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The Second Day of Cookies: Ma's Pepparkaka Cookies

Some recipes are handed down through the generations.

These cookies are a traditional Swedish confection that my great-grandmother used to make for my grandfather and my mom. My aunt, Sue Menton, gave me the recipe a few years ago. These spiced cookies store very well in cookie tins with waxed paper between the layers. The longer they keep the better the flavor becomes.

  • Butter-1/2 cup
  • Sugar-1 1/4 cup
  • Molasses-1 cup
  • One egg, lightly beaten
  • Flour-3 cups
  • Almonds-1/4 cup finely chopped
  • Orange zest from one orange
  • Baking powder1/2 tsp
  • Baking soda-1/2 tsp
  • Ground ginger-1/2 tsp
  • Ground cinnamon-1 tsp
  • Ground cloves-1 tsp
  • Shortening for greasing the cookie sheets
  • Colored sugar or sliced almonds for decorating the cookies
  1. In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, molasses and heat slowly, stirring occasionally until the butter is just melted and the sugar has dissolved.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, chopped almonds, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder and baking soda. 
  3. In a second large mixing bowl, pour the heated liquid, add the egg, and beat with an electric mixer until blended
  4. Add most of the flour mixture, reserving about 1 cup of it and mix until just blended. The dough will be sticky. Add more of the reserved flour if the dough is too sticky, but do not overmix. 
  5. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the cookie sheets and flour the surface you'll be rolling the dough.
  7. Cut the dough in quarters and place one quarter on the floured surface. Stick the rest in the bowl in the refrigerator.
  8. Roll the quartered dough in a ball and begin rolling out with a floured rolling pin. After a few rolls, flip the dough, and add more flour to keep it from sticking. Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thick. 
  9. Use one cookie cutter per baking sheet. Cut out the cookies and place them on the baking sheet. 
  10. Brush the tops of the cookies with milk and sprinkle with colored sugar or sliced almonds. 
  11. Bake for approximately 7 minutes. Keep a close eye on the cookies because they can burn easily.
  12. Remove from oven and let sit for 1 minute, then move to a cooling rack.

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