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Sharing a Family Favorite Cookie

December 14, 2015
By Donna Erickson , OVParent

It's cookie-baking season, and with so many tempting possibilities in magazines and online this time of year, I'm inspired to try something new, but inevitably fall back on favorites that my family has baked for generations. One of them is Pepparkakor, a Swedish ginger cookie.

The thin spice cookies are a tradition in Sweden and often made in circle, star and heart shapes, sometimes with a hole at the top for stringing and hanging from a Christmas tree, mantel or kitchen windowsill. They are especially enjoyed during the celebration of Santa Lucia Day, Dec. 13.

There's an abundance of Pepparkakor recipes, some using molasses to give the cookie a dense, gingerbread-y flavor. Our family prefers this one that comes from my great-aunt Lil's 1940s recipe collection. Light and crispy, the flavor is so satisfying, no wonder she wrote in the margins, "Varldens Godaste," or "World's Tastiest."

Article Photos

Before you begin, set out your supplies so kids can easily grate, measure, stir and roll as you assist. Let them go through your spice drawer as well, and check expiration dates to ensure that your cinnamon, ginger and cloves are fresh - then get baking!




Makes 8-10 dozen 2-inch cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon dark corn syrup

1 egg

Juice and grated rind zest of one orange

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add dark corn syrup, egg, orange juice and zest. Beat well.

3. Stir in dry ingredients gradually, mixing until blended.

4. Divide the dough in half, shape into flat disks, cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator, roll out thin (about 1/8 inch or less) on a floured pastry cloth or parchment, and cut into shapes with 2-3-inch size cookie cutters. Place the cutouts on prepared baking sheets. (Use a straw to make a hole at the top for hanging, if you wish.) Repeat with second disk.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set. Remove from oven, and let stand for a few minutes. With a thin spatula, transfer to cooling racks, and cool completely before storing.

Donna Erickson's series "Donna's Day" airs on public television nationwide. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."



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