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Cookies: Grandma Vera's Pepperkakor Recipe

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This recipe for Cookies: Grandma Vera's Pepperkakor, by , is from Good Eats, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We help families or individuals create heirloom cookbook treasures.



2 cups dark molasses
2 cups lard (part bacon grease to give a smoky flavor)
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 1 cup strong cold coffee
8-10 cups white flour

Mix first three ingredients. Add the rest of the ingredients, except flour, and mix well.

Start adding flour gradually, as much as you can comfortably mix in with a spoon or mixer (8-10 cups). The dough should be workable, but still soft--not sticky. At this point, I usually cover the dough with plastic wrap and wait until the next morning to start the baking. Don't refrigerate

When you are ready to bake, grease a lot of baking sheets and have them ready. Cover a table or countertop with towels (to put the baked cookies on). I use a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover, floured well. Turn a small amount of dough onto the floured board (cloth). Knead in some more flour. Roll thin, sprinkle with sugar, roll lightly again. Cut out cookies, put on greased pan, and bake at 400 degrees about 5 minutes (depending on how thin or thick you rolled the dough). I usually fill almost all of my cookie sheets before I even heat up the oven. It goes faster that way. It doesn’t matter how thin you roll the cookies—that’s a matter of preference. Just make sure all the cookies on a given pan are the same thickness so they will cook in the same amount of time. God Jul!

Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
This is Grandma Vera’s recipe that she got from her mother-in-law, Great-Grandma Hilda. Actually Grandma Hilda didn’t write down her recipe, so somebody named “Mrs. Snigg” helped Grandma Vera out, according to what is written on the old recipe card. Grandma Vera used to make these cookies for all her kids and grandkids. As you know, they are a family Christmas tradition. They (some parallel recipe) are also the “national cookie” of Sweden. One year Grandma Vera made 8,000 cookies, storing them in big glass jars and then giving them away to family members. Grandpa Elwood used to hide his stash. Uncle Rick and others have been known to do the same. Grandpa usually saved the last two cookies “for seed.” I tried for several holiday seasons to get my pepperkakor just right. When I finally conquered all the details, my dad (Grandpa Elwood) gave me a $100 bill (which was worth a lot back in the 1960’s).

According to Grandpa Elwood, the traditional rule for judging the crispness of properly-baked pepperkakor was to put one in the palm of your hand and lightly tap it in the middle. If it breaks into three equal pieces, it is perfect.

Janet and Maria are the two in the next generation who have mastered this recipe. (Take a bow!) In 2008 Elena and Isaac had their first lesson. If others want to learn, you are welcome to come to my kitchen for a pepperkakor lesson in early December. Wear good shoes so you don't get tired standing so long, making these cookies.




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