This is an article about the Scandinavian style ginger thins or Pepparkakor as we call them in Sweden. After some research for ginger thins and gingerbread biscuits I realise that there are many names to this cake and it can also mean a more thicker biscuit than the typical Swedish pepparkaka in some countries. So in this hub I will call them pepparkakor or Swedish thins so there is no mistake of what I mean!
Swedish Thins are very traditional to eat in Sweden during Christmas time. Although we eat them all year around they are on of the things that I must have during Advent and Christmas time to get that special Christmas feeling.
Swedish Thins are delicious as they are but they can also be eaten in many other different ways and you can combine them with other flavors to get new and sensational taste experiences!
But first a little history about Swedish Thins or gingerbread biscuits!
In Sweden we call this biscuit "pepparkakor" which in English is ”pepper cookies”. The name has its origin from the 1400s when the cookie came to Sweden for the first time when the recipe really contained pepper! There are different stories about the origin of this cookie and it may origin from Germany. One of the first gingerbread cookies in Sweden is said to have been baked by nuns in Vadstena convent in Sweden where pepparkakor was used as drugs for various diseases. And since the cookies were really spicy and contained ginger, cardamom, honey and pepper I guess they were pretty healthy to eat. These spicy cookies were sold in pharmacies and were used as remedy for many different conditions like diarrhea, constipation, depression, cholera, toothache and all kind of symptoms and disorders. Nowadays there are normally no pepper in the gingerbread cookies and we eat them only because they are so tasty and easy to eat!
There are many different varieties of pepparkakor or gingerbread biscuits in Europe. They can be hard, soft or chewy depending on the recipe and the country.
This is an old Swedish recipe for Scandinavian-style Thins or Gingerbread biscuits that I got from my mother:
The Scandinavian thins are also said to make those who eat them in a better mood so they become nicer! We often say: take some pepparkakor so you will be nice! This is an old myth that have remained since 1490 when the King in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Kung Hans, was ordinated gingerbread biscuits to ease his bad temper. Since the myth still remains I guess the cure must have been successful!
Other fun traditions
The gingerbread biscuit is also used as a children's game as a ”wish cookie” that have remained during the centuries. At first it was a game used to wish Christmas gifts but now it is a game to wish something else. Do like this: Put a cookie in you open palm and push it in the middle. If it breaks in three different parts you may wish something that you want to come true. But you must keep the wish silent to yourself or it will not happen at all!
We have a special day for this biscuit: ”Pepparkakans Dag” that occurs December 9! The day is dedicated to gingerbread cookies because of the long history and tradition this cookie have in Sweden.
- 300 gram butter
- 200 gram brown sugar
- 200 gram sugar
- 1,3 cup or 3 dl cream
- 1,3 cup or 3 dl syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1,3 kg flour
- Mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, cream and syrup or molasses to a smooth dough, preferable in an electric beater
- Mix the spices and add them to the dough
- Add the flour, little at time and work the flour into the dough. If you don't use an electric beater you can work the flour into the dough by hand.
- Cover the bowl with plastic rap and let it rest in refrigerator at minimum over the night. If you want, you can also leave it to rest for a day or two.
- Take out the dough and cut out a piece that is enough for you to work with to start with
- Let the rest of the dough rest in the refrigerator until you need a second piece. This will prevent the dough to get sticky. Take out shapes in the dough and put the cookies on a cold oven plate to avoid bubbles in the cookies.
- Turn the oven to 200 °C.
- Roll out the dough very thin, 3-4 mm thick
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 4-5 minutes or so depending on your oven. Watch them because they will get burn very quickly!
If you want lactose free cakes: replace the butter with milk-free margarine
If you want them to be gluten-free: You need to use 1/4 more gluten free mix than the required amount of flour. You also need to add 1 egg for every 3,4 cup (8 dl) flour you use to the gluten-free mix.
The biggest event where Swedish Pepparkakor are tradition is Advent, Lucia and of course Christmas!
We bake them in traditional forms like hearts, stars, pigs, gingerbread men and gingerbread women!
The traditional way to eat them during Christmas time is gingerbread cookies served with coffee or glogg. You can read more about Glogg here!
I must share some great ways to serve Swedish Thins in ways that will give you a new and sensational taste to your Swedish Thins! The recipes are easy to do and you can do them just before you light the candles and heat up the gloegg!
Combine Swedish Thins with blue cheddar!
Pepparkakor are sensationally tasty combined with Blue cheddar. Do like this:
Mash 200 gram Blue cheese with 200 gram Philadelphia cream cheese.
The cheese will be enough for about 25 gingerbread cookies.
Put a tablespoon of cheese on a gingerbread cookie, add another gingerbread cookie and press gently.
More spicy busciuts
If you want to try more hot Swedish Thins you can try this recipe when you bake gingerbread cookies:
Dust with extra fine ground chili pepper over the cookies before baking them. Remember to be very careful with the chili pepper and make sure it is only a very small amount on each cookie.
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on March 16, 2014:
Hi Kalmiya, Quite similar piparkakku and pepparkaka! The scent is wonderful and a bit special, just like the taste. Thanks for reading and I appreciate the comment,
Kalmiya from North America on March 13, 2014:
My mom used to bake these cookies when I was younger and I love the aromatic scent. As Finns, we call them piparkakku. Great with coffee. Thanks for the hub!
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on March 01, 2014:
Thank you Daw for the tips about the Swedish restaurant in New York! I will check it out if I go to New York. Interesting to hear that Swedish food is special to visitors as well and your memories of Swedish food. Thanks for the comment,
Daw on July 28, 2013:
Mmmmm .love Swedish food. My Swedish dad didn't cook that often when I was a kid but when he did it was always sotmiheng Swedish. My especial favourites of his are:(and please excuse the spelling!)janssens freskelsehe (sp??)herrings with potatoes, dill and sour creamsilsaladbeef alla lindstromrisgrynsgrot (at christmas)home made sweet cucumber pickleshomemade green tomato pickleslingonsyltvarious types of aquavit and snaps Yum! I think for a lot of visitors to Sweden Swedish food is a real revelation. I've met several people who were just blown away by it. It's not famous outside Sweden (although people eat a variation of it when they go to IKEA) but it's really unique and yummy.BTW- if you ever go to New York there is a well known Swedish restaurant there called Aquavit. The chef there is a genious.
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on February 10, 2013:
Hi adity5, I hope you will try the recipe and that you like them! Thanks for reading!
adity5 from Incredible India !! on February 08, 2013:
I love cooking...Thanks for the recipe. Will try them out :)
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on December 09, 2012:
Hi, Kate and thanks for telling me! I am so sorry you had trouble with this recipe, I haven't used this recipe for some years now but I checked with my sister who does everything according to tradition and she normally don't use any creme at all! I will change the recipe as soon as I can. Thanks again and sorry for the inconvenience, I am glad they tasted good though! Tina
Kate on December 06, 2012:
Hi there. I tried this recipe and whilst they taste delicious, the cookies did not hold their shape at all. I wonder if I did something wrong? I followed the video but this seems to be different to the actual recipe i.e. no cream. Do you have any advice?
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on August 29, 2012:
Hi Tom! It is so good to know that you liked this hub and I hope you will try the recipes too. Take care my dear friend and thanks for the votes too!
Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on August 19, 2012:
Hi my friend, great delicious hub enjoyed reading it ! Well done !
Vote up and more !!!
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on July 05, 2012:
Hi I'm and thank you so much for the comment and for pointing out that some things needed to be clarified. I made some changes in the recipe and hope it is easier to understand now! I guess there are many different syrups but the syrup I use is organic syrup made from cane sugar. It means ground cinnamon and ground ginger. I do hope you try this recipe and that you will like them!
im on July 05, 2012:
Hi-these sound amazing, and i would love to try them. I'm just wondering, could you tell me what kind of syrup, and what is 'mald ginger' and 'mald cloves'. I'm not familiar with these names. Thank you. x.
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on March 10, 2012:
Hi acaetnna, I am so glad to hear that and I hope you father will like them too! Thanks for the visit and for the generous comment,
I hope you have a great weekend
acaetnna from Guildford on March 08, 2012:
i so enjoy cooking and your hubs are always so amazing. My father absolutely adores ginger and I shall definitely give these recipes a go. Thank you Tina.
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on February 24, 2012:
EuorCafeAuLait, I have never heard about the word pogens before, how interesting, I will check it up! I am so glad to hear that you can buy Anna´s Ginger cookies in Crotaia as well, I hope you enjoy them and eat many of them, especially during Advent. Thanks for reading and for the interesting comment!
Anastasia Kingsley from Croatia, Europe on February 23, 2012:
Hi Tina, These cookies are really tasty, I remember eating them in the U.S. where they were called pogens, if I remember correctly. You may be surprised to know that Anna's ginger cookies are available in Croatia as well. Thanks for passing along the recipe and some of the history behind the culture, like Dec 9. Voted up and awesome.
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on January 13, 2012:
Hi Susan, it feels great to share a recipe with you since you are the talented one when it comes to baking and cooking! I am not so good in the kitchen but I love to do traditional things like these before Christmas. Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment!
Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on January 13, 2012:
Tina, Thanks for this recipe. I love ginger snaps, gingerbread cookies and can't wait to try your recipe.
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on January 11, 2012:
Hi Maygrace, there are many different recipes on pepparkakor and I have collected a few during the years. It is fun to try another recipe now and then but every family usually have a traditional recipe that is regarded as the real! Thanks for your comment and I hope you like this one if you try it! Nice meeting you!
Maygrace from Maine on January 11, 2012:
This is a different recipe than the one my grandmother brought over with her. I find it interesting. Though, I love mine, I might try yours. Thanks. :)
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on December 18, 2011:
Thank you Eiddwen for the up and for being a supportive hub friend! Take care of yourself during this coming week. The week before Christmas can be so busy:)
Eiddwen from Wales on December 17, 2011:
I really liked this hub and it has to have an up up and away here.
Take care and enjoy your weekend.
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on December 11, 2011:
Hi vocalcoach, I am glad to see your happy face! Ginger tea sounds interesting, thanks for the tips, I will give it a try. I wish you luck with the Swedish thins and hope you like them as much as me. Hot chocolate and pepparkakor are so tasty! Thanks for reading and the vote vocal, it means a lot to me!
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on December 10, 2011:
I love ginger! I buy ginger root in the supermarket, boil it and drink the tea. Very good for you. These cookies look so good. I must try them all. And will wash them down with some nice hot chocolate. Thank you for your delicious hub. Voted UP!
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on December 09, 2011:
RTalloni, I would be glad to:) But if you want them before 13 of December I guess it is best you bake them! Here we can buy the dough in the store and just amuse ourselves baking them. Pepparkakor is a "must have" during Advent and Christmas. I hope you try this and since you like ginger cookies I know you will love these:)
It is so good to see you and I appreciate your comment!
RTalloni on December 07, 2011:
Oh wow, these look wonderful! The 9th? Do you ship overnight to overseas addresses? ;)
I seriously love ginger cookies and these would be delightful to eat or share. Perfect music in the video for my love story with gingerbread cookies.
Voted up and bookmarked.
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on December 03, 2011:
Alastar, I hope you get the chance to try pepparkakor! They go so well with gloegg or mulled wine ore a cup of coffee. I love the smorgasbord and the desserts too and it is what I look forward to most of all during Christmas. There is nothing that can compete with good food with the family! Thanks for the vote and your positive comment Alastar,
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 03, 2011:
Tina I really liked how you mixed some history with the Pepparkako cookies. Going to show this recipe to the resident dessert cook around here-haha! They'll like this one too. When I was in Scandinavia one thing I always looked forward to was the smorgasbord and desserts. Some friends still send some sweets and cookies every Christmas from Germany..the ones in the decorative cans. Thanks Tina, Yum! Yum!
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on November 30, 2011:
Alicia, blue cheese with ginger is so tasty! I love it, but my husband doesn't, so I guess you either like it or not:) We usually serve gingerbread thins in different ways so it will suit everybody. I always appreciate your comments and I hope you find your favorite!
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on November 30, 2011:
Movie Master, It is a great combination even though it may sounds a bit strange! It is my favorite way to eat them. I hope you dad will like them too! Thanks for the vote and the comment, I appreciate your support MM!
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 27, 2011:
I love foods with ginger in them and these cookies sound delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipes as well as the myth and traditions. Blue cheese with ginger is a very interesting combination - I'm looking forward to trying this. Thanks for the video, too. I'm going to read you hub about Glogg now - I love the name!
Movie Master from United Kingdom on November 27, 2011:
I like the sound of these biscuits with the blue cheddar!
I am going to make some of these for my dad, he loves ginger, thank you for the recipe, voted up
Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on November 27, 2011:
Hi jfay2011, yes these cookies are great to coffee or hot chocolate too and to eat them with a glass cold milk is heavenly! That is the best thing with them, so easy to eat and combine with many different tastes. Thanks for your visit and your comment, I appreciate both!
jfay2011 on November 26, 2011:
those sound really delicious. I love a good spice cookie to dip in coffee or hot chocolate. thanks for sharing.