PBS/ Recipes

pepparkakor cookies

This, friends, is the beginning of extreme cookie madness. I hope you’re ready!

This year I wanted to dedicate an entire WEEK to Christmas cookies. Why? Why not? It’s the one time of year I’m allowed to go completely cookie crazy and I plan to milk it for all it’s worth. Then, after the week is over we will all eat a salad and say Amen.

And it all starts with these pepparkakor cookies!

Does the name “pepparkakor cookies” make you think of the American Doll, Kirsten, or is that just me? I may or may not have visited The American Girl Place not once last week but twice (first time alone, second time dragging Adam behind me) and was shocked and dismayed to find out that they don’t make Kirsten dolls anymore. Then, this happened:


Yes, dear, they do. They really, really do. Now can we please eat in the cafe so I can regress to my former nine year old self once again?

I digress.

Pepparkakor cookies are traditional Swedish ginger cookies, typically cut out in the shape of stars. I’ve been making them for years and love them despite their thinness and crispness. You guys know how I feel about gingersnaps! These are not gingersnaps. It’s a little hard to describe, but pepparkakor cookies have a very distinct taste to them. They aren’t as spicy and robust as gingerbread cookies, and more than anything taste just like a thin spice cookie. Of course, you don’t have to use a star cookie cutter either! This is a great dough for all sorts of holiday cutouts like trees, angels, bells and even yogis! It’s a nice alternative to plain ol’ sugar cookies and they really hold up and store nicely.

Head to PBS Food for the recipe and start baking this weekend! But pace yourselves….we’ve got an entire cookie week ahead of us.

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  • Amanda
    December 16, 2011 at 4:29 am

    These sounds fantastic, and I bet they’d be great with a big mug of tea.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    December 16, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Mmm I’m all set for these cookie recipes you’ve got coming up! Well, except for the yogi cookie cutters – I need to find some of those!!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    December 16, 2011 at 4:36 am

    I like how simple these are and cookies that require cookie cutters have an edge on all the other holiday cookies in my opinion. They’re just that much more fun 🙂

  • Julie @ Table for Two
    December 16, 2011 at 4:53 am

    I’m so jealous of little girls these days. I begged for an American Girl doll and I didn’t get one because my parents didn’t see the value in it (seriously. who tells a kid that? haha) and now they have tea parties with them and little high chairs they bring for the American Girl dolls at the American Girl Cafe, etc. I’m excited for cookie madness 🙂

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    December 16, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Most people that I know who visit Chicago and go to American Girl are under the age of 12. Glad you’re not ashamed to announce your 2 trips there! 🙂

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    December 16, 2011 at 5:03 am

    The women in my town in Minnesota where I grew up (heavily Swedish, Norwegian, Scandinavian) made pepparkakor cookies! I haven’t had one in about 20 years…but thanks for the trip down memory lane with these !

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    December 16, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Hair salon for dolls?! ohmygoodness…. These look fab though 🙂

  • Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    December 16, 2011 at 5:37 am

    I have to make these for my husband. He got some when he was in Sweden and raved about them- he would love this!

  • Sarah
    December 16, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I used to eat these as a kid! My best friend is swedish and we used to stay with her grandmother every summer. She would always make them for us. Such good memories. They’re delicious too!

  • Aimee @ ShugarySweets
    December 16, 2011 at 5:42 am

    My girls had to take their dolls to the hair salon once as a gift…it was like the dolls had constant bed head. They’re gorgeous now, heehee!! The cookies looks awesome, thanks for sharing!

  • Rachael @ FreshlyMinted
    December 16, 2011 at 5:51 am

    I’ve dreamed of visiting the AG store (hard core American Girl fans say “AG”) since it opened when I was about 11 or 12… I just dragged my husband there this summer!

    I. was. in. heaven. and totally wished that I had brought Felicity with me to eat lunch in one of those chairs that clip to the table in the store’s cafe. Sigh.

    Great memories 😉

  • Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy
    December 16, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Kirsten was my first American Girl doll! I was going through my moms cook books a month ago and actually found all my American Girl Doll cook books! I think they were my very first cookbooks!

    These cookies sound delicious by the way! And I cannot wait for your week of Christmas Cookies!

  • Cait's Plate
    December 16, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I feel like those would be wonderful incorporated into breakfast. Either by themselves with a mug of coffee or crumbled over a piping hot bowl of oats!

  • Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter)
    December 16, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Haha I love that you talk about American Girl dolls.. i used to be OBSESSED with them as a kid. Molly was my fav. 🙂 These cookies look great, but I’m pretty stinkin excited for a whole week of cookie recipes.

  • Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter)
    December 16, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Haha I love that you talk about American Girl dolls.. i used to be OBSESSED with them as a kid. Molly was my fav. 🙂 These cookies look great, but I’m pretty stinkin excited for a whole week of cookie recipes.

  • Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove
    December 16, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Okay… I didn’t know that they stopped making Kirsten or Felicity (the 2 I have) until this post! I loved playing with those dolls and changing their outfits for the seasons. I can’t wait for a week of cookies – it’ll definitely help me get over this shock! 🙂

  • Bev Weidner
    December 16, 2011 at 7:33 am

    That. is. the. cutest. cookie. cutter. ever.

  • Ella, RD
    December 16, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Hold. The. Phone. They don’t make Kirsten dolls anymore?!?!?! How is that possible? What about the other original dolls like Samantha? (the one I had)

    Also, I made my whole entire family go into the American Girl store in NYC when I lived there. No shame.

  • Jenna | The Paleo Project
    December 16, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I don’t know what it is about ginger, but I’ve been adding it to everything lately!! Either way, another fabulous recipe Jenna!! Thanks for sharing

  • Jen
    December 16, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Hmm…I think you need to let go of the past Jenna 😉

    Never heard of these cookies before!

  • d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo
    December 16, 2011 at 7:49 am

    What? They stopped making Kirsten? I had her too and loved her dearly!

  • Tammy
    December 16, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Hey Jenna ! I got
    new gig and
    I not
    Had time to read your blog ;( way busy but good. Can u update me on your book?

  • Lauren from Lauren's Latest
    December 16, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Bring on the cookies!

  • Courtney
    December 16, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Samantha all the way!

  • Meghan @ Struggle Muffins
    December 16, 2011 at 8:48 am

    NO MORE KIRSTEN?! This cuts me right to the core, she was my favorite. I pretty much never left the house without my Kirsten doll when I was nine years old. At least we can celebrate her (and I guess her heritage, too) with some tasty cookies. Well played, well played 🙂

  • katie @KatieDid
    December 16, 2011 at 8:49 am

    oh man I used to go to these huge American girl doll conventions where we would eat sardines and swedish meatballs and learn about Kiersten’s heritage and all the other one’s too. Such great memories

  • Moni'sMeals
    December 16, 2011 at 9:07 am

    let me guess…light, fluffy, crisp, airy, just the right spice, and simple… all in one. My kind of cookie! YUM. 🙂

  • Cat @Breakfast to Bed
    December 16, 2011 at 9:08 am

    These are just adorable. I love a spice cookie dipped in cocoa, so these are right up my alley!!

  • siri
    December 16, 2011 at 9:34 am

    hehe, these look too light in colour to be scandinavian pepperkaker/pepparkakor, but i bet they are delicious!

    • anna
      December 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

      I agree. They would not pass for pepparkakor in Sweden, where I live. Real pepparkakor are made with dark syrup and brown sugar, and they are a dark brown color.

  • Katrina
    December 16, 2011 at 10:08 am

    These look fabulous!

  • Jackie
    December 16, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I have a recipe for these cookies, and it makes something crazy like 7 dozen cookies!! But, I haven’t made them since going gluten free. 🙁
    My mom told me they stopped making Kirsten dolls and I just told her that was super silly, because she was so awesome and a pioneer, and who doesn’t want to be a pioneer? She was always my first and my favorite! But, it’s true? No more? Sad.

  • Audrey
    December 16, 2011 at 10:11 am

    They are retiring all the best dolls…first Felicity, then Samantha, then Kirsten. It’s just not the same anymore. I had Kirsten when I was little, too. (In fact, I still have her, but my little sister plays with her.) I secretly (or not so secretly) still want to go to the American Girl Place someday. 😀

  • Elisabeth
    December 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I love that you visited the American Girls store! I loved them when I was younger, especially Kirsten, Molly & Samantha 🙂 Oh, and I’m all over the week of cookies!

  • Laura @ She Eats Well
    December 16, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I feel so old. I had all the American Girl dolls PLUS the “Look-A-Like” doll. I loooooved them so much and they are sadly, in storage now. I can’t believe they don’t make Kirsten anymore. I was all about Samantha and Felicity. They’re collectors items though…right? 🙂

  • Lena
    December 16, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Yep, I agree with Siri. For a swede, these are far too light! Check this link out for proper pepparkakor:

    • jenna
      December 16, 2011 at 11:32 am

      I think my version is Americanized 🙂

  • Mellie
    December 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I always wanted to go to “the” American Girl place! I did go to a little one at the North Point Mall once. And they don’t make my favorite dolls (Nellie and Felicity) anymore either! I feel bad for kids these days:)

  • Stacy
    December 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I went to the American Girl doll place in Chicago last weekend too, only to find out that Felicity is GONE FOREVER. It was really, really upsetting. I am working on moving past it. I’ll comfort myself by getting my Felicity out and maybe putting her Christmas dress on.

  • Laura
    December 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    What?! I had to click over to the American Girl site to see it for myself. I can’t believe that most of the dolls my friends and I played with…oh…twenty years ago…are no longer made! Sadness.

  • kyla
    December 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    NO MORE KIRSTEN!? My life is in shambles.

  • Avery
    December 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I am studying in Sweden this year and I cannot get enough pepparkakor!! I bought a few extra boxes the other day just in case I can’t find them after the holidays are over.
    I might have to try this recipe and see how they compare 🙂

  • Emily
    December 16, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I love pepparkakor. I am 50% Swedish and 100% Scandinavian. We get Swedish relatives in the states every couple years and they always bring pepparkakor. I lived in Sweden for a couple months and spent time around the holidays with my relatives. Hmm Scandinavian Christmas treats are waaaay superior to American!

  • Alexandra
    December 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    I am Swedish and I have to agree, that is not the proper way to make them. My favorite brand is Annas (http://www.annas.se/artikel.asp?strukturId=4), they taste like pepparkakor should, in my opinion! 🙂
    I think you can get them at IKEA …

    To bake them you have to make the dough in advance and let it rest at least overnight. I believe it can keep for a couple of days as well.

  • Maureen
    December 16, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I love that you mentioned the American Girl doll Kirsten because as soon as I saw this on my google reader, I immediately thought of Kirsten and St. Lucia’s day. So great!

  • Emily
    December 16, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Jenna–
    After seeing your reference to American Girls, I checked out their website (I remember pouring over the catalog as a young girl–I wanted Kirsten or Samantha, but alas, I never received one) and I was surprised to see almost all new dolls–although I remember Addy and Molly. If you check out this link http://store.americangirl.com/agshop/html/thumbnail/id/1553/uid/828 it looks like you can buy mini “25th anniversary” holiday editions of some of our old faves–I must admit, I am tempted!

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    December 17, 2011 at 2:59 am

    I cannot wait to see all of the recipes you share. This weekend is my huge baking fest.

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  • Gloria
    December 17, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I hardly ever comment, but I had to let you know that I made your peppermint mocha cookies last night and they are AMAZING! They are so rich and delicious and they made my whole apartment smell amazing. I even did the white chocolate in the zip-lock bag and impressed myself! I’m making a handful of cookie recipes from your blog this year for Christmas, so I’m excited to see what else you have in store.

    P.S. I bought an American Girl doll as a gift a few years ago and they still send me their catalog. I may or may not still look through the whole thing each time it comes…

  • Lauren
    December 17, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Yummy looking cookies! I just looked at the AG website and not only do they not make Kirsten anymore, but they no longer make Felicity or Samantha. Samantha was my fave. Sad day 🙁

  • Lauren Elise
    December 17, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Yum, thanks for the recipe! They look yummy! 🙂

    American Girl doesn’t make Kirsten anymore?? Whaaa? I definitely had a Molly doll growing up but I loved Kirsten. Ahh, flashbacks.

  • Amy
    December 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Jenna I LOOOOVE your blog so much! And, you’re going to LOOOVE yoga teacher training (you haven’t started yet, right? if so, then I hope you are loving it!). I just finished mine in November and doing it was one of the best decisions of my life. oMmmmmazing.

  • Dunja
    December 17, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Oh Jenna, these cookies sounds for christmas! A really perfect start in the Last days befor christmas 🙂

  • Maria
    December 18, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Yayyy for Samantha!! Cookies look great too 😉

  • Katie
    December 18, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Samantha was my favorite. I always thought I looked like her. 😉

    And I love that little cookie cutter! I’d like some of these cookies for breakfast thankyouverymuch.

  • Gillian
    December 18, 2011 at 8:32 am

    My German friend makes a recipe likes this and tops it with a spiced icing with cardamom and allspice – – try it if you get the chance, the cardamom in the icing takes it to a whole new level!!

  • Viktoria
    December 18, 2011 at 8:40 am

    These cookies does not have the right colour, they are too light. Also in Sweden the traditional shape is a heart even though the star is common aswell. Love your blog anyways… /sweden

  • Karen
    December 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Jenna, I LOVE your site and make probably a third of your recipes. The clafoutis won my colleagues’ hearts at our holiday party, by the way. You rock. 🙂

    Okay, fangirling over. I have to say that I am shocked by the changes at American Girl, too. Twenty years ago, I had a Kirsten doll (well, I still do!). She was the perfect companion for my geeky Scandinavian self. Now the dolls have trendy clothes, apparently ride horseback, and go to the salon. My uncool 10-year-old self would have found that alienating. Boo.

    Anyway….back to fangirling. I can’t wait for your book! Cheers from Denver.

  • Katie @ Epicurean Mom
    December 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    This sounds so good Jenna!! Great holiday cookie recipe!

    And I agree with the comments above, love the cookie cutter! Where did you get it??

  • Christine @ Oatmeal in my bowl
    December 18, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    OOoo. My mother loves gingersnaps. This might be something I need to make this week. I’ll add it to my long list of cookies to make this week. 😉

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