Pepparkakor (Swedish Thin Ginger Cookies)

Christmas Cookies from Around the World....round three!  These get 5 of 5 stars!!

SWEDEN

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Yes - they really do have pepper in them!  The closest thing I can compare these cookies to are ginger snaps.  You know, the really hard kind your Grama used to buy that came in that boring brown bag.  Except these are way better.  I used a drinking glass to cut out my cookies, but the next time I make these (and there will be a next time) I'll make them smaller (2 bite instead of 4 bite cookies).  These were a hit all around, with my mom even claiming to like them better than our traditional gingerbread we've made since I was a teeny babe.  The cookie that birthed decades of homemade gingerbread houses.  Sacrilege.  Tradition people!  But seriously, these cookies are most definitely going to be a part of my annual Christmas baking for years to come {though they will never replace my beloved gingerbread...keep your eye out for that recipe!}.

These cookies are traditionally eaten on St. Lucia day.   And all I know about that is Kiersten (aka the American Girl doll) celebrated it. And they wore white dresses & a crown of candles on their heads.  Sounds festive enough to me, but that's beyond today's post.  Tradition says you should make a wish & that then place a Pepparkakor cookie in your palm and then use your other thumb to press in the center.  If it breaks into three pieces then your wish comes true.  If not, well, you get to eat a broken cookie.  

Pepparkakor Cookies (Swedish Ginger Thins) 
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2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter
4 TB ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg & 1 large egg yolk

  1. Preheat oven to 300*F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, & salt together.  Set that aside.
  3. Measure out the spices, sugar, and molasses in preparation for step 5.
  4. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until its melted, then lower heat to medium-low and continue cooking while stirring frequently until the foaming stops and the butter begins to brown.  Remove from the heat
  5. Whisk in all the spices, then add the brown sugar & molasses to the butter mixture.  Keeping whisking until all of the sugar is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  6. Add the egg & extra yolk and whisk again to combine.  The final result is a dark, smooth, and glossy mixture.
  7. Pour the butter mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. 
  8. Mix with a spatula until all flour is combined - don't over mix!
  9. Cover the dough & refrigerate for at least an hour (up to 2 days is ok too - that's what I did!), allowing the butter to firm.
  10. Line cookies sheets with a silpat or other non-stick liner. 
  11. Break off a chunk of the dough & slowly roll it out pretty thin. I made mine about 1/4cm thick which made for a perfectly crisp thin cookie.
  12. Use a circle cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut out cookies.  Repeat this process until all the dough has been rolled & all the cookies cut.  Continue combining all the leftover dough after rolling out each set of cookies until all the dough has been used.
  13. Bake each tray for 15 - 20 minutes.  The cookies will puff up a bit in the oven, but aren't ready until they have thinned back out & begin to darken at the edges. (My gas oven was an exact 20 minutes)

Adapted from The Cutlery Chronicles

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies (mine were ~2 inch circles - a smaller circle cookie cutter would certainly produce more, though a shorter cook time may be necessary)