Helga's Cookies

By Marcus Samuelsson |

In Sweden, ginger cookies, or peppakakor, are typically eaten around the holidays, and the spices in these cookies complement the winter coldness well. This is a version that is based on the spices that my grandmother Helga had in her large and magical pantry.


    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

    1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

    3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

    1 tablespoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon Kosher salt

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

    10 tablespoons or 1 1/4 sticksunsalted butter

    1 cup sugar

    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

    2 large eggs

    3/4 cup molasses


    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    2. In a small skillet, over medium heat, toast the ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes or just until fragrant. Remove the skillet from the heat.

    3. Sift the flour, toasted spices, baking soda, salt, and white pepper into a medium bowl or onto a sheet of wax paper.

    4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the molasses. Gradually beat in the flour-spice mixture.

    5. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake until the tops feel firm when lightly touched, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.