I'm sure you have heard of Gingerbread Men, but let me be the first to introduce you to Swedish Pepparkakor People (posting politically correct).  I am very proud of my Swedish heritage, and always remember hearing stories about my paternal great-grandparents who came over from Sweden.  It was fate's design that they both started working for the same employer after coming to America, and the sweet discovery of their love for each other is the stuff that movies are made of.  I remember as a child I loved hearing stories about my heritage and I wanted to learn about the places that my ancestors came from.  One Christmas my mother gave me a Swedish recipe book, and at the time I was most intrigued with these yummy looking cookies with a very funny name that I couldn't pronounce.  I later came to understand that Swedish Pepparkakor cookies are a traditional Christmas cookie that is very similar to the gingerbread cookie.  I never liked gingerbread cookies and I now know that my aversion is really toward molasses rather then the gingerbread cookie as a whole.  Pepparkakor cookies, however are made with similar spices but use maple syrup instead. 

    These spicy crisp cookies became one of my all time favorites to make at Christmas, and I have been making them every year since that first batch years ago.  This year, with my new gluten-free lifestyle, I decided to attempt changing this traditional classic.  The recipe you will find below is for a gluten-free cookie that is without a doubt, indistinguishable from the regular classic I have come to love over the years.  These have even become my oldest son's favorite cookie too, and if he knows there are some around they don't last very long.  In the corner of my eye I see little hands creeping up the side of my counter tops fishing around for a cookie and then quickly dashing away when he has caught one in his grasp.  If my son doesn't manage to eat the rest of these cookies I plan on setting out a few for Santa Clause this year.  If I'm lucky he'll leave a brand new food processor under the tree for me!

* The absolutely beautiful red and white Swedish Dalahäst linen kitchen hand towel featured above was handmade by lilleputt studio.

Swedish Pepparkakor People Cookies (Gluten-Free)

makes 6 dozen small cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup pure cane sugar (unrefined)
1 egg
2 tablespoons pure Maple Syrup
1 1/4 cups organic brown rice flour + extra for rolling out dough (bob's red mill brand)
2/3 cup 'sweet' white sorghum flour (bob's red mill brand)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350° F.  In a electric mixer with a paddle attachment or a large bowl with hand mixer, blend the butter, sugar, egg and pure maple syrup until it is well combined and fluffy.  In a small bowl whisk together the brown rice flour, sweet sorghum flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, ground cardamom and ground nutmeg.  Slowly blend the flour mixture into the wet ingredients about a half cup at a time, making sure to mix well after each incorporation.  Gather the dough into 1 large ball (if you feel the dough is too wet then add a little more brown rice flour).  Wrap the large dough ball in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to firm up.  On a large clean surface, sprinkle down some brown rice flour and coat a rolling pin as well.  Using a quarter of the dough at a time, roll out the dough really thin, about 1/8 inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes.  Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake the cookies for about 6-8 minutes (watch them carefully because they can burn quite easily).  Transfer finished cookies to cool on a flat surface such as a piece of wax paper on a counter top or a large plate.  Store cookies in a sealed container.


11/27/2013 12:01am

I'm so excited to find this recipe! Christmas was not going to be the same.


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Slowly blend the flour mixture into the wet ingredients about a half cup at a time, making sure to mix well after each incorporation.

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