My favourite Christmas recipe is for a Pepparkake Hus which literally means Pepper Cake House. I make mine out of a gingerbread recipe though so it is really a Gingerbread House. As a young child I lived in Norway and the making of this Scandinavian Christmas gingerbread house is a tradition that we borrowed and brought back to the UK. For me it is simply the taste of Christmas and I now make them with my children as part of our traditions.
THE PEPPARKAKE TRADITION
In Norway and indeed other Scandinavian houses these biscuits or houses are made as part of the Christmas preparations and are often heavily decorated with icing and sweets. It is thought that the tradition in fact comes from Roman times and in times gone by how much pepper you put in your biscuit would indicate your wealth.
In my family’s experience of the Pepparkake Hus (Scandinavian Christmas Gingerbread house) it was made before Christmas and was essentially part of the decorations until New Years Eve when all the kids would smash it and eat it. It was something to look forward to every year and brings back many happy memories.
My Scandinavian Christmas Gingerbread house recipe
So here it is the recipe that I use. Now I must admit I use a mould these days to get all of the shapes. I got a silicone one from Lakeland, but they don’t make it anymore so I can’t direct you to that one. My mother had a template that she used every year and did it all herself, but I haven’t got the energy for that! Anyway I have found some on Amazon which you might like. Please note these are affiliate links
You may need to adjust quantities in this recipe to suit your moulds, but this makes a house that is around 30cm in length.
YOU WILL NEED:
300g golden syrup
500g Plain Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Extra Flour for rolling
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat
- Add Sugar and Syrup; remove from the heat and stir
- Add the dry ingredients and mix to make a dough
- Knead and then press into your mould
- Cook at 170 degrees C for around 25 mins
- Use either extra sugar syrup mixture (this will be very hot so take care) or royal icing to glue the pieces together. You may need to prop it up whilst it dries
- Ice whatever details you like and then let the kids go crazy with the sweets for decoration
MY CONTROL FREAK NATURE
I am a bit of a control freak and like things to look pretty, but when it comes to a Peppakaka Hus I think you really do need to let the kids have fun and create it themselves. This makes it a great Christmas recipe to make with kids. Although you do need to be really careful if using sugar syrup to glue the house together as it is boiling hot. I tend to stick the house together with it and then once it has cooled use icing for the kids to
The only thing I draw the line at is every smartie being located at the same point on the house, not least because it could collapse – construction is not my forte! I am thinking of doing one of these houses as a centrepiece for an upcoming party and in that case I would do it myself without the kids and then let them do their one, but its a risk as I may end up eating it all!!