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RECIPE | Pepparkakor Or Swedish Ginger Snaps Cookies

Last Updated on November 28, 2017 by Leyla Kazim

RECIPE | Pepparkakor Or Swedish Ginger Snaps Cookies

Pepparkakor: the irresistible Swedish ginger snaps

If you’ve ever stepped into a supermarket in Sweden (the food section in your local Ikea will provide the next best alternative) you may know about pepparkakor. They’re a much loved Christmas cookie, but I like to enjoy them all year.

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, the description will – very thin and very crisp dark spiced ginger biscuits, also known as ginger thins or ginger snaps. I picked up a couple of boxes when visiting Stockholm over Easter, one for home and one for a gift. Turns out I ate most of both boxes as it’s almost impossible to ignore their unique texture and mildly fiery flavour.

They’re not like any other cookie I’ve encountered – incredibly light and completely void of moisture lending to their unmistakable crispness. And those who did get a chance to dip in a paw before I managed to scoff the contents of both boxes thoroughly enjoyed them for the same reasons.

Short of having to drive to Ikea every time I want to re-stock, I soon realised the only solution would be to find a recipe and make them (regularly) myself.

The elusive pepparkakor ‘snap’

After quite a bit of research, it turns out achieving the signature snap in this Christmas cookie favourite is a challenge. There are online stories of bakers making dozens of batches with varying degrees of ingredients, still unable to claim victory over the elusive and unique texture.

Suggestions involve excluding any fat whatsoever in order to remove all moisture. Others say bake the ginger biscuits for longer at a lower temperature. Further advice speaks of using very strong and unfamiliar raising agents for the tough dough.

Well, I found a recipe and a process that read right to me. I tried it, and I nailed it first time. If you want to achieve the same texture and flavour as those boxed Swedish ginger thins, use this recipe.

Check Out: Recipe For Gluten-Free Hazelnut And Coffee Cookies, With No Butter!

RECIPE | Pepparkakor Or Swedish Ginger Snaps Cookies

This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine (November 2011) and is an absolute corker. It is also incredibly quick and easy to make the dough – the majority of your time will be spent rolling and cutting out the individual ginger biscuits.

The recipe suggests this makes about 80 biscuits but I end up with double – I suspect I roll the dough half as thin as the recipe has. So if you do in fact want 80, I would half the below ingredients. Or you’ll end up with 160 biscuits filling up two large Tupperware boxes. Not a bad situation to be in, in my opinion. Keep them airtight and they’ll last you for as long as two people with an average biscuit intake would need to eat them.

A Recipe For Pepparkakor, Or Swedish Ginger Snaps Cookies

Makes 80 (or around 160 very thin ones as in the pictures)

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown soft sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses or black treacle
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk

How to make pepparkakor dough, the perfect Christmas cookie

RECIPE | Pepparkakor Or Swedish Ginger Snaps Cookies

Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in bowl. In the meantime, heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat until melted.

Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the foaming subsides and the butter is just beginning to brown. Turn off the heat.

Whisk in all the spices and then add the brown sugar and molasses to the butter mixture. Whisk to combine until the sugar has melted and you have a smooth mixture. Add the egg and yolk and mix again with the whisk to combine. You should have a dark, sticky, smooth and glossy mixture.

Pour this mixture into your bowl of flour and combine with a spatula until you have a dough – don’t over work it. Cover the bowl with cling film and keep in the fridge for the butter to firm, at least an hour.

Rolling out pepparkakor ginger snaps – why not make gingerbread men!

RECIPE | Pepparkakor Or Swedish Ginger Snaps CookiesAdjust your oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 130C (fan). Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper or silicone paper.

Break off a portion of the dough and with your hands mound into a round and squash down. Take a rolling pin and slowly roll it out – if the edges are dry and crack, smooth them out with your fingers and continue rolling slowly.

If any of the dough sticks to your rolling pin, just reverse the roll to remove it and join it back to the main mass.

Roll them about as thin as 1mm – don’t worry, they do rise a little in the oven. Use a small cookie cutter to cut out your shapes. You can choose whatever you want – simple circles, stars, or even gingerbread men.

Carefully lift each biscuit and place on your baking trays – leave a slight gap between each as they do expand slightly. You will fit about twenty per baking tray. Gather up the remaining dough and join with the rest of the mass. Break off another portion and repeat the process until all your dough is used up.

RECIPE | Pepparkakor Or Swedish Ginger Snaps Cookies

Baking pepparkakor Swedish ginger biscuits

Place one tray on the upper rack and while it’s baking, roll out and fill up your next tray. After 15 minutes or so, transfer the partially baked top tray to the lower rack and rotate 180 degrees.

Place your second tray of biscuits on the upper rack. When your first tray is done, remove from the oven and transfer each biscuit to a cooling rack. Bring the top tray down to the bottom shelf, and continue this rotation until you’ve cooked all your biscuits. The ginger snaps are done when they are hard to touch and just darkening around the edges – around 15-20 minutes.

 The dough can be refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to one month if you want to get ahead. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping. Let frozen dough thaw overnight before proceeding with the recipe.

Settle down on a comfy arm chair in the evening with half a dozen pepparkakor, a glass of cold milk and a good read. I’m sold.

Have you ever made pepparkakor and if so, how did it go? What’s your favourite type of Christmas cookie? Would you use gingerbread men cutters for this, or another shape? If you’ve tried making these ginger things, let me know in the comments below!

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Leyla Kazim
Leyla Kazim

Spending most of my time either eating or travelling. Constantly in awe of nature and on a mission to seek the joy in every moment. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you all!

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  1. Suzanne
    December 24, 2022 / 04:27

    These cookies are solidly entrenched in our Christmas traditions. This is the 5th year I’ve made them for Christmas and each time has been perfection. The only problem is that I cannot only eat one! We love the intense spice flavours and snap of the cookies. Today I had a 3 year old helper. Won’t say it’s the most kid-friendly dough but she still loved helping.

  2. Cathy
    February 14, 2022 / 23:57

    I made these last year and they turned out great. I rolled them very thin and gave them away. They praised them! I am about to make them again and again I will ship these to a friend. A few may be left behind for me! Your instructions are great. I have followed your tips and instructions totally. Thank you so much!! I looked for a recipe to make these for a long time. I finally came across yours. Yours is PERFECT

    • Leyla Kazim
      March 1, 2022 / 13:09

      This is *so* wonderful to hear Cathy, thank you!

  3. Shareen
    January 11, 2022 / 14:56

    I miss living in Sweden and missed these so much at Christmas time. So happy I found this recipe! They were amazing and everyone loved them. It’s almost mid habit and I made them again from a batch of dough I kept in the freezer. Thank you so much for the recipe 🙂

    • Shareen
      January 11, 2022 / 14:59

      Oh jeez autocorrect… ***it’s almost mid January…***

    • Leyla Kazim
      March 1, 2022 / 13:13

      This is so great to hear Shareen, thank you!!

  4. Ioana
    November 13, 2021 / 15:23

    So I just tried this recipe, the dough ended up way too crumbly, I couldn’t stretch it at all, crumblier than a quiche dough…I couldn’t even roll it in my hands to make a ball. So I just pressed between my fingers and created thicker 4 cm rounds, left them for about 15-20 min at 180C and they turned out ok. The surface cracked a bit, yhey look cute, the taste is IT. It tastes just like the ikea thins, though the spiciness is higher in this thickness. But it’s fine, I’m having them with tea in the morning. So my guess is maybe the eggs weren’t large enough, maybe I should have just added the whole 2 tiny eggs I had. It was too late after it spent time in the fridge. But I will try again, this was easy. Thanks!

    • Leyla Kazim
      November 17, 2021 / 10:45

      So glad you enjoyed these Ioana! You’ll end up with a crumbly biscuit dough that does stick together with a bit of help, it shouldn’t be stretchy at all. It sounds like you did well!

    • Enna
      January 1, 2022 / 18:24

      I did this! What happened with mine was I cooked some of the eggs by accident so I just had like strusel crumbs. Maybe you put the eggs in when the mix was too hot? The second round I made came out fine.

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