The photograph is from Johanna’s book December – från adventspyssel till nyårspartaj (lit. ”December – from advent crafts to New Year’s party”) and was taken by Ulrika Pousette.

We would like to wish all our followers a really lovely advent and, together with cookbook author Johanna Westman, we would like to share the best recipe for pepparkakor (Swedish ginger biscuits traditionally eaten at Christmas time), sure to delight young and old! It is a good idea to let the dough rest in the fridge for a couple of days. Then you can use it as and when you need it.

Makes approx. 200 biscuits.

340g (4 dl) sugar
200ml dark syrup
200ml water
250g butter
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tbsp ground cloves
1 ½ tbsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp ground ginger
780g (13 dl) flour + extra flour to roll out the dough
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

DAY 1:
1. Pour the sugar, syrup and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Put the saucepan to one side.
2. Divide the butter into small pieces and put in a bowl. Add all the spices. Pour in the warm sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon, so that all the butter melts and everything is mixed in. Let the mixture cool, stirring occasionally.
3. Measure out the flour, add the bicarbonate of soda and stir with a fork until evenly mixed. Pour the flour into the bowl with the butter mixture and combine everything to form a loose dough. Cover the bowl with cling film, and allow the dough to rest and rise in the fridge for at least one day.

DAY 2:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
2. Take some of the dough and gently roll it out on a floured work surface or directly onto a baking tray covered with baking paper. Cut out the pepparkakor with pastry cutters.
3. Put one tray at a time into the middle of the oven and bake the pepparkakor for about 5 minutes – watch them the whole time to make sure they do not burn.
4. Let the pepparkakor cool down before decorating them with icing

You can pour the ready-made icing into different bowls and make different coloured icing with food colouring. Makes approx. 200ml.
1 egg white
240g (4 dl) icing sugar
2ml distilled vinegar (12%)
1. Mix the egg white with the icing sugar and the distilled vinegar. Whisk until you have smooth, white and shiny icing – preferably with an electric whisk.
2. Fill a piping bag with icing and decorate your pepparkakor. Let the icing set before moving the biscuits into a tin or a box with a lid.