Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pepparkakor

A few years ago I really wanted to learn more about my heritage and one of the ways I tried to do that was through food.  My mom's side of the family is Swedish so I was a little wary about what foods I was going to find.  Little did I know I would discover a cookie so perfect it would make all other cookies irrelevant.  (I may love gingerbread a little bit more than the next person.)

I would like to introduce to you Pepparkakor.  Traditionally, the dough is rolled thin, cut into shapes, and hung on a Christmas tree like ornaments.  I chose to use a giant cookie scoop and turn this velvety dough into spicy, chewy pillows from heaven.



The first Sunday in Advent is ONE week away, and I really think it's about time to get in the holiday spirit.  The Christmas season can be exhausting for church employees and it's crucial to keep up our morale.  As the children's programming director at our church, I host an advent workshop each year with lots of crafts, games, and activities on the first Sunday of Advent.  I start planning the workshop in September, so by the time it's over I'm definitely in need of some spicy holiday cheer.

It's important to set the mood for this recipe, so turn on your favorite holiday album (I have a mix of Straight No Chaser, She & Him, Michael Bublé, and Mercy Me that never fails), and get your ingredients together.

Pepparkakor
Yields about 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350º.

Put your butter and sugars into a large mixing bowl.


Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, cream them together until fluffy.


Add your molasses and beaten eggs and mix well.


In a separate bowl, combine your flour, spices, baking soda and salt.


Add the dry ingredients to the wet 1/2 cup at a time, mixing slowly so the flour doesn't fly all over your kitchen.  When it's all combined, it should look something like this gorgeous, pillowy soft goodness:


This is always where I make the mistake of trying a pinch, just to make sure it's good and I didn't miss anything.  I end up putting a generous scoop in a little ramekin to save for later so don't snack my way through a full dozen.  


I use a 1 1/2" cookie scoop.  If you use a smaller scoop or divvy your portions by hand, you will want to adjust your baking time.  


I love these cookies for their spicy yet buttery flavor and the way you can feel the grains of sugar when you bite into them.  If you want to add to that texture, roll your dough in granulated sugar before placing them on your baking sheet.

Bake 10 minutes for chewier cookies, or a little bit longer if you want some crunch.


There is no bad time to eat these beauties.  Saturday morning soccer is a tradition in our house (yes, after less than a year it is absolutely a tradition), and I plated a few to have with coffee for breakfast while watching the intense Liverpool vs. Everton match this morning.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!