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Swedish Gingerbread Cookies

Making Swedish pepparkakor—or gingerbread cookies—is a holiday tradition in our family. I entered these at the Iowa State Fair and took home a blue ribbon.—Kathleen Olesen, Des Moines, IA
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    about 3 dozen


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons water
  • Red Hots, optional


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. In another bowl, whisk flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and baking soda; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-1/2-in. gingerbread man cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, shortening, vanilla and enough water to reach spreading consistency. Decorate cookies with frosting and, if desired, Red Hots.
  • Freeze option: Transfer wrapped disks to a resealable plastic freezer bag; freeze. To use, thaw dough in refrigerator overnight or until soft enough to roll. Prepare, bake and decorate cookies as directed.
Nutrition Facts
1 cookie: 201 calories, 9g fat (4g saturated fat), 19mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (19g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.
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  • dilbert098
    Dec 5, 2020

    Fantastic. The icing and cookie flavour come together perfectly. I'll be keeping this recipe. I only needed to cook them for 8 minutes as well.

  • amsm
    Dec 28, 2018

    These cookies are perfect! They were easy to make and prepare, and delicious! The icing was easy to pipe and dried well. We added some decorations like colored sugar and sprinkles. I baked them closer to the 8 minutes for a softer cookie.

  • Manja
    Dec 29, 2016

    I just made these cookies and they were fun to make and turned out perfect!, not too hard not too soft! I didn't ice them, wanted to keep them simple and poked tiny holes for a face and buttons, thank you for the recipe!

  • paul3303
    Dec 23, 2016

    This was a good flavored cookie, but I would prefer a softer cookie.

  • lsmith720
    Dec 13, 2015

    These little guys are outstanding! They are so deliciously flavorful. If you love a strong gingersnap, these are definitely worth the try. This will definitely go into my favorite recipe book for Christmas cookies!