Pepparkakor are thin and crispy Swedish gingersnaps. These cookies are traditionally eaten in December in Sweden with a cup of coffee or some glögg. Enjoy!
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One of my favorite parts of December is making Swedish Gingersnaps, called “pepparkakor” in Swedish. These classic Swedish Christmas cookies are thin, crispy, and spicy–and hard not to love. And while the dough can be a bit tricky to manage at first, once you get the hang of making these cookies it’s easy.
I have wonderful memories of making these cookies with my mom. Hers always came out so perfectly. Mine were always a little thicker and more flour filled! Practice, practice. I will say I have gotten better over the years!
One of the best parts of making this dough as a child (and now) is taking a few tastes of the raw, egg-free dough! Pure bliss on a spoon! My mom used to tell my sisters and me that eating “pepparkakor” dough made children nice. I think it did! We were pretty happy. (And I see my own kids react the same way these days when I ask if they want to taste the dough.)
- Chill dough for at least one night. This dough needs to be chilled in the refrigerator overnight before it gets rolled out.
- Consider making a half batch. The full recipe makes a lot of cookies, about 300 according to the recipe I adapted it from (I have actually never counted)! Consider making a half batch if it’s your first time making pepparkakor, you don’t need or want a lot of cookies, or to simplify the dough making process.
- The dough will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more. So if you decide to make a full batch or want to make a few dozen cookies at a time, you can always pull it out again on another day. (I never make the whole batch in one day!)
- If you make the full batch: Unless you have a Professional Standing mixer similar to this one, I would still “process” half of the dough at a time so that you don’t overwork it.
- Be patient. Once you start rolling out the cookie dough it will take some time to get it just right. It should be quite thin. Don’t be afraid to add flour as needed to prevent it from sticking.
- Standing mixer.
- Clean workspace for rolling out the dough.
- Rolling pin.
- Pastry scraper.
- Cookie-cutters of various shapes and sizes.
- Cookie sheets.
- Parchment paper.
- Lyles Golden Syrup – available at most standard grocery stores
- Patience and holiday spirit! 😉
Pepparkakor (Swedish Gingersnaps)
- Standing mixer
- Cookie cutters
- 300 grams unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks + 5 tablespoons)
- 2.1 cups sugar (2 cups + 2 tablespoons)
- 7 tablespoons syrup (I use Lyle's golden syrup; don't use maple syrup) (just under 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 13 tablespoons water (3/4 cup + 1 tablepoon)
- 6.1 cups all purpose flour (6 cups + 2 tablespoons) (you could also use half white whole wheat flour if you wanted)
For Rolling out the Cookies
- extra flour as needed
- Add all the ingredients, except about 1 cup of the flour, to the bowl of a large standing mixer. (Note, unless you have a professional size mixer, mix together 1/2 batch at a time so that you don't overwork the mixer). Mix on low to medium speed until well combined.
- Empty the dough onto a work surface and add the last bit of flour. Form into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least one night.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and let warm up a bit.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Working on a lightly floured work surface, take a small chunk of the dough. Knead it a bit and form it into a ball. Roll it out until it’s very thin (thinner than your average sugar cookie). Every now and then lift the rolled dough up from the table and make sure it’s not sticking to the work surface. Add a little more flour to the work surface or rolling pin as necessary.
- When the dough has been rolled thin, use the cookie cutters to press out shapes. When you have filled the dough with shapes, peel away the surrounding dough. Transfer the cut shapes onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 3½ to 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on the cookies as they can burn quickly.
- Let the cookies cool a bit on the baking sheet and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool more. They should be thin and crispy when cooled.
- Repeat with the remaining dough. Wrap any unused dough in plastic and transfer it back to the refrigerator for another day.