In my continuing quest for a really rockin Gingerbread recipe I came across Pepparkakor from Relish. Pepparkakor is a Scandinavian version of gingerbread cookies. And guess what? They also use a pig cookie cutter as a traditional shape. I really must have been on to something when I bought that pig cookie cutter.
This particular Pepparkakor recipe is from Finland. I chose this one because I thought the lack of molasses was interesting. The recipe says that it results in a chewy cookie, but mine were happily quite crisp. How could the cookie not be crisp when you are supposed to roll them out to 1/8 inch thick? I was unable to get them that thin, and they were still very crisp.
Even though I couldn't roll the dough as thin as I was supposed to, my cookie yield was insane. I was only supposed to get 3 dozen, but I got about 4 and a half!!! Not including all the baby heart and squirrel shapes I got from the scraps. Yikes.
The dough was very sticky and hard to work with. I had to refrigerate it between each rolling. The rolling was also very difficult as my rolling surface was parchment paper. See I made these cookies before I got my swanky rolling mat for Christmas, which I love really bunches and bunches.
The parchment paper just kept slipping across the counter. That was the main reason I couldn't get the dough rolled out so thin. I did as best as I could, but getting the cookies even was pretty tough. I just told myself that it would give people a choice of how crisp of a cookie they wanted. Crisp, or Super crisp...able to leap into your mouth in a single bound!Here is a batch of the cookies before I frosted them. Yeah, I don't know what the deal was. They were all pockmarked! I don't know what happened. I don't think they were supposed to look like that at all. Gingerbread is supposed to be smooth, at least in my book they are. These just plain ugly lookin.
How did they taste? Well, they were ok. They were greatly improved by the addition of cream cheese frosting. Yeah, I used the stuff in a can. I wasn't feeling ambitious. Besides, I haven't had the best luck with frostings and I was not wanting another thing I made to turn out underwhelming.
I did not take a picture of the decorated cookies. My frosting skills are not any kind of good. I made big messy stripes on the pigs and big wonky pointy snowflakes on the circle shapes. The little cookies we just dipped them into the can...or at least I did when no one was looking. When they were looking, I used a knife. I have to let people (read my husband) think I'm sorta civilized.
There are no plans to make these cookies again. They just weren't the cookie I was searching for. I think I was really missing that molasses taste that you expect with a ginger cookie. They were fun to try and were a good test of my kitchen patience. You see, in the past when the dough stuck like this dough did I would have cried and scrapped the whole thing. This time I had the presence of mind and forethought to stick the sticky dough in the fridge. I'm growing and evolving. Hurry, someone sing the Mr. Rogers' "I'm proud of you song."
Pepparkakor from Relish
3 cups butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups vegetable shortening
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 teaspoons each ground cardamom, ground coriander seed and ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
3 cups water
Cream butter, shortening and brown sugar together in a medium bowl, beating until fluffy. Add spices; beat well. Add baking soda, salt, flour, cider vinegar and just enough water to make a smooth, pliable dough. Roll into a ball. Chill 30 min. Preheat oven to 375F. Press ball into a disk and roll out on a lightly floured board, to about 1⁄8" thick. Cut into shapes; transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet, placing cookies about ½ to ¾ " apart. Chill dough in between batches. Bake 7-10 min, til lightly browned. Cool on pan 2-3 min. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks. Decorate.