Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Swedish Pepparkakor Cookies

Tis the season for cookie exchanges and baking cookies; one of my favorite traditions with the girls! And without a doubt, Pepparkakor is our family favorite. This swedish ginger cookie is similar to a ginger snap, but much more mild, like a gingerbread that is thin, crisp and not extremely sweet (one reason I like them so much). This recipe is so delicious, you won't be able to stop eating them! And when I say they're easy to make, I mean EASY! The dough is so forgiving and a breeze to work with. My friend, Anna, shared this with me several years ago and we've been making it ever since.

Photo Credit: stephskardal

Pepparkakor Cookies

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 T. milk (or water)
3 T. molasses
1 egg

3 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves

Combine butter and sugar...

Add molasses...


and egg; combine well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour...

baking soda, salt, and spices...

then add to sugar and butter mixture...

mixing well...

Refrigerate dough for about an hour until it is chilled. Then roll out and cut with your favorite shapes...

Bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes depending on how crisp you want them!

Cool 2 minutes and remove to a cooling rack. Then decorate as you like; or you could just eat them right there on the spot, like I often do. I have to hide them from my husband or they'd be gone in a day! Did I mention they freeze nicely so you can bake these ahead of time?

I am particularly fond of antique and vintage cookie cutters, but I hesitate to use them for actual baking because I don't know where they've been and how clean they are. Quality tin cookie cutters must be washed in very hot, soapy water and dried immediately to prevent rusting (tutorial to follow soon on another post). Often, the older cookie cutters are beginning to show signs of rust, thus my hesitation.

My solution has been to order quality handmade, reproduction cookie cutters. My favorite company is The Victor Trading Company. Most of their shapes are designed from old historical cookie cutters that they have reproduced (indicated by an * on the design). Having the tin plate behind the cookie cutter gives the shape and handle extra stability. The only drawback is that you can't see through it to see where you are cutting. However, I found that the type without the tin plates eventually break due to the stress on their joints. I want my cookie cutters to be a family tradition that are handed down someday! (For more information on Tin Cookie Cutters, see Gregory LeFever's article)

Keep in mind that you will pay quite a bit more for one of these handcrafted cookie cutters - you won't find any $1.99 models available. However, long term, these are worth the money. I just pace myself and buy one or two a year. The funky tree and snowman above are from The Victor Trading Company. (Just ordered a new reindeer and angel last year since mine was worn out - they were not from VTC but the new ones are!) I'm pretty sure I got the snowflake and heart-n-hand from Gooseberry Patch, but sadly, they aren't carrying this type of cutter anymore.

Photo Credit: melynda.huskey

Hope you are crafting some wonderful Christmas traditions and creating beautiful family memories this year!


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