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I’ve submitted to Christmas. It snuck up on me and I’m now embracing it wholeheartedly. Molly’s been getting me to sing carols in the morning for weeks now, which is just what I (and Jamie) need first thing in the morning. I’ve made crackers and a wreath. We picked out our tree, and afterwards introduced Molly to Father Christmas (huge success – absolutely terrified of him). Next I wanted to do up a batch of pepparkakor biscuits, mostly for decorating the tree with, but also some for scoffing. These little spicey, gingery biscuits are Swedish and so is Jamie’s Mum. We like to have a few Swedish traditions each year (we pick the ones we like obviously). We used to get them from Ikea when we’d also get the obligatory Christmas Eve pickled herring and those strange little sausages (Prinskorv) that Jamie’s brother Kristian can eat by the bucket load. For the past few years though, I’ve been making my own. The smell of the Norway spruce mixed in with the gingery biscuits is heavenly. This recipe was donated by Eva, and is apparently as old as the rolling hills of Skåne…

This will make about 200, so I halved the quantity. The measurements are in decilitres, which basically is in tenths of litres. For the sugar and flour, just fill a measuring jug up to that quantity. Seems counter-intuitive to measure solids in this way, but apparently this is the way the Swedes do it… I also guffawed at the amount of sugar, and thought maybe it was lost in translation, but trusted the recipe and they turned out a treat.

150gms   margarine or butter
5  dl        sugar
2  dl        syrup (not treacle)
2  dl        water
1  tbl       cinammon
1  tbl       ginger
1  tbl       clove
1  tbl       bicarbonate soda
1.5  l       flour  (not self raising flour)

dl = decilitre  l = litre

Stir margarine, sugar and syrup until smooth.

Add water, spices and bicab and work in the flour

Work the dough smoothly on the table. Let the dough rest over 1 night. Roll out not too thin
and take out cakes with form.

Bake them in a warm oven (250 C), baking time 4 mins – keep an eye on them, as one lot I did were a minute over and were overdone.

Suitable for animals, men and pepparkakor house.

For the house you should use half of the dough and add 1 dl of flour.

If using to decorate the tree as I did, pierce a hole with a needle whilst the biscuits are hot out of the oven. I stuck the silver baubles on with royal icing (I whisked up the white of one egg with a squeeze of lemon, gradually adding icing sugar until thick enough to pipe).

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