SWE-Dishes: Swedish Pepparkakor

The Cutlery Chronicles

Food & Drink

SWE-Dishes: Swedish Pepparkakor

For many of us, thinking about the holiday season often comes with a smell. Whether it’s the warm, earthy aroma of your mom’s glögg recipe simmering on the stove or the sweet smell of your trademark cookies baking in the oven, the holidays have a smell – and we can’t wait until we start working in the kitchen.

Elisabet der Nederlanden, author of the cookbook, “Holiday Cookies,” gave us a peek into her recipe box with her Swedish Pepparkakor cookies, a traditional Christmas cookie in Sweden.

Try whipping this recipe up in your kitchen this year.

“Thin, crisp pepparkakor are the most traditional Christmas cookie in Sweden, and as a child, I always liked helping to bake them. I still love their traditional shapes: goats, pigs, hearts, stars and gingerbread people. The cookies carry a hint of spice from the ginger and black pepper, but mostly they taste caramel-sweet, and I can’t imagine a Christmas without them. This is how my grandmother made these Swedish classics, and I feel lucky to have her handwritten recipe.”

– Elisabet der Nederlanden

Reprinted from HOLIDAY COOKIES by Elisabet der Nederlanden, copyright © 2017 by Ten Speed Press. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Erin Scott. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


  • 4¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ c. (6 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c. golden syrup*
  • 2/3 c. heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Makes about 72 cookies


3-inch cookie cutter in heart, star, pig, reindeer and/or other holiday shapes


  1. Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger and cloves into a bowl. Whisk in salt and pepper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium for three minutes, until light and creamy. Add the golden syrup and beat until fully combined.
  3. Add the cream and lemon juice and beat until blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture, one cup at a time, beating after each addition just until incorporated.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a large work surface and divide it into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a disk one-inch thick, then wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to two days. (If you will not be using the dough within two days, it can be frozen for up to three months; let thaw to cool room temperature before rolling.)
  5. Position two oven racks, evenly spaced, in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets (and more if you have them) with parchment paper.
  6. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one dough disk until very thin (less than 1⁄8 inch thick). Using the cookie cutter(s), cut out as many cookies as possible and carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1½ inches apart.
  7. Gather up the dough scraps, re-roll and cut out more cookies until you have filled the prepared sheets. Refrigerate any filled baking sheets you cannot bake right away.
  8. Bake the cookies for six to nine minutes, until dark golden brown, switching the baking sheets between the racks about halfway through the baking time. The timing depends on the thickness of the dough.
  9. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for five minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool completely before serving.

*Golden syrup: Although this thick, amber sweetener is a U.K. product, it can be found in the States in well-stocked markets and online. Elisabet recommends Lyle’s Golden Syrup.

© 2023 Swedish Match. All right reserved.

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