I was in the one of my favorite stores at lunch on yesterday just browsing, World Market and at the check out there was an open tin of cookies. There were the Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps. I have had these before and they are wonderful. Great because they are not so sweet. I ended up buying a tin for $9.99. I almost wish I had not. While very low in calorie, they are so addictive. These cookies almost melt in your mouth and make you feel like you are eating nothing at all. A serving size is 6 cookies and the calories are about 100. No more will I buy these cookies. Not until Christmas. They are dangerously good! You can make your own. There are recipes for them everywhere. Here is one I found.
Pepparkakor, or Swedish ginger snaps, are more spicy than sweet -- but they are delicious, especially warm from the oven. The dough should be rolled thin to make the eventual cookies crisp. Thinly-rolled dough can be a bit hard to work with in larger shapes; choose smaller cookie cutters for easier handling. In Sweden, the cookies are traditionally cut in heart shapes.
These cookies are often hung on the Christmas tree with short lengths of red ribbon. To make Pepparkakor ornaments, cut a small hole into the cookie before baking. Cool completely before hanging.
· 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into small pieces
· 1/4 cup water
· 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
· 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
· 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
· 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
· 2 cups flour
· 1/4 tsp baking soda
· 2 egg whites
· 1 tsp vanilla
· about 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
Put butter into a large mixing bowl. Combine water, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a saucepan. Heat to boiling; boil 1 minute, stirring. Pour hot spice mixture over butter; stir to melt butter.
Sift flour, measure 2 cups, and sift again with baking soda. Add to spice mixture; stir to blend thoroughly.
Cover dough tightly or wrap in waxed paper or aluminum foil. Chill in refrigerator 12 hours or overnight.
Cut off small, workable portions of dough. Roll each out very thin -- about 1/8-inch thick -- on a lightly floured board. Cut into shapes with fancy cookie cutters.
With a flexible spatula, lift cookies onto greased baking sheet. Bake in a moderately hot over (375 degrees Fahrenheit) about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
(From "Best of Scandinavian Cooking," by Shirley Sarvis and Barbara Scott O'Neil/ Hippocrene Books, 1997.)