For most of my childhood my Swedish family lived in New Jersey and then Texas. But every year we hosted a Swedish Christmas party complete with Swedish mulled wine (glögg) and every imaginable Swedish cookie. To prepare for the party my mom and I would have a cookie baking day each December where we would mass-produce gingersnaps like our lives depended on it. Needless to say, I loved these days, least of all because gingersnap dough is the best dough on the planet.
As an adult living abroad I've come to fully appreciate my mother's determination to carry on food traditions from back home and I've continued the cookie baking on my own. I have a designated day every year when I make boxes and boxes of gingersnaps that I plan on giving to friends and coworkers. Mysteriously, half the cookies disappear before I even get all of them out the door, but that's neither here nor there.
The key to making these perfect, crunchy, spiced nuggets of cookie gold is letting the dough rest overnight. Also, the thinner you roll them, the better they are! Oh and sometimes simpler cookie cutters are better - we can't all churn out spotless cookie Americas (damn you Florida for always burning)!
Swedish Gingersnaps (Pepparkakor)
Makes about 100 cookies
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 egg
- 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, corn syrup and spices. Heat on medium-low, stirring, until butter has melted. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, combine baking soda and water in a glass and stir to distribute. Add to cooled butter mixture along with egg and stir or whisk to combine.
Slowly whisk in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes together and comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Allow dough to rest in fridge overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out 1/2 to 1 cup dough on a clean, well-floured surface to about 2 millimeter thickness (or as thin as you can get it without tearing the dough). Note: Make sure to constantly flour the dough so you'll be able to transfer it still intact!
Cut out cookies as closely together as possible, transfer cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet (placing them about 1 inch apart) and bake until set and golden around the edges, 6-8 minutes. Allow to cool on a baking rack.
Roll together dough scraps, add more fresh dough, and repeat process. until all the dough has been used.
Tip: I make an entire baking sheet of each cookie cutter shape I want to use so that they're all evenly sized and bake at the same rate. If you want to combine different cookie shapes on one baking sheet try to use shapes that are about the same size.