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Holiday Recipe: Swedish Gingerbread Cookies

Emma is a Swedish university student and fiction writer with a particular love for language and the written word.

A batch of freshly baked gingerbread cookies.

A batch of freshly baked gingerbread cookies.

The holiday season is upon us, and for many families, that means it's time to get baking. For most people here in Sweden, pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) are an absolute Christmas must. "Pepparkakor" means "pepper cookies," an odd name since there is no pepper in them.

Here is an easy-to-follow recipe for how to make them yourself. They're not difficult to make, but they do require some patience. The dough needs to sit for an extended time, and because the recipe yields a lot of cookies, the baking process can take quite a while.


  • 250 grams margarine or butter
  • 2 decilitres syrup, golden or light
  • 4 decilitres sugar
  • 2 decilitres water
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Barely 1 tablespoon cardamom, ground
  • 1 tablespon clove, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1 tablespoon sodium bicarbonate
  • 13 decilitres flour, and additional flour for the baking


  1. Melt the margarine or butter with the syrup on the stove.
  2. Measure the sugar in a mixing bowl with all the spices. Add the melted fat-syrup mixture and stir. Add the water and stir again. Let the mix cool to room temperature.
  3. Mix the flour with the sodium bicarbonate and stir this into the batter. The consistency will be rather loose, and it will eventually expand. Work the dough with a wooden fork.
  4. Let the dough rest in the refridgerator for 1-2 days, in either a well-covered bowl or (which I think is better) a plastic bag with a lot of room since the dough will rise.
  5. Grease or place a baking sheet on a baking pan (or several).
  6. Knead the dough lightly, then roll out a small piece at the time. If you spread a bit of flour on the baking surface, and your rolling pin, getting a nice, flat spread that will easily lift off of the surface is much easier.
  7. Use cookie cutters, preferably seasonably shaped ones, to cut out cookies and lift them onto the baking pan.
  8. Bake the cookies at 200-225° Celsuis for about 3-6 minutes. For smaller, thinner cookies you really don't want to bake them for more than 3 minutes and you want to keep a close eye of them because they'll burn fast. For larger and/or thicker cookies, allow a bit more time but still keep an eye out.
  9. (Optional) Cookies may be decorated with icing, though personally I find them just as good without.
Gingerbread cookies before going in the oven.

Gingerbread cookies before going in the oven.

If you try this recipe, let me know! I hope you enjoy these homemade Swedish gingerbread cookies.

© 2016 Emma Lindhagen