Sabtu, 22 Desember 2007

Estonian Christmas Recipes: piparkoogid aka Gingerbread Cookies

Häid jõule from me and K!!!

Piparkoogid actually translate as pepper cakes, but as spicy Christmas cookies tend to go under the name 'Gingerbread' across the world, I'm sticking to this English name instead. They're a must-have in Estonia. Various newspaper articles and TV programmes compile their "best gingerbread dough in 2007" lists. Mums and dads across the country are rolling and cutting and baking gingerbread cookies with their delighted offsprings. Coffee shops replace the traditional chocolate-with-your-cuppa with piparkook-with-your-cuppa. And those of us with extra time in our hands even make the gingerbread cookie dough.

Previously on Nami-nami, I've shown you pictures of stained-glass gingerbread and shared a recipe for gingerbread cookies with almonds. This year I used a different recipe, and liked the result a lot, so you'll get another gingebread recipe from me. Whereas the previous one used honey and almonds, this time I used Dansukker's light sugar syrup. You can either make your own syrup from scratch (don't burn it!), or use a light corn syrup, I guess. And if you don't have all the individual spices on hand, just use your pumpkin pie spice mixture (in the US) or mixed spice (in the UK) to get a rather similar result.

The gorgeous Moomin cookie cutters below are a gift from the very sweet Dagmar of A Cat in the Kitchen. Tack, Dagmar!!

Piparkoogid - Estonian Gingerbread Cookies
Yield: 1.3 kg of gingerbread dough

250 g light (corn) syrup
200 g sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1-2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp ground allspice
0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
250 g butter
2 large eggs
600 g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda

Mix the syrup, sugar and ground spices in a saucepan and bring to the simmer.
Add the cubed butter and stir, until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heatand cool.
Add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon (a simply use your KitchenAid mixer).
Mix flour and baking soda, then add gradually to the syrup and sugar mixture.
Knead until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Wrap in a clingfilm and place into the fridge for at least overnight, preferably for a few days.

To make the cookies, divide the dough into manageable chunks and roll into 3 mm thickness on a slightly floured working board. Transfer to a cookie sheet.
Bake in the middle of 200 C oven for 6-9 minutes, until cooked through.

Cool, then decorate with a sugar glaze.

To make the sugar glaze:
Mix 1 egg white with enough icing sugar to get a thick and glossy glaze. Put into a piping bag with a very small hole, and decorate.