Pepperkaker are thin, crispy cookies, with a touch of spices consumed during Christmas in Norway.
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Pepperkake means pepper cakes. Unlike the gingerbread cookies that are very popular in Europe, these cookies have ground black pepper, which gives it a touch of spiciness.
Pepperkaker is one of the oldest cookies in Norway, they have been baking them for about 400 years.
Spiced Christmas Cookies
These cookies have a mixture of aromatic spices that make them irresistible at tea time (or before lunch 😬😋)
The spices for these cookies are ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground black pepper. If you have the possibility to grind the pepper and clove just before using it in this recipe, I recommend it! The smell and taste are incomparable.
Another particular ingredient for these cookies is something called invert sugar.
Invert sugar is a syrup that is very commonly found in baked goods, pastry products and candies made with chocolate, as it helps maintain the flavor and adds moisture to the food.
I found a good recipe if you want to make it from scratch, Invert Sugar Syrup. Hani explains how it is made and what effect it has on baking.
If you don't have time to make it or to order it online, you can replace it with corn syrup and that is what I'm using for this recipe.
This dough starts the day before by heating the butter, with the sugar and corn syrup or invert sugar. Remove from heat and add vinegar and baking soda.
Wait for about 2 minutes and add cream. Some recipes make this step different, heating all these ingredients together.
To this mixture, the spices are added and then allowed to cool. Once cool, add the flour little by little.
The dough is sticky, but after resting all night in the refrigerator, it is firm enough to roll it out.
These pepperkaker are traditionally cut in a heart shape and served without icing. But of course, if you want to use another cutter and decorate them there is no problem.
The flavor of these cookies intensifies as the days go by. Some people make them at the beginning of December and serve them at Christmas time. They didn't last a week at my house! 😅
More Christmas Cookies
- Anise Seed & Guava Thumbprint Cookies
- Almond Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
- Brown Butter Spice Cutout Cookies
Recipe adapted from North Wild Kitchen
This month I'm joining a group called, Eat the World. This is a great group that virtually travels around the world together, enjoying traditional foods from various countries; it is hosted by Evelyne of CulturEatz.
Check out all the wonderful Christmas/holiday dishes and sweets prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
Pepperkaker (Norwegian Christmas Cookies)
- 1/2 cup butter (115g)
- 1 cup sugar (100g)
- 1/3 cup corn syrup or invert sugar (79ml)
- 1/3 cup whipping cream (79ml)
- 1/2 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 2-3/4 cups flour (352g)
- In a medium saucepan, heat butter, sugar, and corn syrup, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add vinegar and baking soda. Cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat, add cream and spices and let the mixture cool.
- Once cool, add the flour little by little and mix with a wooden ladle.
- Store the dough in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and grease 2 baking sheets.
- Divide the dough into 2 or 4 portions. Working with one portion at the time, roll the dough until very thin. Use a cookie cutter or a small round lid, and cut.
- Place cookies on prepared trays and bake for 10 minutes.
Christmas Recipes Around the World
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Glædelig Jul, Nisser, and Mormor Agnes’ Æbleskiver
Literature and Limes: Makowiec
Palatable Pastime: Danish Asier Pickles
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Lebkuchenherzen (German Cookies)
Evelyne: Oliebollen, the Dutch Doughnut
Loreto and Nicoletta: Sandbakkelse, Norwegian Christmas Cookies
Simply Inspired Meals: Classic Christmas Spritz Cookies
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Bohemian Potato Salad
Making Miracles: Scottish Steak Pie
Margaret at Kitchen Frau: Basler Leckerli, Swiss Christmas cookies