Friday, December 25, 2015


Mrs. Londquist’s Pepparkakor
(Swedish Pepper Cookies)

1 Cup melted butter
1-1/4  Cup sugar (white or brown)
Cream butter and sugar together.

1/2 Cup sour cream
1-1/2  Cups light molasses
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Mix together in a very large bowl and add the butter & sugar mixture.
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
8 Cups flour

Mix dry ingredients together then add to wet ingredients.  Mix thoroughly.

Roll to 1/8 inch thickness on floured board.  Cut.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes.

This recipe makes a lot of cookies.  You may keep the dough in the refrigerator and roll out and bake some at a time.  It takes a bit of work to make the cold dough malleable but if it gets too warm it does not handle well either.  If it is too crumbly, I apply a bit of melted butter and knead repeatedly.  Practice, and lots of sprinkling with flour.

They are best made around Thanksgiving, stored in an airtight container, and served at Christmas.  We love making holes in some of them and hanging them on the Christmas tree.  Those hanging on the tree will be perfectly edible when Epiphany arrives.

Biscotti di meliga

Lemon-Cornmeal Cookies
Biscotti di meliga

1 Cup fine-ground cornmeal
3/4 Cup 00 flour (all-purpose will work fine)
10 Tbsp. butter, diced
3/4 Cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 large lemon

Preheat oven to 350º.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine the cornmeal, flour, and butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse sand.  Add the sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt and process until just combined.  Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead it for 1 to 2 minutes.  The dough will be dense and sticky.

Working in batches, put the dough in a cookie press and press out simple one-part shapes onto the prepared baking sheets.  Alternately put flattened teaspoon-sized mounds of dough on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for about 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cookies, until just lightly golden at the edges.  Let cool to room temperature on the parchment paper or wire racks. (If you try to remove them from the parchment paper before they are cool, they may crumble.)  The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

Yield: 2-3 dozen

Notes: I did not have the more finely ground cornmeal available.  Find it if you can, but regular will work.  You might want to use the food processor to grind it a bit finer.  I shaped small balls and got four dozen out of the recipe.

--the BB

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Apelsinkakor (Orange Cookies) - updated

This is one of my favorite cookies for the holiday season.  The recipe comes from a Swedish-American cookbook.
Orange Cookies

1/2 Cup butter
1 Cup sugar
1 egg
grated rind of 2 oranges
1/2 Cup chopped nuts
2-1/2 Cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 Cup pieces of nuts

A.   Cream butter; add sugar and cream until light.  Beat in egg.  Add orange rind and chopped nuts.
B.    Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to first mixture and mix well.  Chill several hours or overnight.
C.    Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness and cut with 1-3/4 inch cookie cutter.  Arrange on ungreased cookie sheets.  Press a piece of nut on each cookie.
D.   Bake at 375º for 8 to 10 minutes.

Yield: 8 dozen

Note: one may also treat these like ice-box (refrigerated) cookies.  I find this easier.  Form rolls of the dough, wrap in wax paper, then plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Take them out of the refrigerator and slice thinly.  Proceed to bake.

Dry climate note: flour in New Mexico is very dry.  I doubled the recipe tonight but used only 4.5 cups of flour instead of 5.0.  This gave me a much more malleable dough than I have often had in the past.

My preferred method of making most cookie dough: a wooden spoon and the bowl I inherited from Grandmother Strid.  It is so much more involved and satisfying.
Creaming the butter.

Creaming the sugar with the butter.

 Butter and sugar nicely ready for the next step.

 Add eggs (this is a double recipe I am making, hence: two eggs instead of one).

 A beautiful batter is forming.

 Add chopped nuts and orange zest.

 The dry ingredients have been added.  This is the stage where I move from the wooden spoon to my own hands.  The warmth of my hands helps the butter to hold the rest together and blend.  I tried to take a photo of my gloved hand about to plunge into the dough but it evidently did not take.

Here a portion of the dough is rolled up into a log and wrapped in waxed paper.  Tomorrow I will take the logs out of the fridge, slice them, and bake cookies!

The following photos were not in the original post.  Taken today (Christmas morning).

Slicing the log into cookies. (It is not safe to eat raw cookie dough with eggs in the mixture so we do NOT recommend it.  Just don't tell anyone this is one of the best tasting doughs around.)

 Ready for the oven.  I am sorry I did not appreciate baking parchment much earlier in my life.  Wonderful stuff.

And here is the end result of a double recipe.  When fully cooled they are very crisp and might last in an airtight container were I not around to nibble on them.

--the BB