American Dream Cakes, Inc. sister company, Saras Pepparkakor, is about to make her grand debut at the Scandinavian Christmas Festival in Raleigh on December 6th! Saras Pepparkakor will specialize in traditional Swedish holiday sweets; the most important & well known being pepparkakor (gingerbread cookie). Although a traditional pepparkakor shares many similar ingredients as an American gingerbread, they are completely different cookies.

Pepparkakor are generally spiced quite a bit more than their American counterparts while preserving the satin-like finish of a spice cookie.   The original pepparkakor was a honey cookie with pepper for taste.  It wasn’t until the 1300’s that the more “traditional” spices of cardamom, clove, ginger & cinnamon replaced pepper when imports from Europe became abundant.  Since these spices were new, and still looked like the pepper used by most Swedes, they were referred to as such which could be the reason these spicy cookies are retained the name pepparkakor.

The Swedish pepparkakor also differs from their American cousins in two distinct ways.  First off, the Swedish cookies are very thin (usually no more than 1/8” thick) and baked to a firm crisp.  American gingerbread tends to be a heavier, thicker cookie.  Secondly, Swedish gingerbread does not use molasses as sugar syrup and therefore doesn’t have the strong flavored aftertaste American cookies do.  This brings out the natural flavor of the spices.

Pepparkakor is a major part of the Swedish Christmas feast. It is often used to decorate the Christmas tree and is said to predict whether or not wishes will come true. Old tradition states that if you place a pepparkakor in the palm of your hand then tap the center (with the index finger of your free hand) and the cookie breaks into three distinct pieces your wish will come true.  If it breaks into any more than three, well, you may not get your wish but you still get to enjoy your cookie in bite size pieces.

Tradition doesn’t just run in the cookie, it runs in the family as well.  It started with Great Grandmother Sara making traditional pepparkakor for her own family.  Generations later Owner/President of American Dream Cakes, Gunilla Kroshus, continued the traditional recipe at her bakery during the Christmas season.  Now, her own daughter Sara is following suit by making the cookies available for a whole new generation through the sister company.  Saras Pepparkakor is the tradition and the lineage behind the cookie, spanning 5 generations from Great-Great Grandmother to Great-Great Granddaughter.

So mark your calendars for the 6th of December, 2014!  We would love to see all of you at the Raleigh State Fairgrounds for the Scandinavian Christmas Festival & the debut of all the sweet treats from Saras Pepparkakor.

‘Saras Pepparkakor’ will be available for sale through the holidays at American Dream Cakes Bakery in Jacksonville.