Pepparkakor

Christmas in Sweden might not arrive if these spiced cookiesin shapes of gingerbread folk, hearts, and the beloved Christmas pigweren't on the scene. To follow the Swedish tradition, roll the cookie dough thinly.

Yields:
36 cookies
Prep:
30 mins
Chill:
2 hrs
Cool:
45 mins
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Pepparkakor

Ingredients
1/2
cup sugar
1/2
cup mild-flavored molasses
1/4
cup shortening
1/4
cup butter
1
beaten egg
1
teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2
teaspoon ground allspice
1/2
teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4
teaspoon salt
1/4
teaspoon baking soda
1/4
teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4
teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2
 
Finely chopped, slivered, or sliced nuts (optional)
Icing:
1
cup sifted powdered sugar
2
teaspoons meringue powder*
1/8
teaspoon cream of tartar
3
tablespoons cold water

Directions

    Cookies:
  1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, molasses, shortening, and butter. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat; cool for 45 minutes.
  2. Add egg, cinnamon, orange peel, allspice, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, cardamom, and cloves to saucepan, stirring well to mix. Add flour, one-third at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  3. Divide dough in half. Wrap and chill dough for 2 to 24 hours or until firm enough to handle.
  4. Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside.
  5. On a well-floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-to 5-inch cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes. If desired, make a small heart cutout in the center of larger gingerbread men. Place on prepared cookie sheet. If desired, top with nuts, pressing lightly.
  6. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 5 to 6 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
  7. Icing:
  8. If desired, in a medium mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, meringue powder,* and cream of tartar. Add 3 tablespoons cold water. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until mixture is combined; then beat on medium to high speed for 5 to 8 minutes or until mixture forms stiff peaks. (If mixture seems stiff while beating, add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Icing should be fairly thick for piping. For a thinner glazing consistency, stir in a little more water after beating.) Spread cooled cookies with thinned icing. When not using, keep tightly covered to prevent it from drying out; keep refrigerated. Makes 36 cookies.

From the Test Kitchen

Look for meringue powder at kitchen, cake-decorating, and crafts shops.

Nutrition Facts

(Pepparkakor)
    Per serving:
  • 132 kcal cal.,
  • 4 g fat
  • (2 g sat. fat,
  • 14 mg chol.,
  • 59 mg sodium,
  • 22 g carb.,
  • 0 g fiber,
  • 2 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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