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Every single Christmas season my mother’s mother, Grammy, would make the most delicious Swedish Pepparkakor cookies. For the uninitiated, pepparkakor is a thin, crisp, spicy molasses cookie that is a little like gingerbread, but SO much better.

My grandparents on my mother’s side were as Swedish as they come, coming from long lineages of Andersens and Gustafsons and all of the holiday baking was authentic.

When our family moved to Florida the Christmas pepparkakor became harder for Grammy to make because of the humidity, but she always had a heaping plate of them at every Christmas and New Year’s celebration.

She always half-apologetically would mention how they weren’t thin enough or crisp enough, but to me they were perfect. Because it was a piece of who I was, who we were, that no perfection could add to or take from. We were Swedes, and it was the holidays. And that was enough.

But as time marched on she became less strong, developed an allergy to gluten, and started to become forgetful. And with that part of our Grammy went the pepparkakor.

And then two years ago, at Christmastime, her body decided that it had enough. Her mind had been in a happier place for some time, and right as my we arrived back in Florida to visit, she fell ill.

We spent Christmas Day saying goodbye, watching her as she held lightly to this world. The next day she left us.

So I share this recipe with you in her memory. As a way to let her live on in this tribute.

It seems only fitting that this year when I made it, it came out perfect.

Spicy. Thin. Crisp. Everything Grammy would have been proud of. What she always wanted to make for us.

This year it’s for you, Grammy. I love you!

Here is Grammy’s Swedish Pepparkakor Cookie Recipe:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You can use a hand mixer or stand mixer as you prefer.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and dry spices if you are using. If you are using essential oils instead, do not add in this step.
  3. To the creamed butter and sugar add the essential oils (if using instead of dry spices), egg, and molasses. Mix until completely combined.
  4. On slow speed using your mixer add the flour mixture little bit by little bit until combined completely. The mixture will look very dry. This is very normal. Do not add any additional liquids.
  5. Roll out a piece of waxed paper and the put the dough on the paper, pressing to form into a disk.
  6. Wrap in the waxed paper and chill overnight in the fridge.
  7. The next day, flour your clean workspace and cut your pepparkakor dough into pieces.
  8. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a very thin layer, about 1/8 of an inch thick. Do not be tempted to make it thicker. They won’t be as good.
  10. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough, and then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. This is very important, otherwise your cookies will stick.
  11. Re-roll extra scraps of dough and keep making cookies until you feel happy with how many you have.
  12. Bake in your oven for 6-8 minutes, then remove and allow to completely cool. Then store in an air-tight container.

Grammy’s Swedish Pepparkakor Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 drops Ginger Vitality essential oil or 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 drops Cinnamon Bark Vitality essential oil or 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 drops Clove Vitality essential oil or 1 tsp ground cloves

Instructions

  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You can use a hand mixer or stand mixer as you prefer.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda and dry spices if you are using. If you are using essential oils instead, do not add in this step.
  • To the creamed butter and sugar add the essential oils (if using instead of dry spices), egg, and molasses. Mix until completely combined.
  • On slow speed using your mixer add the flour mixture little bit by little bit until combined completely. The mixture will look very dry. This is very normal. Do not add any additional liquids.
  • Roll out a piece of waxed paper and the put the dough on the paper, pressing to form into a disk.
  • Wrap in the waxed paper and chill overnight in the fridge.
  • The next day, cut the Dough into 4 pieces.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a very thin layer, about 1/8 of an inch thick. Do not be tempted to make it thicker. They won’t be as good.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut the dough, and then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. This is very important, otherwise your cookies will stick.
  • Re-roll extra scraps of dough and keep making cookies until you feel happy with how many you have.
  • Bake in your oven for 6-8 minutes, then remove and allow to completely cool. Then store in an air-tight container.

Notes

Makes approximately 100 cookies

So that is my special holiday memory for today. Thank you for sharing it with me!

If you choose to try this recipe out, would you please come back and let me know in the comments how yours turned out? Merry Christmas!

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