The other most common Christmas goodies here are these Pepper Kakor/ Pepper cookies. There are boxes and boxes of these in all the stores and super markets. And the stores are offering samples of these to customers, people are buying them or making them in bulk to eat and distribute among friends and relatives.
These cookies are paper thin, very crisp and almost melt in the mouth once you chew it. With significant flavors of spices like Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves and with tastes of sweetness, salt and heat from the pepper, they are quite interesting. And let me warn you – they fit into the 'can't stop eating, one after the other' category!! I halved the recipe below, and it was quite sufficient for us – half the dough still lies in the freezer, and there are still some more baked cookies left over too – in spite of eating them constantly!! So it makes quite a huge batch.
Svenska Pepper Kakor / Swedish Spice Cookies
Preparation time: ~10 min + ~20 min + resting time
Baking Time: ~10 min
Adapted from: Many sources on the net
- Sugar – 1 ½ cups
- Shortening - 1 cup
- Egg - 1
- Molasses - 2 Tbsp [I omitted this – see notes]
- Vinegar - 2 Tbsp
- All Purpose Flour - 3 cups
- Baking soda - 2 tsp
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Finely ground Cinnamon - 1 tsp
- Finely ground Cloves - 1 tsp
- Finely ground Ginger - 1 tsp
ground pepper - 1 tsp [I also used a little chili flakes for extra
- Mix sugar, shortening, egg, molasses, and vinegar together well.
- Sift together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
- Mix the two together.
- Cover in a cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight
- Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two or three large baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Roll out the biscuit dough with a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 2mm thick. [The thinner you roll it, the crisper the biscuits will be – but if the dough gets too thin, the biscuits will be tricky to transfer to a baking sheet – see notes for why mine are shaped so badly]
- Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack while you repeat the rolling, cutting and baking until all the dough is used up.
- If you find that the cooled biscuits are still a little soft, you can always pop them back in a 150°C oven to dry out.
- Cool completely and store in airtight containers – they stay fresh for several days – apparently even a couple of months.
- This dough freezes well, so you can mix a batch and freeze half for later use.
- Since I didn't have molasses, I just omitted it. I should have substituted honey for it. Since the binding of the dough was thus less, rolling and cutting out shapes was quite difficult for me – as I wanted them real thin like in the stores. It took a lot of juggling to do it, so I simply pinched out marble sized balls of the dough and pressed them flat on the baking tray and with a rolling pin, rolled them thin. That explains the uneven circles!