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Swedish Spelt Pepparkakor (Gingerbread Cookies)

Prep Time15 mins
Fridge overnight1 d
Course: Christmas
Cuisine: Swedish


  • 170g sugar
  • 100ml light syrup
  • 100ml water
  • 125g butter (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon cardamom
  • ½ tablespoon dried cloves
  • ½ tablespoon ginger
  • ½ tablespoon bicarbonate baking soda
  • 425-450g spelt flour (see notes)


  • Icing (shop bought or homemade)
  • sprinkles (or whatever else you like)


Basic Gingerbread Dough (for approx. 60-70 cookies):

  • Add the sugar, syrup and water to a pan and heat the ingredients until they start to bubble. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a while.
  • Mix the spices together and along with the butter, add to the pan. Stir gently until the butter has melted.
  • Sift 425g of the flour and baking soda together and then add to the wet ingredients, stirring until a fairly sticky dough forms. If you need more flour, just add a little at a time (the dough firms up when chilled, so don't add too much, Although sticky, you should be able to mould it together with your hands). Form into a rough ball shape, cover with clingfilm (or place in a plastic bag) and leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
  • When you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 200°C and divide the dough into three or four bits (it's easier to work with the dough in smaller quantities) and roll out on a floured surface. SEE NOTES

Christmas Tree

  • Roll out the dough to around ½cm thickness. You will need star cutters of various sizes (I had three different sizes). I made the big ones first (they needed more baking) and then made the smaller ones (you can combine them on one baking sheet, but you would need to watch them carefully, as the small ones will bake faster). When cooled completely, assemble the larger ones first (staggered, with the stars' points in different places), graduating to the smaller ones on top. Place a little icing or chocolate on top of each cookie to keep them in place. Sprinkle liberally with icing sugar or decorate however you prefer.

Traditional Swedish Pepparkakor

  • Roll out the dough as thin as you can get it (you may need to do this on grease-proof paper to get it very thin). It's important the dough is very chilled when making these, as it will easily tear when it gets thin. Use a medium heart-shaped cutter. These will bake incredibly fast, so keep an eye on them (start checking at around four minutes).

Thicker Pepparkakor

  • Roll the dough out to about ½cm. Use any cutter you like. Decorate your cookies however you fancy and store them in an airtight container (please note: they will get softer over time).


I use grams and millilitres in my recipes. I am not comfortable converting to cups as I believe I can't guarantee the accuracy. I would always recommend you buying some scales but if not, it is easy to convert my amounts online.
Spelt flour: with this gingerbread, like most of my recipes, you can do a straight swap with regular flour.
Baking times: these will vary depending on size and thickness. The usual baking time is anywhere from 4-9 minutes, so you will need to keep a very close eye on them. If you prefer your gingerbread softer, bake for less time. There is about 30 seconds difference between deep golden brown, crunchy cookies, and burnt ones!
Cutters: I used the same heart-shaped cutter for both of my heart cookies. The reason why they look so different is because of their thickness and how long they were baked for.