Pepperkaker (English: pepper cakes), also
known as ginger snaps), “...are thin, very brittle cookies or biscuits that are
particularly associated with the extended Christmas period. In Norway and Sweden,
pepperkaker are also used as window decorations, the pepperkaker are then
a little thicker than usual and decorated with glaze and candy. Many families
bake pepperkaker as a tradition with their kids.
“During the 13th century, Gingerbread was brought to Sweden by German
immigrants. Early references from the Vadstena Abbey show how the Swedish
nuns were baking gingerbread to ease indigestion in 1444. It was the custom
to bake white biscuits and paint them as window decorations.
“Notes have been discovered dating back to 1444 describing how the nuns
in Vadstena, Sweden, baked and ate spiced ginger thins to help their digestion.
At that time, pepper, cardamom, aniseed, fennel, cedar oil, lemon and
pomegranate peels were also ingredients in the dough, in addition to the
traditional ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. During the Middle Ages, the dough
was sweetened with honey rather than sugar.”