Step 8: Start baking!!




The baking began at Jane’s place in Sausalito. On Monday night Jane prepared
the pepparkakor dough, recipe courtesy of our friend Nilos:

GAMMALDAGS PEPPARKAKOR

sifted flour 3 1/2 c.
ginger 1 1/2 t.
cinnamon 1 1/2 t.
cloves 1 t.
cardamom* 1/4 t.
butter 1/2 c.
sugar 3/4 c.
egg 1
molasses 3/4 c.
orange zest 2 t.

Sift together flour and spices and set aside. Cream butter till fluffy, adding sugar gradually. Beat in egg, molasses and orange zest. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Chill covered overnight (will hold more than a week of wrapped airtight). Roll out 1/8″ thick on well-floured board, cut out and bake on greased cookie sheets at 375°F for 8 – 10 minutes. Store airtight. They get better as they age.

Great recipe – tasty and easy to make. The dough does not contain too much butter (relatively speaking), and so does not stick to the floured cloth rolling-out urface. Enjoyable to make these.

Tuesday night, Jane baked the pepparkakor and made the Zimsterne, recipe courtesy of Beate:

ZIMSTERNE (Cinnamon Stars)

4 egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice
300 g caster sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tbsp cinnamon
375-400 g ground almonds

Preheat oven to 130°C.Beat egg whites with lemon juice until very stiff. Gradually add sugar and beat until firm (so that it could be cut with a knife) and glossy.Take away and set aside a little more than half a cup of this mixture for the topping. Mix cinnamon and almonds into the rest of the egg white mixture. Make sure it is not too sticky and not too dry. Add more almonds if too sticky.Sprinkle the worktop with flour, some sugar and some ground almonds. Spread a small amount of the mixture on the work surface and roll out to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Cut little stars with a cookie cutter and place on a baking tray.
Spread the egg white mixture set aside earlier on top of the stars.Bake stars for about 45 minutes, leaving the oven door slightly open (the icing
has to stay white).

Conversions:
http://www.onlineconversion.com/temperature.htm130 degree Celsius = 266 degree Fahrenheit
http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cookingconversions.asp?Action=find300 grams = 2.5 cups unsifted powdered sugar375 – 400 grams = 2.6 to 2.75 cups whole almonds

This was a baking experience!! Not your average cookie dough! This recipe is not for the baking novice . . . . but what a tasty result! The cookies is very much like one recipe for the traditional Scandinavian “kransekake” – ground almonds, powdered sugar and egg white – no butter or flour. (Stay tuned for the kransekake blog this weekend.) For the Zimsterne, be sure to set aside enough of the egg white/lemon mixture for spreading on the cookies later! I didn’t set aside quite enough, so there are a few “naked” zimsterne in my cookie tin. 🙂

Also be sure you have plenty of extra ground almonds on hand to add if the dough is too sticky. These cookies bake longer than your average American cookie, and at a lower heat, so as to keep the white meringue topping white. And a word to the wise, or to the temper-tantrum-prone, keep a tasty cocktail handy to keep your mood mellow when the dough sticks too much or when frosting the cookies with meringue or when things don’t turn out exactly as you’d thought they would . . . . 😉 Because this was the first time I’d made this cookie, I used my good friend “google” to look up some other recipes for the same cookie and found the following words of warning to begin one of the other recipes, “These are extremely difficult to make, but if you make them, they are heavenly.” Took a sip of my cocktail and ploughed ahead!

Wednesday was the easy baking day – just one batch of Spritz cookies. Though you find a recipe for spritz in any Scandinavian cookbook, I found a recipe for “German Spritz,” so chose to make that one. It’s virtually identical to the Scandinavian recipes.

GERMAN SPRITZ

1 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract (I used vanilla)
2 1/2 c. flour (actually, 2 c. was plenty)

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in flour.
Fill spritz cookie press, press, decorate. Bake at 400°F for 7 minutes.

Baking blogs to follow in next few days – krumkake, kransekake, pumpernickel
bread, and braided cardamom bread. 🙂 Yum!