Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas cookies and Estonian piparkoogid

Marzipan cookies
In Switzerland and Germany the typical Christmas cookies are Vanille Kipferln (vanilla half moons), Zimt Sterne (cinnamon and almond stars), and many others often made with ground almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts.

This year I set out to extend the line of the cookies and pair the dark Piparkoogid with a contrasting marzipan and orange cookies.

Marzipan - orange cookies from Germany

Piparkoogid are traditional Christmas cookies in Estonia and Scandinavia. Christmas and New Year without piparkoogid just doesn´t feel right. Piparkoogid are made with lots of different spices, cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, orange peel, black pepper. The most important part of the preparation of the dough is burning the sugar. It gets very very hot, must not be over burnt, but under burning leaves the cookies too pale. The burnt sugar gives the piparkoogid the brown colour. It is good to let the dough rest for at least 24 hours and it can stay in the fridge even for a month. It almost has to given the volumes that all get baked during the last weeks of December.

Estonian Piparkoogid - Christmas ginger cookies

My Mom bakes lots of them for my Dad and for all the friends of the family. I usually make half of her  portion and that amounts to roughly 1000 pieces. So you can imagine a big basket of piparkoogid at my parents that gets filled and emptied and filled again. I must add that we love the very small ones and because they are small the hand just doesn´t stop going back to the bowl for more...and more...

Making Estonian Piparkoogid from dough
Small Piparkoogid are the best
I hope Santa will be in my town on the 24th, any day really would be good. He is a busy man visiting all of your towns too and hopefully with some foodie presents in his sack.

Merry Christmas to everyone!