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December 14: Gingerbread mittens

 
Every year, I like to do some fun spin on pepparkakor, Swedish gingerbread cookies. The classic Swedish cookie cutters for pepparkakor are gingerbread men and women, hearts and pigs. Last year, I made some feminist gingerbread, and this year, I plan on making some mittens. 

This is an idea I got from Swedish designer Elisabeth Dunker of Fine Little Day. You don't even need to have a mitten cookie cutter to make these; the simple shape can be easily drawn onto a piece of paper which you can then use as a template and cut around with a knife. 

Then the decorating is all up to you, whatever kind of mitten design you're craving. Stripes, snowflakes, dots, arrows, triangles, hearts, circles... you get the idea. 

You could make these with a sugar cookie recipe as well, but I love the look of white icing on gingerbread. If you're in need of a gingerbread recipe, I have one for you below. Looking for a gluten-free and vegan option? You can find that here. I usually decorate with an icing made with powdered sugar and a little orange juice. This gives it a nice flavor. But feel free to use whatever icing you like to use.

Happy baking and decorating.
 
-Anna

Swedish Pepparkakor

Ingredients:
  • 5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces, 71 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces, 99 grams) organic, natural cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds, crushed
  • 1 tablespoons ground ginger
  • A little ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups (5 ounces/141 grams to 6 ounces/170 grams) organic whole wheat pastry flour + more for rolling out
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) water

Preparation:

Cream together the butter, sugar and molasses. Add the spices and baking soda and mix together until well blended. 

Mix in the flour, a half cup at a time. When you have added half the flour, blend in the water, then add the rest of the flour and work together until it turns into a dough and you can form it into a log. Wrap tightly in a tea towel and place in the refrigerator over night.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a baking sheet (or two, you're going to be baking a few batches).

Cut off a small section of the dough to roll out. To keep the dough from sticking to the countertop, roll the dough a little, flip it, roll the dough some more and flip again. Repeat until you have rolled the dough as thin as you can get it. 

Cut out your mittens, or whatever other shape you are baking, and place on the greased baking sheet. 

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, then remove from the oven. Let the pan cool for just a couple of minutes, then transfer the cookies with a spatula to a flat surface (like your countertop or the kitchen table) and let cool completely.

When completely cooled, decorate with icing of your choice.

Once icing has set, store in an airtight container. Serve with a cup of glögg.
 
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