Cardamom Bread and Pepparkakor Cookies

Cardamom Bread and Pepparkakor Cookies

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I thought about titling this post, Man Found Dead with Cardamom Bread Recipe Stuffed in His Mouth. However, after considering the situation realistically for a moment, I realized that my grandparents probably wouldn't knock me off for sharing two of our secret Swedish holiday recipes. But, if I turn up missing, you know who to look for! :-)

Every year around the holidays, I look forward to these two tasty treats. I've eaten cardamom bread and papparkakor cookies during Christmastime for as long as I can remember. The smell of either of them baking immediately brings back warm memories for me. About 10 years ago, I asked my grandparents for these recipes, and they were kind enough to provide them. I'm posting both of them here so that others can enjoy their fantastic flavor.

Cardamom Bread

Here's the recipe that I use for cardamom bread. The original recipe is the version that I received from my grandparents. The modified recipe is my own conversion for use with a bread machine. I've made this recipe tens of times, and I'm always pleased with the results.

Original Recipe         Modified for Bread Machine
¾ cup milk   ½ cup milk
¼ cup butter   3 tablespoons butter
1 egg   1 egg
1/3 cup sugar   ¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt   ½ teaspoon salt
3 cups flour   2¼ cups flour (bread flour)
2 teaspoons yeast   1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1½ - 2 teaspoons cardamom   1½ teaspoons cardamom
(3 teaspoons if using powder)
  1. Microwave milk and butter for approximately 50 seconds
  2. Make dough using all ingredients (manually or with bread machine on "dough" mode)
  3. Divide into 3 rolled strips, cover with cloth, and allow to rest for 10 minutes
  4. Braid dough and top with light sugar coating (not included in above ingredients)
  5. Allow to rise for 40-50 minutes under plastic wrap
  6. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack

 Cardamom bread is good toasted or plain, buttered or not. If you're like me, you won't be able to limit yourself to just one or two slices. :-)

Pepparkakor Cookies

Done properly, pepparkakor cookies (a Swedish twist on ginger cookies) are relatively thin and crisp. Pepparkakor cookie dough is my favorite, with chocolate chip cookie dough coming in a close second (at least the Nestlé Toll House recipe). Yeah, I know...raw eggs, Salmonella, etc. Call me crazy, but kids and adults have been eating raw cookie dough since the dawn of time (okay...maybe not quite that long), and as far as I know, kids aren't keeling over in the kitchen. But hey, I'm no doctor, so proceed at your own risk.

1 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons molasses (I prefer the “Dark Full Flavor” kind)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Cream butter with sugar
  2. Add egg, milk, and molasses
  3. Mix everything else in
  4. Refrigerate the dough overnight
  5. Roll dough onto flowered surface until approximately 1/8" thick, and cut into shapes
  6. Bake at 350 degrees until done (approximately 8 minutes)

If you end up making either of these recipes, or if you have similar recipes that you'd like to share, please leave feedback. I'm very curious to hear what you think!

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  • For the pepparkakor dough, try adding a little bit of grated orange peel. Other than that it looks pretty similar to the recipe in my genuine swedish plaid cookbook.
  • If I were to die with something in my mouth, I would want it to be cardamom bread.
  • Do you ever use cardamom spice in the pepparkakor?  I learned to do that in Sweden and am surprised to find it isn't in many of the Swediesh recipes I see in America. It might be because cardamom is very expensive here.

  • Hi Michael!

    I was wandering through Google juse now looking for a good pepparkakor recipe. What a treat, literally, to find yours! My grandmother made both those and cardamom bread every year before she died, and I have continued the tradition. I hadn't found a good-sounding pepperkakor recipe until yours. It was also one of the few sites where I found cardamom rather than saffron. We prefer the former, although it is $12 US/ .5 g! My flickas and I can't wait to try your recipes. Thanks!  Grace

  • Hi Michael!

    I too was desperately searching for a recipe that I remembered my grandmother making each Christmas and saw your website.  I haven't had these in a number of years and am looking forward to trying your recipe.  Thank you so much for posting it!  Christine

  • Hi Michael, The recipe you gave for Cardamom Bread sounds exactly like the bread I remember my mother making for us.  I loved waking to the scent of baking bread and look forward to tasting this treat made all the more enticing because she brushed on melted butter and sprinkled the top of the bread with granulated sugar.  Ooh I can smell that delicious bread now.  Thanks for bringing back that wonderful memory.

  • I can't wait to try your Cardomom Bread recipe.  No one made it like my Grandmother.  She always insisted on cracking her own cardomom.  I brought her some home from Sweden one time.  She's been gone now for 10 years and we've resorted to buying coffee bread.  Now I will try my hand at it sith your recipe.  I always thought it was more involved than what I see in yours.  I'll let you know how it comes out. Loved her Spritz cookies and have perfected making them like her. Her recipe is sworn to secrecy or I'd share it with you.  Honestly, I've never seen a similar recipe for spritz anywhere!  Can you imagine, some recipes claim to be Spritz and don't even contain almond flavoring!

    Merry Christmas!

  • I had the opportunity this evening to spend Christmas eve with a woman from Sweden who brought a fabulous bread to a potluck. She said it was called "pepperkock" I found your recipe for cookies and it sounded very much like was we ate.The difference is that hers was a bread, sort of like a banana bread in texture (but not super sweet) Would you know what the recipe would be. I know its not cardamom bread, since the picture you had looks mre like a white bread. thanks

  • Just like the other remarks I've read, I've been looking for this very recipe for ages.  My former husband's grandmother was Finnish.  She barely spoke English, but taught me to make it by watching her do it.  I long ago lost the recipe I wrote down from watching her.

    Thanks so much.

  • This is pretty much the same receipe we have handed down over the generations in our family.

    My Finnish grandmother made it, then my mother.  It is the only from scratch bread I take the time to make - usually just once a year on Christmas eve, for breakfast the next morning,although none of us can leave it overnight before having some!

    My grandfather was Swedish, and we call it Swedish coffe bread in our family.  I have a Swedish cookbook with the recipe in it.

    Our family brushes the top with beaten egg, then sprinkles sugar over that, then ground and slivered almonds.  For those who don't care for nuts, we leave them off a couple of loaves.

  • I was wondering through a Bed, Bath & Beyond store here in Michigan and came across a Cardamom scented candle - smells just like it! Then I thought of my paternal grandmother baking cardamom when we'd visit at the farm (they had a peach orchard, selling the fruit to Gerber baby foods...)

    Anyway, I asked my dad if he or his sisters had the recipe. Nope. So, I decided to go on line and found your recipe through Google. I will try it, and have my dad taste it. He swears that nobody made it like grandma (she truly was one heck of a baker - her pies and jams were to die for!) After we try the finished product I'll let you know how your recipe fairs. Always thought there was much more to it - picture grandma "slaving" in the kitchen...? Could just be my adolescent memory, though. Although, your picture looks more like a white bread, where grandma's was darker, more like a "medium" rye bread color...

    Your recipe sounds terrific - and easy - on paper. Can't wait to try it! Thanks for posting it!

  • Hey, hey, cute pepparkakors, Why don t you send it over to my <a href="http://www.burntmouth.com/2007/10/spoonful-of-christmas.html">Spoonful of Christmas</a> food event.

  • Made your cardamom bread with some minor changes. Turned out good, very soft and tasty with a light crust. You can find the result at my blog.Thanks.

  • I make Peparkakor cookies every year at Chrismas.  My Dad enjoys them so much I have to hide most of them or they will be gone and he will be in a crumb covered stupor! He often talks about a cardamom cake his mom made as a child that was much denser then a traditional coffee cake and a bit gooier.  Any ideas?

  • I have always made the bread. I got the recipe from my mom. I don't know where she got it but, I love, love, love this bread!! I am thrilled to see that you can make it in a bread machine. Thank you for an easier way, for when I want to make it any time. Michelle

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