Pepparkarkor or Pebernodder are the best ever spiced cookies. While they look different they are similar, with the main difference being that the Swedes (pepparkarkor) like their biscuits thin and crisp in a variety of shapes with or without icing, while the Danes keep it pretty simple and roll them into little round nuts. While the ingredients are essentially the same – ginger, pepper, spices like cardamom and cloves – Dan and I agree that the texture differs slightly depending on the shape. Though this is a minor detail. We both agree though that one is never quite enough and before you know it, you’ve finished an entire tin.
These biscuits are the ultimate Christmas cookie/biscuit to me. I remember heading happily to IKEA in the month of December to pick up a box of Annas Pepparkarkor in KL. In Denmark they are often served with coffee (the many cups had all day) throughout the month of December and is a must have whenever we visit.
In fact the one year my mum went home for Christmas without me, as a surprise she packed a 1kg bag of pebernodder just for me. Unfortunately they were being really strict with the weight of her luggage and what weighed precisely 1kg that was cheap and not strictly necessary – according to my mother? The pebernodder. Clearly my mother does not have her priorities right.
Aside from being yummy, part of the reason I love these cookies are because they are so easy to make and if you make a large enough amount of dough, the longer it sits in the fridge – the better the flavours get! Trust me when I say these cookies are definitely worth making – even if it is just to leave your home smelling of Christmas as they bake. And once you have tried them, make sure you have them with Glogg/mulled wine – you’ll thank me later.
250gm plain flour
175gm dark brown sugar
75ml double cream
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp hjortetaksalt – baking ammonia
I substituted it with
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sodium bicarbonate
1. Melt butter and add sugar.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the melted butter and sugar to the mix.
3. Mix these ingredients till well combined.
4. Gradually add the cream to the cookie mix and mix well.
5. Allow to rest overnight so the flavours can really set in. (You can freeze it as well and use at a later date)
6. If you want to make shapes with the dough, then roll them into 5-6cm balls and keep overnight. If you want to make little nuts then roll the dough so that it is about 1cm in diameter and store.
7. If making shapes, roll dough till about 2mm thick and cut shapes out. (Make sure you put flour on the surface so it does not stick or roll directly onto baking paper like I did)
8. If making nuts, roll 1-1.5cm diameter size balls and space out on a baking sheet.
9. Shapes take about 8 minutes to bake at 190 degrees Celcius, while the nut shaped cookies take about 10 minutes at 190 degrees celcius – or till cookies are a dark brown colour.
They have a different type of crunch with baking ammonia, but given that it is not the easiest to find the baking soda and sodium bicarbonate substitution does just as well. It is not exactly the same but they still taste good.
Some people like to add nutmeg to the cookie – I have tried that previously but honestly could not taste the difference with my unrefined taste buds.
You can make this with light brown sugar/white sugar, you will get a much lighter cookie. I really like the flavour that you get with the brown sugar.