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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  • Michael, I think I died and went to heaven!!!! I lost my Swedish mother's recipe for Pepparkakors and used some other dumb one this year for Christmas and just found yours and totally recognize it as Mom's.  I also recognize your Cardamon Bread as hers and so want to do it right after the holidays.  Thank you so so much.  Nobody knows what ginger cookies are like until they eat Pepparkakors.  Thanks, Sara

  • I just copied you recipes. I am anxious to try them. Do you have a recipe for Limpa? Tusen Tak.Lil

  • Regarding Step 5:

    Roll dough onto flowered surface until approximately 1/8" thick, and cut into shapes

    --What type of flower should I use?

  • Jean...I use all-purpose flour. I've also learned to keep the dough chilled, so I only take what I need to roll out, then I put the rest back in the refrigerator until the next sheet. Last, I use a rubber cookie mat (I'm sure there's more correct term) to roll onto, since it prevents sticking.

  • hi!!

    I'm from France and i was searching for this Pepperkakor recipe for a so long time now!

    thank you so much for your recipe.

    i hope I find THE original recipe now.

    thoose cookies are so good and crispies...Yumi!

    i will cook soon and maybe tell you my opinion!!

    may God bless you...

  • I've made pepparkakor for nearly 50 years now as part of my Christamas gifts to family and friends. My original recipe is more complicated than this - and uses more spices - but I am going to try this one this year. Simplification, simplification.... but I will add the cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. I'll let you know how it goes!

  • I'm sure you will be getting more hits as the holidays approach.  Everyone says they will give you their recipe for this Swedish bread but they keep it under lock and key. Big Secreat.  Why is that pass it on to family and friends I say.  Well I am going to give this one a try.  I hope it's the one with the cost of Cardamom you don't want to waste your money or time.   This sounds like my mothers recipe and I loved her bread I could eat a whole loaf as a child.  Thanks for giving up the recipe.  Pauline Carlson Prince

  • Dear Michael,

    I was looking for a recipe, for what my grandmother used to call her Christmas bread, and found your recipe. She would put icing and green and red candied cherries on top. I cant wait to try it. Thanks,  I was also happy to find the Pepparkakor cookies, boy what a trip down memory lane.  Thanks and Merry Christmas

  • I have been making cardamom bread and pepparkakor for a long time now (30 years)  My recipies are a bit different from yours.  My pepparkakor recipe is from my grandmother.  One tip is to roll the cookies out in a flour/powdered sugar recipe.  It keeps the cookies from becoming tough as the scraps are rerolled.  Also, the cardamom bread is often topped with pearl sugar, which is beet suger, you can buy this at IKEA.  

  • Hi Michael,

    Your cardamom bread recipe is fantastic!  I've been using it for a few years now to make bread for my family during the holidays, and they always love it.  Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Mike, can you please specify what type of cardamon you use? I get the pods, do you recommend grinding them first? I don't want to use preground cardamon as I think spices loose their flavour after grinding and being stored...


  • @Mel: I prefer buying the pods, removing the outer "husk," then grinding the seeds in a coffee grinder. Like you, I think it results in *much* better flavor. However, it is a lot of work to do, so I usually grind a bit more than I need (even though I put the cardamom back in its original container, it's still much better than the powder).

  • I am SO glad I found these two recipes.

    I wanted to share that the bread that we picked up at the local Swedish bakery, would top it with large grain raw sugar..delish!

     I have only 2 cookie recipes that go back to my childhood days, and these pepparkakors are one, and the other mundlekrunts (sorry about the spelling) those tiny quarter size rings of butter cookies that melt in your mouth.  I recall my Swedish godmother making at least 2 dozen different types of cookies that were displayed on the dessert table around christmas time at our local Kafe Stuga (sp) and cannot find anyone who kept these delights in print.  If anyone has access or search tools (I've gone through Google 100's of times and different ways) maybe correct spellings would help? Please share.  Thanks for these two, at least...I know had the internet been available while my godmother was alive, she would NEVER have let me share...even getting a recipe was like pulling teeth..."if you can't learn to make them by memory, you shouldn't make them..."

  • Great news for our family, the recipe for cardamom bread, very close to the one I have used for 20 years and have lost. (shame on me for not sharing it with family (recipe, not the bread).  My recipe made 3 loaves. As to pepparkakar cookies, very similar to a Sweedish ginger cookie recipe I have also used for years.  Thank you for offering these recipes on line.  Some years I made as many as 30 loaves at Christmas.

  • Hi Mike, I've been using this recipe for a few years now with my family at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it is always a hit.  Thanks so much!

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