Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Pepparkakor - A big taste punch from a little cookie!
It's September and I'm hearing reports from friends in the Northeast that there is the nip of Autumn in the air. Even here in the desert the nights are getting cooler. It's down in the low 60's at night, although our days are still rather hot for my taste.

Regardless, Autumn flavors are beginning to creep into my cravings. When I popped into a local store the other day I ended up browsing the Halloween section and the "Autumn Decor" sections and dreaming of crisp Fall days, Football games, and all those wonderful so indicative of the season.

So, when I was looking about for my second dish for the homeless project this week, I decided on a batch of Pepparkakor. Pepparkakor is a Scandinavian cookie that is simply beyond delicious. Normally, this is one of those Christmas type cookies, but I think the flavors are even more suited to Autumn. Traditionally, these are cut out in shapes of pigs or goats (depending on region) but I decided to do simple fluted circles for those we'd enjoy at home, and rectangles for those I was sending out.

This cookie is thin and crisp and packs a big taste punch! The spices have quite a bite which makes it perfect for a cool autumn afternoon alongside tea. Ahh, to be be lying in a chaise sipping tea, eating one of these delights and watching the leaves change. Unfortunately, I'll have to just enjoy the air conditioning here in Tucson and content myself with an Autumn leaves screensaver.

For a finish you have two choices: white chocolate dip or powdered sugar. I opted to dust mine with powdered sugar but you can easily melt some white chocolate and dip half of the cookie in the chocolate then allow them to set up on wax paper. Either way, they're superb!

Give this one a try. You'll be blown away by the big, bold taste you get out of these crisp and delightful little cookies.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup
1 tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tbs. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground clove
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper (optional)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tbs. heavy cream or milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar or white chocolate for decoration

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and baking soda until blended. With mixer on low speed, add cream then flour and mix just until blended. Turn out dough onto plastic wrap and form into disk. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll out.

Preheat oven to 375°.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut with 3-inch cookie cutters and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are firm. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate with powdered sugar or melt white chocolate in microwave and dip each cookie.

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