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SPICY GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Spicy gingerbread cookies In Finland, gingerbread cookies are popular at Christmas time. In addition to the traditional gingerbread spices, these cookies are flavoured with coffee and citrus zest.

See another recipe for traditional Christmas gingerbread cookies, which may be decorated with sugar icing.

40 ml dark molasses
125 - 150 g sugar
60 ml freshly brewed strong espresso coffee
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove
1 tsp powdered ginger
(1 ml allspice)
1 tsp grated orange or lemon zest
100 g butter
about 360 g coarse wheat flour
5 g baking soda

Bring the coffee, sugar, molasses, spices and the citrus zest to the boil in a saucepan. Take the pan off the heat and add the butter. Stir until the butter has melted. Let the mixture cool.

Take a small part of the flour and mix the baking soda in it. Mix it into the cooled sugar-butter mixture. Add enough of the remaining flour to get a soft, sticky dough (see the pictures below). You may not need to use all of the flour.

Soft gingerbread dough Arrow Gingerbread dough wrapped in plastic
Wrap the soft dough in plastic
and place in refrigerator to harden

Wrap the flattened dough in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator overnight, for the flour to swell. On the next day, roll out the hardened dough between two parchment papers (thus preventing the dough from sticking to the rolling pin) into as thin sheet as possible (about 3 mm). Remove the top parchment paper.

Cut gingerbread cookies Using fancy cutters, cut different shapes out of the dough (see the picture on right).

Popular Finnish shapes are little men and women, piglets, hearts, stars, half moons, etc. Leave some space between the shapes, as the dough will spread a bit in the oven. Remove the excess dough from between the shapes and roll it out again for the next batch of cookies. If the dough warms up and gets too sticky to handle, put it back in refrigerator for a while.

Transfer the parchment paper and the cookies on a baking sheet and bake at 200 °C for about 4 - 5 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown slightly around the edges. This depends on the thickness and size of the cookie shapes. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve the cookies with coffee or tea, or in the traditional way, with the Scandinavian mulled wine glögg. These cookies may also be used to make gingerbread and blue cheese canapés.

Recipe source: adapted from "Pappilan piparkakut", Vuorenjuuri, Helena, and Martti Vuorenjuuri (1968) Perheen joulukirja. Helsinki: Otava.


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