Pepperkaker (Pepper Cookies)

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One of the best loved biscuits in Norway, if not the whole of Scandinavia. The spices used are the most important element, and non-negotiable, although the shapes are up to you…

  • 150g salted butter
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 (generous) tbs syrup
  • 3 tbs milk
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice or clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


First day

Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and salt in a pan large enough to accommodate the flour that you’ll be adding later. Melt all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and you have an even smooth mixture. Cool for a few minutes then stir in the milk

Sift the flour, spices and baking powder  into the sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth dough. If the dough is still warm it can still look a little runny, but it will firm up when cooled. Cover the pan with cling film, fit the lid on and place somewhere cool until the following day

Second day

Scrape the dough out of the pan and onto some cling film (large enough to wrap around the dough) and place in fridge until you’re ready to bake. The dough is quite happy to be left for up to a week (or even longer) before you bake it, but remember to take it out of the fridge a couple of hours before baking

Baking day

Take the dough out of the fridge a couple of hours before you’re going to use it.

Preheat the oven to 180°c. I prefer to use the non fan-assisted setting because the cookies bake more evenly, but if a fan assisted is your only option please turn down to 160° and check after 6-7 minutes to ensure the cookies don’t burn.

I find cutting the dough into smaller pieces makes rolling it out easier.

On a floured  surface (using as little flour as possible), knead the dough a little to soften, then shape into a ball and start  rolling. Roll out to a thickness of a £2 coin, or just under, and use your cookie cutters to make shapes and/or figures. Place on a baking tray, lined with baking paper, and place in the middle shelf in the oven. Set the timer for 5 mins, turn the tray from back to front (so the cookies baking at the front is now baking at the back) and bake for another 5 mins. Check once the last 5 mins have passed. The cookies should be light brown but if you think that they need some more baking try a minute at a time. Place on a wire rack to cool completely before placing in airtight tin(s).

Repeat the process until the dough is used, or save for later.

You could ice the cookies if wanted. This makes for a great (possibly messy) weekend or evening treat with the kids. Or try chocolate dipped cookies for something really special.

Recipes, styling, props and photography by Rune Wold