Finnish Gingerbread Cookies

Christmas cookies are one of my favorite things about the holiday season. A few days ago I read a NYTimes article about the traditional Finnish gingerbread cookies, Piparkakut. The ingredients included, orange zest, cardamom, and black pepper. Being an intense gingerbread lover, I was officially intrigued. I decided to make these festive cookies for a Christmas party I’m going to tonight and spent most of today slaving away making them. That’s a lie, I loved every minute. 🙂

Piparkakut

Adapted from the NYTimes

Ingredients:

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Butter or cooking oil, for greasing cookie sheets
  • 1 egg white
  • Raw sugar, for decorating

Preparation:

1. Heat the butter, sugar, molasses, spices, pepper and orange zest over medium heat, constantly stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour into a large bowl and cool until tepid, about 20 minutes.

2. Add the egg, salt and baking soda and beat well to combine. Add half the flour and beat until barely combined. Add the remaining flour and beat until barely combined. The dough should be sticky but manageable; if it is too wet, add a little flour. Form into a large ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough in two. Place one half on a floured work surface, and sprinkle a little flour on top. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough to between 1/16- and 1/18-inch thick. Sprinkle flour on work surface as needed to prevent sticking.

4. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Arrange about 1/2 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Beat egg white with 1/4 cup water and lightly brush on the cookies. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until cookies begin to darken around the edges. Let cool one minute before transferring to racks to cool. Gather leftover dough, roll it out again, and continue to cut out and bake the remaining dough.

Yield: About 7 dozen medium cookies.

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