My great-grandma arrived to the States when she was about 18. I remember interviewing her during the centennial celebration for the Statue of Liberty in the late 80s. The media at the time was brimming over with sentimental hoopla, and I thought I could channel Barbara Walters and get her to cry during my own VHS camcorder moment.
Me: “Mummo (a version of great gram invented by an older cousin) what did you feel when you came into New York Harbor and saw the Statue of Liberty when you immigrated to the US?”
Mummo: “Not much. I was only interested in seeing American boys.”
Classic. My great gram Ellen Nordin was not only a maneater, but also an AMAZING baker. She died at age 98. From what I can tell, Swedish cookies and a gin martini every night before dinner were the keys to her longevity. Here’s her secret recipe for Pepparkakor.
In my Tantric lineage called Rajanaka Yoga we like to say, “Secrets are only as good as they are shared.” In fact, the shareability is what MAKES a secret a secret. So enjoy. And oh yeah, Ikea, eat your heart out.
Ellen Nordin’s Secret Pepparkakor Recipe
1 c butter
3/4 c dark brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
2 T dark corn syrup
1 T water
3 1/4 c flour
2 t baking soda
2 t ground cardamom
2 t ground clove
2 t ground ginger
3 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 T fresh grated orange zest
Cream sugar & butter
Beat in egg til fluffy
Stir in orange peel, syrup & water
Combine dry ingredients in bowl and stir in gradually
Roll out dough to about 1/4″ thick. Use SMALL cookie cutters, not more than 2″ diameter. The SECRET to amazing Swedish cookies of any kind is that they’re SMALL. Pop in your mouth in 1 bite. 2 max. The store bought kind are like doorknob sized. No. No. No. Don’t do it.
Bake 350 degrees F for 10 – 15 minutes. They should be crispy, not chewy, when cool. It’s a fine line to burnt. Careful.
I love these especially with my morning coffee. Their subtle flavor hits you after a 2 second pause…
…and it’s WONDROUS.