
(I thought I hit Culture and Society. I didn’t see the Shameless FReeper Recipe category, heh)
You might be referring to the same cookie, actually. Although our family traditionally made ones about the size of a half dollar and no bigger.
Quick story about this recipe:
When this Italian gal (me) married into a Swedish family, I’d heard about The Cookies and all the stories attached to them. How previous young brides (including my mother in law in her day) were given the recipe, but they never turned out right. Seems some of the older ladies “forgot” to include some of the ingredients, when handing out the recipe. LOL
But the above referenced Aunt Judith was childless, and by the time I met her, a widow. She was one of the most delightful people I’ve ever known. Here she was at 90 years old, asking me to drive her to the local department store to purchase Elizabeth Arden cosmetics. LOL
When she got sick, I was the only one available to care for her, since I had a kid at home, so my job was him. It made me available to help her, however. But her cookies were the “carrot” she used every Christmas to ensure she got visitors via nieces, nephews, etc. Because no one had The Recipe. You had to show up, in person, and be prepared to sit for a couple hours to get Cookies. She was quite dramatic about it, slowly going through her place and ceremoniously delivering them to her visitors. What a hoot!
I assume that she instinctively knew which Christmas was her last. After delivering The Cookies on Christmas Eve, I said “Aunt Judith, are you ever gonna tell me how to make them?” I didn’t expect an answer, because that recipe was a secret. But all of a sudden, she started calmly telling me the ingredients, just as I’ve listed them above. I was so shocked, that I wrote it down on the only thing I had....a small shopping bag from JC Penney. That is exactly how I posted it; from the back of that shopping bag! Sadly, she was gone by the next Christmas.
I was honored to be given something so treasured by the family for so many decades, especially being someone who had married into the family. And not Swedish myself.
And yes, I have the meatball recipe, too. :)
True that. I prefer unsalted butter for baking.
Recipe card bookmark
what a great story! thanks very much and merry Christmas in advance
Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
writing down your recipe now — thank you!
Thank you for telling your touching story.
Ooooooooh. Thank you! There are so many fun homeschool tie-ins in making these cookies....and then to have goodies to eat afterward. This is great.
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