If I had to use one word to sum up what Norwegian Christmas taste like, that one word would be “pepperkake”. Pepperkake, or literally translated, pepper cakes, are by far the most commonly eaten Christmas cookie in all of Norway. They usually end up in stores by early November and are eaten until the New Year. Pepperkake are served with coffee, tea or especially gløgg – a spiced drink served warm ,with or without alcohol.
In Norway, making homemade pepperkake is a welcomed event on most people’s holiday calendar. Pepperkake are normally formed into hearts or other shapes with the help of a cookie cutter. This recipe can easily be doubled or also be used to make a pepperkake hus, or gingerbread house.
This pepperkake recipe calls for inverted sugar syrup, an ingredient uncommon in most U.S. kitchens, but quite normal in kitchens all over Europe. Buy inverted sugar syrup online via Amazon or in stores which sell European baking ingredients (lys sirup in Norwegian).
- 450 grams (3 cups) flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground clove
- 200 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
- 100 ml (1/3 cup) heavy cream
- 100 ml (1/3 cup) inverted sugar syrup (such a Lyle's Golden Syrup)
- 150 grams (2/3 cup) butter
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, black pepper, ginger and clove into a large mixing bowl, and set aside.
- In a medium sized saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and syrup. Stir and warm on low heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, add in the cream to the sugar mixture and stir.
- Once combined, add the sugar to the flour mixture. Stir until throughly combined.
- Place the dough into the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or approx. 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the bowl and cut it into four large sections.
- Using one section of dough at a time, roll the dough out flat and cut it into shapes using a cookie cutter.
- Place the cut-out cookies onto a parchment paper lined baking tray and cook in the pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes. When the cookies are slightly brown around the edges, they are done.
- Place the baked cookies on a rack to cool. Once cool, eat and enjoy!