Founder of Nordic Kitchen Stories and food enthusiast, Louise Hurst, shares the recipe for her traditional pepparkakor cookies that are sure to inspire your Christmas baking.
In the December 2021 edition of enki, we feature a full-length interview with Louise in which she alludes to the “amazing aroma” of these delicate, crisp cookies that are baked in their hundreds in every Scandinavian home. This recipe was passed down from her grandmother who used to set aside a day to bake these fragrant gingersnaps to give to all the family in the festive season.
Pepparkakor – Swedish Ginger Thins
These delicate cookies are very simple to make but fresh spices are crucial to the taste. Cardamom seeds are available to buy online, then grind yourself for the best results. It might surprise you to know that these ginger thins are truly delicious topped with a slice of creamy blue cheese, such as gorgonzola or St Agur.
Makes approx. 100 cookies
250 g unsalted butter
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 level Tsp Ground Cloves
1⁄2 Tbsp Ground Ginger
1⁄2 Tbsp Freshly Ground Cardamom
180 g Caster Sugar
40 g Golden Syrup
60 g Molasses (Black treacle)
75 mls Water
500 g Plain Flour
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of soda
Blend the butter and all the spices in a large bowl.
Heat the sugar, molasses, golden syrup and water until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes and pour over the butter mixture. Cool to room temperature.
Blend the flour and bicarbonate and the stir into the butter and sugar mixture. The mixture is fairly loose but it’s now going to be refrigerated for roughly 8 hours, divide into 4 and wrap in clingfilm. This dough can be kept in the fridge for a week or frozen for up to a 3 months.
Oven 190°C fan. Take only a small amount of the dough from the fridge and lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough 2mm thick. Stamp out your shapes with your chosen cookie cutters. With the help of a thin bladed knife, transfer them carefully to lined baking trays. Bake once you’ve filled a tray. Bake the biscuits for 5-6 minutes, they will become really crisp as they cool. Store in an airtight container for several weeks. The dough will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.
If you would like to ice your biscuits, take 30g of royal icing and add a small water until you have smooth paste that you can pipe with. I make the icing in batches as it begins to harden fairly quickly.
*If you are making Christmas decorations remember to make a hole for the ribbon or string to go through. Do this as soon as they come out of the oven, I use the tip of a very small piping nozzle.
Photography: Portrait by Marta Wasielewska; Food by Louise Hurst
You can find all recipes at Nordic Kitchen Stories online. Also, look out for Louise Hurst’s brand newScandinavian Christmas e-book that is due to be launched soon – be sure sure to follow her on Instagram or online to be the first to get the news on the release date.