Betty’s Swedish Pepparkakor

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Pepparkakor are the most traditional of all Swedish Christmas cookies. The fragrance of these cookies, along with their attractive appearance, combine to make them a vital part of the Christmas celebration. Each family, or at least each village, in Sweden seems to have its own version of this recipe. This was my mother’s, or perhaps my maternal grandmother’s.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dark corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons soda
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cloves

In a large bowl cream the butter. Beating continually, gradually add sugar. Beat in the egg and corn syrup. Dissolve the soda in the warm water and add to the butter mixture. Mix well. Sift the remaining dry ingredients together. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix well. Chill for several hours.

Take a small portion of the dough and roll it out until very thin on a lightly floured board. Cut cookies with a floured cookie cutter and place on greased cookie sheet. The cookies can be decorated very simply with a small piece of almond placed in the center. Or they can be sprinkled with various colored sugars. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes, or until done. Place on wire racks to cool and store in tight tins. Yields approximately 4 dozen medium-size cookies.