Last Updated on November 24, 2019 by Chef Mireille
Scandinavian Spice Cookies – Pepperkakor
Made throughout Scandinavia, these heavily spiced cookies include cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. They are perfect with a cup of tea.
Spice Cookies, including black pepper, are popular throughout Scandinavia. In Iceland, they are known as Piparkokur and in Sweden, they are called Pepperkakor. In Denmark, it is has a slightly different flavor profile with white pepper and mace. There they are called Pebernodder.
The flavor profile is very reminiscent of these Croatian Spice Cookies, which were a big hit!
Smoky spices and black pepper make the perfect flavor profile for the holiday season. I can’t begin to tell you how good the house smelled while these were in the oven.
Having recently returned from a trip to Iceland, I am definitely in a Scandinavian state of mind, however, I have always loved this cuisine. Check out the long list of Scandinavian recipes I have already showed you so you can whip up an entire meal around these cookies!
- Sandbakkels – Norwegian Almond Butter Cookie Cups
- Uppakra – Swedish Potato Cookies
- Skagenrora – Swedish Shrimp Salad
- Turnbrodsrolle – Swedish Rye Wraps
- Lefse – Norwegian Potato Bread
- Hiekkakakku – Finnish Sandtorte
- Viking Brown Bread
- Fjelbrod – Norwegian Whole Grain Quickbread
- Porkkana Laatikko – Carrot Rice Pudding
- Kalaallit Kaagiat – Greenlandic Cake
- Swedish Pancakes
- Finnish Spinach Pancakes
Making the Cookies
Although these are traditionally made with all purpose flour, I made this whole wheat version, adding more fiber and therefore, making these traditional cookies a bit healthier.
Using whole wheat pastry flour gives the cookies whole grain goodness, but still maintains a tender crumb.
Depending on the size of the cookie cutters you use will depend on the quantity of cookies you yield. Using the small cookie cutters like I did for most of the cookie dough, you will get about 250 cookies.
These cookies would make a great edible gift for the holiday season.
I did make a few in holiday shapes and made a rustic attempt at adding a little decoration to them. Hey, I never claimed for decorating to be my forte!
These cookies are just barely sweetened and are perfect for tea time also!
Scandinavian Spice Cookies – Pepperkakor
- 3 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup softened butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- ¼ cup corn syrup or golden syrup
- ½ cup buttermilk
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, pepper and cloves. Mix to combine.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy.
- Add corn syrup and buttermilk. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add 1/3 of the flour combination and mix until thoroughly combined. Repeat 2 more times until all of the flour has been incorporated.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with non stick spray.
- Divide dough in half and work with one half at a time, leaving the other half in the refrigerator.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until about ½” thick, sprinkling flour on top as needed.
- Dip cookie cutters in flour. Cut out shapes and place on prepared cookie sheets. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Leave the cookies to set on the cookie sheets for 10 minutes.
- Remove from cookie sheets.
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Maybe you are thinking of visiting Iceland soon like me? If so, check out some of what I experienced in Iceland to give you an idea what to expect of Iceland!
Iceland Travel Posts
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I remember these Pepperkakor cookies when I lived in Sweden! I miss them so will be attempting your recipe soon! YUM!
glad I was able to bring back some fond memories!
Omg these cookies look absolutely delicious!! I think my kids would love helping me bake these this weekend! 🙂
its definitely a great project to do with the kids!
Iceland sounds fun and these cookies look really cute!! I love the little pops of colour. The spices sound delicious too!
Iceland sounds fun and these cookies look really cute!! I love the little pops of colour. The spices sound delicious too! Can’t wait to try these!
yes you can decorate them to make them even more colorful!
These sound so delicious! I can’t wait to try this recipe!
I am sure you are going to love them!
Mean Green Chef
Such a fun Holiday cookie recipe and I love the addition of spices and pepper! Def added to our must-try list this season, thanks for sharing something new 🙂
Sure you must let me know you like them when you try them!
That looks so delicious! I love ginger in cookies but have never tried cookies with black pepper before! I like that it has savoury notes in the recipe. Looks like your trip to Iceland really got your Scandie creativity going!
It’s so intriguing when I went through the ingredients. Pepper in the cookies sounds interesting. It’s already holiday mood when I see these cookies.
a little black pepper is often used in spice cookies and cakes – it just elevates the flavor in the mix of spices
They have almost the same name in each of the Scandinavian countries. Looks cute though especially your decoration.
yes well the languages are very similar. However, no matter what they are called I am sure you will love them.
I miss Pepperkakor as they are delicious christmas cookies I used to get it when I was in Stockholm, sweden. I need to make some for this christmas.
Now you can bring back the memories with the lovely scent of these cookies in your own kitchen.
I love adding garam masala to my sweet bakes that’s why I can imagine how amazing a little heat from black pepper would taste in these beautiful chunky cookies. These are perfect for sugar icing!
yes they can easily be iced and decorated for Christmas Cookies – you can even make gingerbread men shapes with these delicious cookies.