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Food Fare: Swedish RecipesPepparkakor

Swedish Ginger Snaps

Place the butter in a large, heat-proof bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the brown sugar, molasses and spices just to the point of boiling. Stir in the baking soda. Pour mixture over the butter and stir until it melts. Beat the egg and mix in; then add the flour one cup at a time, blending completely. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead for about two minutes. Wrap in waxed paper and chill until formed, about one hour.


Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. Roll the dough out onto a floured board, flattening to approximately 1/8" in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with a cookie cutter; place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for eight to ten minutes. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool on racks. Serve.


Note: The Swedish word Pepparkakor translates into "pepper cakes." The first Pepparkakor were known to be honey cakes, flavored with pepper and other spices such as cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and anise. They were imported from German monks at the beginning of the 14th century. Over time, the pepper was eliminated and the honey replaced by beet-sugar syrup. Today, Ginger Snaps can be purchased year-round in Sweden from bakeries and grocery stores. However, many families still bake their own Pepparkakor, and the cookies remain an essential part of Christmas festivities.


Recipe featured in the Ambrosia Cookbook.


*Pepparkakor image (C) Jonik (2004). Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


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