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RECIPES > Pepparkakor – Swedish Gingerbread

Show: Global Celebrations

recipe text copyright © Ulrica Söderlind

The dough needs to chill overnight, so start a day ahead of time.

Yields: about 100 medium-sized cookies

1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tablespoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup water
13 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
4 and 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

In a heavy-bottomed medium pot, combine the sugars, molasses, spices, and water and bring to a boil while stirring. Add the chunks of butter. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the butter is melted. Pour the hot liquid into a large metal bowl.

Whisk the flour and baking soda until well-blended, then pour into the hot liquid, stirring until a dough is formed. Shape the dough into a loaf and wrap in plastic wrap and then foil. Chill overnight.

If you don ´t want to bake all of the dough at once, cut off only as much as you need from the loaf and then return the wrapped loaf to the refrigerator. You may have to let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or more so that it warms up enough to roll out. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Roll the dough out on a lightly-floured board with a lightly-floured rolling pin. The thinner you roll the dough, the crisper the cookies will be. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and place on the baking sheet.

Bake about 10 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown. Remove cookie sheet from then oven and transfer to a wire rack. The cookies will become crisp as they cool. When the cookies are cooled of it is time to decorate them with icing in different colours. The icing is made from water, icing sugar and drops of colouring essences.

When completely cool, cookies can be stored in airtight plastic bags or metal tins and should keep several weeks.