WINTER LOVE PART 6: PEPPERKAGER (GINGERSNAPS)
Part 6 of the Winter Love series is all about dessert! These Pepperkager cookies are yummy with coffee or alone. These cookies have a little kick due to the mix of spices, but the powdered sugar soften the blow with some sweetness. I picked these for the Winter Love party due to the crunchiness of the cooke which helps hold it together structurally so it can hang on a coffee cup without breaking.
6-7 c flour
2 c sugar
3/4 c butter
1/3 c Lyle's Golden Syrup
3/4 c heavy cream
1 T cognac - optional
4 t ginger
4 t cinnamon
2 t black pepper
4 t cloves
1 T baking soda
powdered sugar for decorating - optional
Large Frying Pan
Large Mixing Bowl
Pastry Board & Cloth
Rolling Pin & Cloth Cover
Heart Hanger Cookie Cutter
Cookie Cooling Rack
Makes 3 dozen
Heat a large frying pan to medium and mix in butter, syrup and sugar. Stir until melted then set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and cognac to the cooled mixture. Stir until smooth. Add the remaining spices and baking soda and stir.
Flour comes next, but add a little flour at a time mixing as you go. It will become very difficult to get a smooth dough if too much flour is added at a time. The dough has gotten enough flour once it is well mixed and firm. It is ok if there is flour left over from the 6-7 cups listed in the ingredients.
Cover the mixing bowl with plastic and place in the fridge overnight.
Remove the dough from fridge and let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling and preheat oven to 350°F
Lightly flour the pastry board and cloth and prepare the rolling pin with the cloth cover also covering it with flour.
Roll portions of the dough to a thickness of 1/5 inch and use cookie cutter to cut out hearts.
Bake on baking sheet with parchment paper for 10 to 12 minutes until edges are just slightly brown and crispy.
Cool on cookie rack and store in airtight container.
Gingerbread cookies are famous for being used to make gingerbread men and houses which means they are often served with very detailed frosting and other sweets as decorations. These cookies can however be decorated very simply with a little powdered sugar. Just use a flour sifter to lightly top! Whatever you choose, they most certainly will look inviting and delicious to eat. The heart hanger cookies are great for pairing with coffee or other after dinner drinks and can be hung from the side of a mug for a cute festive treat!
Almost all cookies do just fine in an airtight container out of direct sunlight for some time. If you are cooking ahead however, prepare the cookies and place in a freezer friendly container then freeze up to a few months! My mother in law makes many cookies in the spring and brings them to our family cabin keeping them in the freezer all summer long so that there is less preparation to be done before each trip up north.
If you are in a hurry to make these cookies 2 hours may be long enough for the dough to be refrigerated, but overnight is preferred.
If you do chose to freeze or store the cookies, it may be best to wait and decorate them until before you serve them. This will allow the frosting to look nice and neat instead of chipping off if they get jostled around too much in storage.
You may substitute corn syrup for golden syrup, but the substitution is not preferred. Norwegian light syrup is much different than American corn syrup, however it is not as easily available here. i found Lyle's at my local Hy-Vee and have seen it for sale on Amazon as well.
Watch yourself because the dough will give you sniffles with all the pepper and spices. Don't sneeze in the dough!
Here is the syrup I suggest to be used. It takes much like corn syrup, but is slightly different. I have a hard time describing it really, but I could really tell the difference once my cookies were done.
So I have to admit that I love the idea of lots of sugar and butter. Call it the midwestern, Lutheran upbringing I had. Growing up we pretty much only used salt, pepper, sugar, and butter as our "spices". Everything in moderation of course, but now you all know a weakness of mine. This picture shows the butter, syrup, and sugar all melting together. Note that I made a double batch so your batch may not have such a big sugar mountain in the middle.
All the real spices. :) And yes, there is pepper.
My father in law likes to say the phrase "look at that load of points!"... I feel like it is the only phrase that can describe this cookie dough.
The dough is very firm when rolling out, but the nice thing is that the cookies don't grow in size too much while baking so you can get quite a few on a baking sheet.
The finished product! Yum.