Iam really excited to share with you a recipe of my childhood – Piparkukas.
It is a traditional Latvian Christmas biscuit similar to gingerbread. Instead of ginger we use black pepper and other festive spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and decorate these biscuits with royal icing. Children’s favourite these could also work perfectly as Christmas tree decoration or a lovely gift.
Well… If there will be any left!
Prep time:Baking time:Serves:
100g Golden Syrup
50g Light Brown Sugar
50g Dark Muscovado Sugar
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Ground Allspice
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Ground Cardamom
½ tsp Ground Coriander
½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Cocoa Powder
350g Plain Flour
2 egg yolks
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 tsp Cream of Tart
Pinch of Salt
Ingredients Royal Icing:
2 Egg Whites
300g Icing Sugar
Food colouring (optional)
1. Melt the golden syrup and sugar in a medium to large size pan.
2. Add butter, cocoa power and all of the spices. It is best to use freshly ground spices for extra flavour but already ground shop-bought spices will do the job just as well.
3. Stir the mixture until butter melts and remove from the hob.
4. Sieve half of the flour and mix well.
5. Add egg yolks and mix again.
6. Sieve the rest of the flour, soda, cream of tart, salt and mix until all combined.
7. Knead it with your hands (just make sure it is cool enough to handle) for abut 5 min, wrap into cling film and leave it to cool in the fridge for 40-60min.
8. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C or 350F degrees.
9. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it to 3mm thick sheet.
10. Cut the desired shapes using the biscuit cutters. Place your biscuits onto baking tray lined with parchment paper leaving enough room between them as they will spread a bit.
11. Bake for 6-8min. Keep a close eye on those biscuits as they can get burned easily and the baking time really depends on the size and thickness of your biscuits and your oven settings. Just see how the first batch goes and adjust timing to suit.
12. The best way to see when biscuits are done is a slightly darker colour to the edge. When baked remove from the oven and let biscuits to cool down completely.
13. While your biscuits are cooling down make the Royal Icing.
14. Using a hand mixer whisk the egg whites until firm, gradually add icing sugar and mix well. If desired, you can add the food colouring at this stage.
15. Spoon the icing into a piping bag and get creative.
Similar style biscuits are very common in Nordic/Scandinavian countries.
The Finnish version is called piparkakut,
Norwegian – pepperkaker and Swedish pepparkakor.
These Christmassy biscuits are just perfect with hot chocolate…
next to the fireplace…
when it is cold and snowing outside… mmm…