Nothing quite embodies the special holiday spirit in Norway like pepperkaker. As part of a long holiday tradition, you’ll see Norwegians by the fireplace snacking on pepperkaker and sipping on gløgg (Norwegian version of mulled red wine) while they hang ornaments on their Christmas trees.
What makes this classic cookie such a Christmas staple?
As the name suggests, pepperkaker literally means “pepper cakes” and is the Norwegian version of gingerbread.
These flavorsome and crispy thin cookies are considered one of the oldest cookies in Norway dating back to the 17th century.
During that time, pepperkaker were produced by bakeries and large farms that had access to ovens. However, once household ovens were introduced in the 1800s, pepperkaker became widespread and took their rightful place as a special holiday treat.
Now, you will find them everywhere, from convenience stores to kitchens all throughout this holiday season.
What are the 5 reasons why you’ll love pepperkaker?
1. Festive food – brightens your mood
Pepperkaker is more than just your usual cookie. They all tell different stories as gingerbread men and candy houses come to life.
Most Norwegians associate pepperkaker with positive feelings like joy and love.
2. Exquisite taste – quality ingredients
The core ingredients of a general pepperkaker recipe consist of golden syrup, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. These are a must-have!
Norwegians love these cookies because of the rich flavor they provide.
While gingerbreads in the US are strongly flavored with molasses, pepperkaker use birch syrup as a sweetener. This syrup is special to the Scandinavian region and provides that dark color and traditional nordic flavor; warm and spicy.
Fun fact: despite the “pepper” in the name, it is rarely used as a core ingredient. Many recipes choose to skip pepper entirely.
3. Easy to make
Pepperkaker is super easy to make, even for the kids, which makes it a fun experience for families.
If you want to make your own pepperkake, make sure to check out SimplySoGood’s recipe.
Alternatively, you could also buy them in red containers if you’re not into baking. They are available in any supermarket at a cheap price compared to most biscuits. There’s the holiday spirit!
4. Pepperkaker brings together loved ones
For Norwegians, pepperkaker instantly evoke a homely feeling of childhood and family. The best way to enjoy these cookies is through traditional home baking with the family.
Overall, this is a great way to bring together loved ones and have fun in the kitchen making and decorating the cookies.
Pepperkaker is a popular gift choice during the season of giving. Many people bake and share these sweet treats with friends and family.
5. Pepperkaker showcases creativity
Pepperkaker do not come in a fixed shape or design. These cookies are able to transform into whichever form the beholder wishes. Let your creativity go wild!
For instance, a great way to showcase such creativity is making complex structures like gingerbread houses. This has become more popular, especially among kids. Many competitions are held annually and kids get to showcase their artistry and imagination.
The city of Bergen claims the title for producing the world’s largest pepperkake city for 25 years! Every year they open their doors to schools and local businesses who come to contribute to the construction of the Norwegian gingerbread city.
It’s a magical place and we recommend you to go visit at least once.
Source: Norway Today