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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Piparkoogid!

I love wintertime because of the increased opportunities for baking and reliving childhood memories.  I grew up helping my mom make Snickerdoodles every winter, but in Estonia, the hot holiday cookies are piparkoogid, or gingerbread cookies. I made them last year and my daughter Kiira loved them so much that she begged me to make them all summer, too. (I told her she would have to wait for winter!) So a few weeks ago, I bought a set of snowflake shaped cookie cutters especially to pack along on our trip to Estonia, because I knew we would want to make up at least one batch of these spicy sweet treats. I'm pretty sure this will become a wintertime tradition for us!  I just do not understand why so many people in Estonia buy their piparkoogi dough from the store ready made; it is quite easy and fun to make a fabulous gingerbread dough from scratch. 

My recipe, adapted from Nami-Nami, follows:


V├╝rtsikad Piparkoogid (Spicy Gingerbread Cookies)

2 dl syrup  (0.85 c)
2 dl sugar (0.85 c)
1 tbs cardamon
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground dried ginger
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
250 g butter (1 c) cut into pieces
2 eggs
600 g flour (6 c)
2 tsp baking soda

Place the syrup, sugar, and spices in a saucepan and ring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add butter.  Stir until the butter is melted, and let cool slightly.  Pour syrup into a large bowl and beat eggs in one at a time.  Mix flour and baking soda together and mix into the syrup and butter mixture a little at a time. Mix or knead the dough well, and then wrap tightly and refrigerate at least overnight, or up to two weeks.
Roll the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately 2mm (1/16in) and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Bake the cookies at 200C (400F) for 6-9 minutes.

NOTES: For the syrup, I usually use a combination of whatever I have one hand, such as molasses, corn syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc.  You can also make a sugar syrup by melting 150g (approx 3/4 c) sugar in a saucepan, then adding about the same amount of hot water.

This recipe does make a good amount of dough, and although I have not tried it, it should freeze well.

To make the icing, mix powdered sugar with a small amount of water or fruit juice (depending on desired color; I used aroonia concentrate for the ones in the picture) to a sour cream like consistancy, about 1-2 tsp to a cup of sugar.

What are some of your favorite wintertime traditions?

Happy Winter!

Kai

3 comments:

  1. those cookies look gorgeous,like little works of art.

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  2. The cookies were not only gorgeous, they were super delicious too! Quite a difference from the store-bought variety. Not much is as wonderful as the smell of baking cooies....

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  3. I hope you finished off the dough!

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