Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pepparkakor (Ginger Thins)

I have a confession to make: I only go to Ikea so that I can stack up on these  delicious crispy cookies & Almondy's Almond Tarta and they're one of those elusive things, like Homemade Oreos, that I'm always planning to make but never get around to.

Faced with a relatively slow day & nothing else to do, I decided to finally look up a recipe for Pepparkakor and give it a try. It took a bit of searching to locate an authentic one here & I adapted it slightly to include orange peel instead of lemon because I wanted to make exactly the kind of cookies I buy from Ikea.

For those who don't know what Pepparkakor is - they are traditional Swedish cookies otherwise referred to as 'ginger thins' because they're very thin & crispy. They're spiced heavier than regular ginger cookies but the spices are not at all overpowering because orange is the major player here.

The recipe yields 10 dozen cookies & I didn't want an inedible disaster on my hands I had to halve it. And since I hadn't planned on baking these cookies, I just had to use what I had on hand and go with it - which meant that I had to substitute molasses for the golden syrup (and cross my fingers that it would work out). But like they say: if something can go wrong, it will. Not only did I add salt to the batter on top of my salted butter, I also misread a step in the recipe and added a tablespoon of cardamom when I should have added 1 tablespoon of cinnamon . .  no use trying to pick out  a spice after it's been added.

There's no deterring me once I get started, so I decided to just go with the flow and prepare the cookie dough. The worst thing that could happen is that my family would hate these cookies & I'd have to eat them all or feed them to the birds. There are fates worse than consuming a batch of cookies not worth eating.

 The dough is very sticky & needs to rest in the fridge overnight. But of course, I didn't have the patience to wait another day before tasting my experiment. So I divided the dough into two, wrapped the discs separately and took one of them out after barely 4 hours of refrigeration. It felt as hard as rock (it's supposed to) & so I figured I would have no trouble with it. I broke off a small bit & rolled it out pretty thin. Got my cookie cutter out & got to work. . so far so good. . and then, I realized it was impossible to lift the cookie shapes off my counter without tearing and ruining them. Too soft, too sticky.

I then broke off another bit of dough and rolled it out thicker. This seemed to work so much better. But, of course, it meant that my cookies would not be as thin and crispy as the original Pepparkakors. But at this point, I didn't care as long as they tasted anything like the real thing.

Since they bake just 7-8 minutes, I didn't have to wait  long to find out & judging from the aromas in my kitchen, I was sure I had nailed it. And how right I was - these cookies were simply wonderful. There was no evidence of my 'accidents' while preparing the dough except for a faintly stronger taste of cardamom. Otherwise, apart from the thickness, these were exactly like the ones I buy which was very exciting for me! The discs of dough are waiting in my refrigerator for a second trial & I can't wait to see if I can make them thinner next time. For now these pair perfectly well with my cup of coffee.

adapted from Anne's Food
(yields several dozen delicious cookies)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/2 tbsp baking soda

150g salted butter (or 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup)
250g sugar (or 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup)
150g brown sugar (or 2/3 c) - the recipe didn't specify so I used light brown

1 egg
zest of 1/2 an orange
150 ml molasses
150 ml heavy cream
4 cups + half of 3/4 cups flour

Day one: 
Sift the flour and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside. 
Mix the butter and sugars,  add in the spices, egg, molasses, orange zest and cream till smooth. 
Mix in the flour till well blended. The dough will be very sticky - divide and roll into 2 or more balls or discs, wrap them in saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

Day two:
Preheat oven 350F.
Take out a ball or disc of dough. Break off a small piece at a time and roll out on a well-floured surface (I can't emphasize this enough - don't be shy & just sprinkle the flour on otherwise this dough will really stick). Roll it till it is about 1/8th of an inch. Cut into shapes and bake 7-8 minutes. Remove & place on wire racks till completely cool.


♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

I lovee thin crisp cookies and wish i could have some with my coffee too:-)

Sage Trifle said...

We don't have an Ikea store here and I've never been to one. So, I've never tried any of their food, although I hear good things about it. The cookies sound wonderful and I respect your perseverance in making them.

chayacomfycook said...

I made a ginger cookie, for the first time, about a year ago and fell in love.

This with its thin and crispy attributes, looks even better.If I find time, I would love to make these.

tina_bakes said...

I love going to Ikea, but never really explored their food section. These look fantastic - perfect to munch at work at tea time with a fav beverage. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Beth said...

There's nothing more satisfying than ending up with a great result after a series of accidents. Congratulations on persevering!

tasteofbeirut said...

I love these cookies too and used to buy the little box called Anna or something; anyway, making them from scratch is a lot better and your recipe sounds delicious.

Sweet and Savory said...

Ginger cookies are the best.

Would you add this to BWD?

Also, please add the blog and remove Comfy Cook. I am using this one instead.

Shelley said...

These look tasty. I have to admit, I love IKEA's cookies as well. Haven't tried these yet, though. I'll have to pick up a box on my next visit. OR not be lazy and make the recipe you shared :-) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Just made these with my daughter because we too only go to Ikea to buy them! They are delicious. Thank you, Jill. X


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