Pepparkakor are the thin Swedish ginger cookies, like the ‘annas’ brand ones you can get at Ikea. In Sweden there are over a dozen brands, and this time of year they are ubiquitous. They are a common accompaniment to glögg and are surprisingly good with blue cheese, even if it sounds weird.
Good pepparkakor is well-spiced, buttery, and very very thin. This is a challenge when rolling it out, because it needs to stay cool so that it will stay together, and you need some flour to stop it from sticking to everything. BUT! Too much flour and the cookies will be tough instead of crispy. You can make all kinds of shapes, but with very crisp cookies the spidery arms and legs and julbok horns snap off, so it is more common to find hearts and flowers. It is a lot of work to make good pepparkakor , so most people just buy them since the factory can make nice looking ones that are very thin. However, store ones never taste as good even if they have butter and good spices, and you really pay through the nose for good ones (that is saying something in Sweden). There is also something very nice about making pepparkakor of your own, especially if you can make a social event out of it.
This past weekend when we went to Stockholm we visited my work buddy Per to make pepperkakor with him using his grandmother’s recipe. It was great, and Graham will post about it soon.