Traditional Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps Recipe

iced Christmas tree gingerbread

I love gingerbread at any time of year, but it’s particularly special to enjoy ginger biscuits at Christmas time. Pepparkakor (traditional Swedish gingersnaps) are like normal gingerbread, but way better. Pepparkakor biscuits are more spiced than standard gingerbread, and make that signature snap when they are broken. You’ve probably already come across pepparkakor thanks to IKEA who sell pepparkakor biscuits and DIY pepparkakor gingerbread houses at their stores.

Although you could stock up on pepparkakor when you next go to IKEA, it’s much niced to make these Christmassy ginger biscuits at home (or at least I think so) ready for the festive season. You could even use them as decorations for your Christmas tree!


Pepparkakor Dough:

  • 450g Plain Flour
  • 250g Brown Sugar
  • 150g Unsalted Butter
  • 100ml Water
  • ½ tbsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • ½ tbsp Ground Cloves
  • 2 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Ground Ginger
  • ½ tbsp Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tbsp Treacle
  • 2½ tbsp Golden Syrup

Pepparkakor Icing:

  • 225g Icing Sugar
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Egg White
Christmas tree shaped gingerbread

How To Make Pepparkakor Biscuits:

Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Pepparkakor biscuits are traditional Swedish gingersnaps that are enjoyed throughout the year, but especially at Christmas time. To make them, you start by making the spiced dough which you knead and cut into different shapes.

  1. Crush the cardamom pods

    Crush the cardamom pods and empty out the seeds, then through away the shells. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the seeds until broken up.

  2. Mix the butter, sugar, golden syrup and treacle in a large saucepan

    In a large saucepan, mix the butter, sugar, golden syrup and treacle. Heat the mixture gently over a low-medium heat and stir until all the butter has melted.

  3. Add in the spices and bicarb, mix until combined

    Take the saucepan off the heat and add in the cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Mix thoroughly until all the spices are well distributed in the mixture. Add in the bicarbonate of soda and mix until well combined.

  4. Add the water and mix in.

    Add the water to the mixture and stir thoroughly.

  5. Stir in the flour

    Sift the plain flour and stir into the mixture until well combined.

  6. Leave to rest overnight

    Place the mixture into a new bowl, cover with cling film and leave it in the fridge overnight. Even better, leave it a couple of days or even a week.

  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C

    Preheat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6, fan 180°C or 400°F). Greese two baking trays and line with parchment paper.

  8. Roll the dough

    Take the bowl out of the fridge, remove a small portion of dough onto a floured surface and return the bowl back to the fridge. Knead the dough a little to soften it, then roll it out using a rolling pin until it is a couple of mm thick.

  9. Cut into shapes

    Using biscuit cutters, cut the dough into different shapes like hearts, Christmas trees, diamonds and circles.

  10. Place on baking trays

    Carefully lift the biscuits onto the baking trays then place in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Pepparkakor biscuits cook very quickly, so the first batch you need to watch to prevent them from burning and to work out what the ideal baking time. For example, mine was 6 and a half minutes.

  11. Place biscuits on a wire rack to cool

    Once cooked, place on wire racks to cool. Remove a second batch of dough from the bowl and cut into shapes, then place them on the baking trays and into the oven to bake. Repeat until you have used up all of the dough.

  12. Make the icing

    Whisk the egg white in a large bowl using a hand mixer until it is light and frothy. Sift in the icing sugar one tablespoon at a time, mixing it into the egg white as you go. Pour in the lemon juice and beat the mixture until it’s stiff and white.

  13. Decorate your pepparkakor biscuits

    Spoon your icing into a piping bag, then pipe the icing onto your biscuits to decorate them. Get creative with your designs to make them look festive!

Once decorated with icing, it’s time to enjoy your festive pepparkakor biscuits! Or if you are able to stop yourself from eating them, thread ribbons through them and use them to decorate your Christmas tree! Don’t forget to pin this recipe so you can make this traditional Swedish gingerbread each Christmas time.


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