German and Scandinavian Ginger Snap Cookies (Pepparkakor)

Pepparkakor or gingersnaps are small, thin, crisp cookies that are sold in most Scandinavian countries during December for the Christmas season. Pepparkakor or Pepparkaka means “pepper cookie”. Interestingly, the cookies do not contain any pepper.

There are some claims that the cookie originated in Mesopotamia as early as 1700 Bc. But it is more likely that they came to Sweden from Germany. Pepparkakor used to be common in both England and Germany and trade between Germany and Sweden goes a long way back in history. The first evidence of Pepparkakor being consumed in Sweden dates back to the 1300’s and the first recipes in cookbooks is from the 1700’s. But it is in the 1800’s that the pepparkaka first starts to be associated with Christmas.

Swedish Pepparkakor

Pepparkakor- Ginger Snap Cookies

In Sweden, pepparkakor is eaten during the famous Fika (coffee break), of which there are many. The main ingredients in pepparkakor are flour, butter, sugar and molasses. The dough is flavored with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and bitter orange before being baked and filling the house with the incredible scents of the holidays. Ginger snaps are thought to be originally from either Germany or Sweden.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German, North Western European, Scandanavian, Sweden
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling dough: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 60 cookies
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Food processor
  • Medium bowl
  • 2 Large baking pans lined with parchment paper
  • Wire baking rack


  • 2 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 4 tbsp Dark molasses
  • ¾ cup Butter (Sub: vegetable shortening)
  • 1 large Egg
  • tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Ground cloves
  • 1 tsp Orange zest


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 large baking pans with parchment paper.
  • Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until a dough forms. Transfer to a bowl and chill in refrigerator for a few hours and up-to overnight.
  • Drop tablespoon sized lumps of dough onto a baking pan 2-inches apart. Press flat with your fingers and sprinkle sugar lightly over them. Bake until dark brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.


  • Pepparkakor can be baked ahead and stored between sheets of wax paper sheets in an airtight container, where they can be stored for up to 2 weeks.
  • They can also be frozen for 1 to 2 months.


Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 0.05mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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