What would Christmas be without cookies? Well it would still be Christmas but not quite as sweet. Everyone has their favorite cookies and Scandinavian countries have their favorites too.
[Ingebretsen’s carries cookies and what you need to make cookies (check out our website) but —
Disclaimer: A number of our favorite cookie products are shown in this blog but because of the season and their popularity we cannot guarantee they are available for immediate purchase and may be backordered.]
One of our favorite cookies is the wonderful Swedish Pepparkakor. A recipe can be found here.
Pepparkakor can be found baking in kitchens all year long but are especially popular at Christmas when they are cut into fun shapes, often decorated with icing and sometimes they are even hung up as Christmas ornaments.
Originally pepparkakor were far spicier than they are today and they are translated as pepper cookies because they contained a lot of pepper. It was said they would ward of depression, cure illness, and were even known to improve your sex live . Any question why they were so popular!
Pepparkakor are always cut into shapes, often something symbolic. For instance, pepparkaksgris (pig-shaped pepparkakor), are considered a symbol of fertility. Julpepparkakor (Christmas pepparkakor) are cut into fancier shapes than during the rest of the year.
But there are more great Scandinavian cookies to checkout. According to Swedish Foods:
Pepparkakshjärtan (gingerbread hearts) are especially popular and probably have their origin in the notion that eating pepparkakor would make you gentler and kinder, or at least less grumpy! This maybe because originally potash was used as a leavening agent, instead of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) used today, and the potash helped to alleviate indigestion and stomach discomfort caused by rich Christmas food. This reputation survives in the traditional pepparkakor invitation: “Ät en pepparkaka, så blir du snäll!” (Eat a gingersnap, it will make you nice!)
It seems like everyone and their dog are busy making Christmas cookies this year:
Everyone has their favorite cookies and Scandinavian countries have their favorites too. According to Taste Atlas these are 10 of the most popular Scandinavian cookies and we assume they are part of the Scandinavian Christmas table.
Lødekager from Denmark
Lodekager are traditionally made for Christmas – they are made with butter, flour, sugar, and eggs, then brushed with eggwash and topped with a combination of chopped almonds, sugar, and cinnamon.
Sirupsnipper from Norway
Sirupsnipper, or Norwegian spiced cookies, are a buttery pastry enriched with syrup (sirap), cinnamon, ginger, ground white pepper, aniseed and baker’s ammonia. They are always cut into a diamond shape, with a halved almond placed in the center. These are an absolute must for Christmas in Norway.
Brune pinner from Norway
This is a Norwegian Christmas cookie, translated as brown pins or sticks, made with a buttery dough that is sweetened with light syrup and generously spiced with cinnamon. The dough is usually shaped into flat logs, and after baking, it is cut into thin strips and sprinkled with roughly chopped almonds and pearl sugar.
Serinakaker from Norway
A staple for Christmas in Norway these round butter cookies are made with a base of flour, butter, and sugar, and are usually flavored with vanilla, while the top is often sprinkled with almond slivers. Serinakaker cookies are often included on the list of so-called seven sorts—traditional Norwegian Christmas bakes—and are considered to be one of the oldest cookies in Norway.
Hallongrotta from Sweden
The name hallongrotta means raspberry cave, and in the United States, they are known as thumbprint cookies. Hallongrotta have been prepared and consumed at least since the 1800s, at Swedish coffee parties called kafferep. The cookies are typically made with butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, vanilla, and raspberry jam, which goes in the indentation (usually made with one’s thumb) in the middle of each cookie.
Punschrulle from Sweden aka Træstamme from Denmark
Punschrulle goes under various names, the most popular being dammsugare (vacuum cleaner), presumably because of their shape and the fact that bakers have to collect leftover crumbs to create the center of the cookie using crumbled cookies or cakes, cocoa, and punsch (a Swedish liqueur). The outside is covered in green marzipan. The cookies are formed into rolls, and each end is dipped in chocolate.
Pebernødder from Denmark
A staple in Danish homes during the Christmas season, pebernødder cookies are small, light brown, crispy, and seasoned with a variety of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, and white pepper.
The origin of these cookies is not known but it is believed they date back to the 1500s.
Vaniljekranse from Denmark
These are one of the most famous Danish cookies. Vaniljekranse are made from a simple buttery dough that is rolled into long strips and then formed into small circles with a taste of vanilla and grounded almonds making them amazingly crispy.
They are baked throughout December and are one of the favorite Danish Christmas traditions.
Kammerjunker from Denmark
Kammerjunker are popular Danish double-baked cookies. Made with wheat flour and butter, the dough is primarily rolled into a log and baked, then sliced and baked again until crispy. The cookies are usually small in size, typically flavored with cardamom, vanilla, and lemon zest.
Småkager from Denmark
The name småkager can refer to different kinds of Danish. This group includes traditional and modern varieties differing in ingredients, shape, and consistency. They are usually made with wheat flour and include ingredients such as chocolate, marzipan, dry fruits, different flavorings, and nuts.
They are an indispensable part of Christmas traditions in Denmark that are both homemade and sold in round tins as a Christmas presents.
We wish you a Gud Jul and a plateful of delicious cookies.