Norwegian Gingerbread Cookies are spiced, snappy cookies that make your house smell divine when they bake. They are perfect for kids and adults to decorate and you can shape them into whatever you please - such as a gingerbread house!
I love this time of year. All the spiced cookies, gingerbread cupcakes, the soft Christmas Men (ahh no, it's cookies, sorry to disappoint), saffron buns for St. Lucy's Day and all the hot chocolate your heart desires. I love any excuse to eat, and now I have a month of excuses. Love it!
However, if you want some cookies that are 'acceptable' to be made all year round, I can recommend these popular banana snickerdoodles or my new favorite white chocolate macadamia nut cookies made with brown butter!
Each year we make a double batch of this recipe. And half is used to make a gingerbread house. We haven't been all satisfied with the gingerbread houses in former years, so last year we decided to try something new. This is much more grand, but our decorating skills are still sub-par so sorry about that.
Norwegian Gingerbread Cookies (pepperkaker)
The Norwegian translation for gingerbread cookies is pepperkaker - pepper cakes. Which is funny, as there traditionally aren't any pepper in them (although many has begun adding pepper to it).
In the old days, to 'pepper the food' really meant to spice it up. Hence the name. And unmarried women should eat the gingerbread men in order to increase their chances of getting a good man. Hah, all the strange things I learn (and you!) by showing you traditional Norwegian recipes.
The Norwegian gingerbread cookies are very similar to other cookies. They absolutely need to chill overnight. Which is the worst part of cookie baking. Other than that, it's a super simple recipe.
Melt butter, light syrup, heavy cream and powdered sugar in a medium saucepan. Cool this mixture a little before adding in all the other ingredients; flour, baking soda, spices. Mix/knead well before covering and chill overnight.
The next day, knead some more and roll out your dough on a floured surface. Roll to 3 mm (0.12 inches) thick and cut out using various cookie cutters. If it's very sticky, you may want to place the dough inside two layers of parchment paper before you roll out. I prefer gingerbread men (Yes, I am technically unmarried but not without a good man, still prefer them though), Christmas trees, stars and snow flakes. Place the cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 175C (350F). Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before cooling them completely on a cooling rack. For gingerbread house parts you may want to bake them for a little longer, but not by much.
Light Syrup and Other Norwegian Goodnesses!
There's one ingredient that isn't that common in the US (I didn't know!). And that is the light syrup (lys sirup in Norwegian). It tastes a little like brown sugar, but one could use corn syrup in a pinch. However, because this is a spiced cookie, I wouldn't recommend corn syrup at all. Maybe you could try light molasses.
BUT, I found the most amazing website for you guys. An online store that sells Scandinavian specialties (no affiliate, just loved it). How about that! So since you will already be ordering light syrup, go ahead and try brown cheese (brunost, my favorite is geitost), NORWEGIAN CHOCOLATE (the best thing ever. Try the Freia Melkesjokolade), Laban Seigmenn (Sweet jelly candy), vanilla sugar and licorice (Skipper, IFA or Tyrkisk Pepper or better yet - all of them).
Apparently licorice is a much bigger thing here in Scandinavia than other places. I didn't realize that until one day I saw (a ton of) youtube videos where Americans try Scandinavian candies. Sorry, this turned out to be about something completely different than Norwegian gingerbread cookies - I was just so excited!
So there you have it. Impress your family and friends with these spiced, snappy Norwegian gingerbread cookies. And remember, the smell when baking truly is divine. If that doesn't give you Christmas spirit, nothing will. For dinner, I recommend this traditional Norwegian halibut recipe with whipped sour cream and a vinegary cucumber salad - so good even the fish haters (like me!) love it!
Get ready for Christmas
- Easy Christmas Chocolate Rice Puffs (risboller)
- Norwegian Christmas Men Cookies (julemenn)
- Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day (lussekatter)
- Peppermint Cream Cheese Filled Truffles
- Orange Hot Chocolate
- Salted Caramel Macarons
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Either in the comment section below, or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don't forget to Pin it for later!
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