Sunday, November 21, 2004
Today is the day for for IMBB #10, Cookie swap! IMBB stands for Is My Blog Burning?, an international blogging event started by Alberto from Il Forno. It’s great fun – every month, someone will host a different theme, and bloggers from all over the world join in
This is my first time, and it charmingly coincided with my kitty Ywette’s upcoming birth. I made these on Wednesday night, which was a couple of days before she actually gave birth (Friday morning) but she was getting very upset every time I left her alone. She finally gave up – because baking cookies takes some time – and decided to just hang out in the kitchen with me.
Cookies is a great theme, and I thought about many different ones before I decided on a recipe. I wanted to make cut-out cookies, not so much because I like making them, but because I like having made them. There’s a fine difference there.
I finally chose Pepparkakor, or “Ginger thins” as they’re usually called in other parts of the world. Pepparkakor is a very traditional Swedish Christmas cookie, but sold all year round. It’s in fact so common that very few people bake their own anymore. There’s even ready-made dough you can buy! (And that is a big deal in Sweden, since we normally don’t have cookie dough. Definitely not like the US, where cookie dough is a delicacy of it’s own!) Anna’s is one of the most famous brands of pepparkakor, and it’s sold all over the world. (Especially at IKEA.)
I have to admit that I’m actually not a huge fan, but I really enjoyed making my own. The recipe is by Jan Hedh, a famous Swedish pastry chef, and was published in a recent cooking magazine. It looked like a very classic recipe, and I ended up with a nice and flexible dough that was fun to work with, and TONS of cookies. This recipe makes a lot, so be aware! These go well with coffee, of course, but are better with Swedish Glögg, our version of spiced wine. You can make your own – I’ll post a recipe some day soon, or get thee to IKEA, I’m sure they sell it. Another way to eat it is with blue cheese. It’s a very yummy contrast between soft and creamy but sharp cheese, and crisp, sweet, spicy cookie!
(yields at least 10 dozen cookies, if using a medium sized cutter)
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp of salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 tbsp baking soda
300 gram unsalted butter (I used salted, like I normally do, and it was fine.)
250 gram regular white sugar
150 gram brown sugar
1 small egg
the peel of one lemon
300 ml golden syrup
300 ml heavy cream
1100 gram flour
Day one: Sift the spices and the baking soda in a bowl. Mix butter with the two sugars, add the spices and the egg. Add lemon, golden syrup, cream and finally flour. This will be fairly sticky – don’t worry! Stick it in the fridge overnight, but don’t do what I did and just put the whole mixer bowl in there. It becomes very, very, very solid. Instead, make a log or at least flat discs, wrap in plastic, and chill. (I broke my favorite wooden spoon trying to get the dough out of the bowl on day two. Not fun.)
Day two. Take out small pieces of dough at a time, and roll out on a floured workface. I don’t need to teach you how to cut out cookies. (But do use a lot of flour, you don’t want to have to scrape these off the counter top. It doesn’t impair the flavor much.)
Bake in the oven, at 180 degrees Celsius (350 F) for 7-8 minutes, depending on size. I ended up making a lot of cat shapes (how surprising!) but also a lot of smaller stars and hearts.