Swedish Gingerbread

While my memory serves me, and before winter expires, I’m chronicling some of the more memorable holiday baking I did. Hopefully this will make next year easier, unless I decide to reinvent the wheel, like usual.

We did a couple of things this Christmas to celebrate my family’s Swedish ancestry, including a family gathering that spotlighted Swedish Christmas food. I had clipped this recipe from a Saveur magazine years ago, but hadn’t yet made it, so it was finally time. There were a lot of desserts at the gathering (that’s how we celebrate!) so I was surprised to see that so many of these delightful cookies had been eaten. I worried that the amount of cloves would deter the kids, but quite the opposite: it made them distinctive and delightful. I can’t wait to make them again. A new Christmas favorite! Saveur reports getting this recipe from an 80-year-old bakery in Stockholm called Vete-Katten. Worth a visit!

swedish gingerbread saveur

Swedish Gingerbread Cookies

34 c. flour
3 t. ground cloves
12 t. ground cinnamon
12 t. ground ginger
14 t. baking soda
11 T. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
12 c. golden syrup or dark corn syrup
12 c. heavy cream
2 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 egg white, lightly beaten

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and baking soda; set aside. In another large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup using a handheld mixer set to medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, 1–2 minutes. Add the reserved spice mixture and the heavy cream in 3 alternating batches, beginning and ending with the spice mixture, until the dough just combines. Transfer dough to a work surface, divide in half, and shape each half into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour. (Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, and in fact, we still rolled some out 5 days later, and they were great.)
  2. Heat oven to 350°. Unwrap 1 disk of dough and place on a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 1⁄8″ thickness. Cut out cookies using the cookie cutters of your choice and place cookies 2″ apart on parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, rerolling scraps. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until browned and set, about 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
  3. To make an icing, if you like, whisk confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and egg white in a medium bowl until smooth. Transfer icing to a resealable plastic bag (or a pastry bag). Snip off a bottom corner of the bag and pipe icing onto cookies in a decorative pattern.

Pink and White Pinwheels

Pink and White Pinwheels
These pretty and simple little cookies were the perfect addition of color and shape for our Christmas cookie collection last year. Planning to make them again this year! This recipe is a slight adaptation from Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters, where this cookie was originally a chocolate and vanilla pinwheel (you can make it chocolate by adding 2 oz. melted bitter chocolate to one-half of the dough, instead of red food dye.) Happy baking!

Pink and White Pinwheels 

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2/3 c. unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
red food dye

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment cream the butter well; then add the sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Add the egg and then the vanilla.

On the low setting, add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Divide the dough in half and return half the dough to the mixer. Add a couple drops of red dye and mix to combine. Wrap dough in wax paper and chill both halves of dough 1 hour, or until firm enough to roll.

Roll red dough between 2 sheets of wax paper into a 12-inch by 8-inch rectangle. Repeat for vanilla dough. Remove top sheets of wax paper and invert vanilla dough onto red dough. Remove remaining wax paper. Roll both doughs together, jelly-roll style. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate at least 3 hours (or freeze 1 hour) until firm.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with foil, shiny side up. Coat the foil with vegetable spray or use a silicone liner.

Butter a sheet pan. Unwrap the roll and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place them 1 1/2 inches apart on the sheet pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown. Coll on a rack. Store between sheets of wax paper in a covered tin.