Gingerbread – Pepperkaker

I wanted to share this popular Christmas event with you all, a successful attempt to build the world longest gingerbread train at Oslo Central Train station. It was 4 tracks wide with a total of 617 carriages and measured 206 meters, a new world record according to Guinness World Records. The decoration of ready made coaches has been mainly done by kindergarden children but also by other people, with a large number of commuters whom have lost several trains in their attempt to decorate the perfect carriage. Half of the train will be given to the charity Alternative Christmas, who organises Christmas dinners for the homeless in the Oslo area, while the remainder will be divided among the city’s hospitals.

It is a common event in Norway, especially if you have children, to make a gingerbread house. Each year the house needs to be even better, and as you can imagine the architecture students usually organise their own competition. The decorating sweets usually ‘disappear’ during Christmas and some inventive people, like my friend Mette, organises a demolition party after Christmas where the children get a plastic hammer each! Sounds fun to me!

If you do not have time to make the dough yourself, there is help at hand, you can buy it ready made and among the most popular ones is the one bought at Åpent Bakeri. Unique because their philosophy is to bake by hand, using less machines compared to the rest of the bakeries. See how their bakers work at night at www.apentbakeri.no Their ‘pepperkaker’ tastes delicious, and here is their recipe by popular demand:

  • 250 g butter
  • 150 g syrup
  • 400 g sugar
  • 130 g whipping cream
  • 6 g cloves
  • 7 g cinnamon
  • 850 g plain flour
  • 12 g bicarbonate soda
  • 1/4 dl water
  • 1 egg.

Method: Mix butter, syrup and sugar in a pot. Heat until sugar is completely melted. Let it cool slightly. Add cream and the egg. Mix bicarbonate soda in the water and add in.

Sift in spices and most of the flour. Stir until it forms a stiff dough. Leave in the fridge over night. Then need with rest of flour and roll out about 3mm thick. Use cookie cutters (or more traditionally, just a knife to make shapes). Place on baking sheet on oven tray and bake at 175 C until golden brown (about 10 mins). Cool cookies before decorating.

Tip: Dip cookie cutters in flour first so the cookie mixture doesn’t stick. If you want to hang your pepperkake on the Christmas tree make a good hole in the dough of each cookie before cooking – a pen cylinder does just the trick. Enjoy!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas! God Jul!

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