Gingerbread – Norwegian style!

Yesterday we baked our first batch of gingerbread biscuits for Christmas, and as promised, here is how we did it!

I love baking and I love this recipe. Its to flexible and it’s so hard to get it wrong. Not to mention absolutely scrumptious.

First of all, this is a traditional Norwegian gingerbread recipe and is called “Pepperkaker”. It’s not to hard to translate that in to “Peppercakes” so yes, it does actually contain a little bit of pepper. But don’t let this put you off it, it is really good!

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams/ 8 oz of sugar (this can be replaced with icing sugar, I believe it will give a smoother texture, but never tried it)
  • 200 ml Golden syrup
  • 250 grams/ 8oz butter (real butter, or the result might not be as good)
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ginger ( 2 spoons will give a real ginger flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • One pinch of either black or white ground pepper
  • 2 eggs (can be replaced with 200 ml of single cream, good for people with egg intolerance)
  • 700 grams /1lb 1/2 oz biscuit flour (plain flour will do too, but biscuit flour/cake flour gives best result. It’s like baking bread with plain flour, can be done, but bread flour always gives a better texture) Pluss you been some extra flour for rolling out dough

Method:

Step 1

1. First mix all the spices in a ramekin and stir well

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2. Chop all the butter into squares and put in a large saucepan and set aside.

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3. Pour sugar and golden syrup in a different saucepan and bring carefully to a boil

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4. Pour in all the spices and continue stirring for a few minutes. It should now look like this:

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5. Now pour in the tablespoon of baking powder and stir quickly to mix it all in. Now the mixture will change colour and rise. It will seem to become fluffy – this is normal.

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6. Immediately pour the hot mixture over the butter and stir until the butter is all melted. Do not use any heat for this.

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7. Continue stirring the mixture until it has cooled down. If you are impatient of nature (like myself) you can make a shallow water bath for the saucepan in the sink, but don’t stop stirring.

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The butter will seem to separate from the sugar mixture while warm, but as soon as it cools down it will mix in nicely.

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8. Remove from the water bath and whisk the eggs together in a jug and then pour into the mix when it has cooled down, it should feel cooler than skin temperature. Stir thoroughly. (same procedure if you use cream)

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9. From here on I like to pour my mixture into a mixing bowl. Then get your sieve out and start sieving small amounts of flour into the mixture and mix properly  in between.

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Round one of flour mixed in.

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Round two

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Round three *pant*

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Round four

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And finally, all the flour is mixed in.

10. Now its time to get your hand dirty (figuratively speaking). Knead the dough until its lovely and soft, if it sticks, just add some more flour.

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I’m wearing plastic gloves because my nails are really long and its hard to not get dough underneath them.

11. Once the dough is nice and properly kneaded, wrap it in clingfilm and stick in the fridge for 3-4 hours, preferably over night. I left my dough over night. It lets all the flavours really bind together.

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Step 2

DSC_0202Now roll your dough out on a lightly floured surface. The dough will feel stiff and hard to begin with, but the more you work with it, the smoother and softer it gets. Hunt out your Christmassy cookie cutter and go crazy. My new Santa cutter is totally crazy, it cuts the legs off the poor thing. I must admit I didn’t make many of these.

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Transfer all your cut out biscuits onto a baking tray with baking paper on it. Cook for 7-10 minutes at 200 degrees/ gasmark 6.

You can make them either thick or thin, depends on your preference. Thick will make them slightly moist and thin will make them nice and crunchy. I prefer mine crunchy.

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This is the thickness I cook mine at.

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They burn quickly so keep an eye on the oven then cooking them.

This recipe make a lot of biscuits, I never counted how many but they filled my middle tin totally up.

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The kids think its really fun to help cut out the biscuits, Lewis had a blast!

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However, I think he might have a different idea of what are festive shapes *giggles*

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He made several dogs, fish and birds *smiles* But Christmas is about the kids, so as long as they are happy – be happy!

Let me know how your gingerbread biscuits come out!

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