Today is St. Lucia’s Day. Besides wearing the traditional wreath o’ candles on your head, you may want to make some delicious Lucia Pepparkakor, or Swedish St. Lucy Gingersnaps (also known by some as “ginger thins”). Besides, it’s just fun to say Pepparkakor.
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 1/2 cups dark or light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses (preferably full-flavor, not the mild stuff)
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup heavy cream
6-7 cups flour
Icing (see below)
Heat corn syrup in a saucepan. Stir in the sugar, molasses, ginger, lemon zest, and baking soda.
In a large bowl, whip the cream until almost stiff.
Stir the syrup mixture gradually into the cream. Beat a low speed with an electric mixer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add 4 cups of the flour, mixing well with a spoon. Then gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, pliable dough. Knead for 2 or 3 minutes.)
(As you science geeks probably know, flour can vary in density, and atmospheric conditions will affect flour’s absorption of liquids, so this recipe will require different amounts of flour each time.)
Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/8 inch thick (the thinner they are, the crisper they will be, and you definitely want them to be crisp and crunchy). Cut with fancy cutters, such as animals and people, hearts and flowers (hearts are the most traditional shape for Pepparkakor).
Place the cookies on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. (Or you can just use a Silpat .) Bake at 275 degrees F for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Ice cookies after they have cooled completely.
Beat the white of one egg until frothy. Add 1 cup confectioner’s sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice. If the icing is too thick, add more lemon juice; if too thin, add more sugar. You can make several batches, adding food coloring to each as you wish.
Recipe adapted from A Continual Feast by Evelyn Birge Vitz (Ignatius Press)