Piparkakut (Finnish Gingerbread) Cookies

I’m excited to once again be participating in the Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! This month, the challenge ingredients are hearts and flours. So far, I’ve shared:

This month, I’m sharing a gingerbread cookie recipe I got from my friend Kas (with slight modifications).

  • The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon ground cardamom in addition to the other spices. However, I left this out because I didn’t have the ingredient readily available in my pantry (and it was Family Day, so I couldn’t go to the store to buy some).
  • I used fancy molasses instead of unsulphured molasses.
  • I baked the cookies for 8 1/2 minutes (which made for crunchy cookies, but I would have preferred they turned out soft like Kas’s cookies).
  • I used lactose-free milk instead of regular milk.
  • I used cane sugar instead of white sugar.
  • I used sea salt instead of table salt.

Kas’s Piparkakut cookies are amazing. She tends to make them around Christmas and, if you’re lucky, you get a pack of cookies as a gift. this year, I had the privileged of making a double-batch of cookies with her during a visit. I’m not great at baking, so it was nice to go through the process with a pro (it is her family’s recipe after all!). The ones we made over the holiday were decorated with sprinkles and divided between the two of us. I gave a few away, but Bryan and I kept most of that batch for ourselves.

So, after getting the stand mixer a few weeks back, I decided it was about time that I try making these cookies at home. So on Family Day (this past Monday), I enlisted Bryan’s help with some cookie making. One thing I must point out is that the cookie dough is just as delicious as the cookies themselves. As we were rolling out the cookies, Bryan and I enjoyed many tastes of the dough before it even made it into the oven! We just got our first set of cookie cutters and made several shapes: hearts (as per the Improv Challenge), stars, multi-pointed stars and a shape we cannot agree on (I think it’s candy — Bryan thinks it’s a bone). At the end of the night, we’d sampled so much dough that we were too full to sample the finished cookies! I may have had cookies for breakfast on Tuesday morning, just to make sure they tasted ok.

A single batch, we found, was wayyyyy too many cookies for the two of us. So I’ve given a few to friends as taste testers of my first batch.

Kas and her partner got half a dozen. I was upfront with her about the changes I’d made. Their verdict? Not bad for the first batch! And they didn’t miss the cardamom too much, They only complaint was that I’d left them in the oven a touch too long and they were a bit crispier than they should be. I was already aware of this.

Another half dozen went to my childhood best friend and her sister. Our visit was unplanned, but I was glad to have a few cookies to share with them. They had also tasted a few that I had made with Kas over the holiday and had a point of comparison. They too thought the cookies were pretty good!

Finally, I gave another half dozen to my friend and her four-year old son when I went to babysit last night. She, as far as I know, hasn’t tried a cookie yet, but they also seem to be kid-approved! I allowed him to have one cookie during my visit last night and he savored it over about half an hour.

Hooray for a successful batch of cookies!

Piparkakut (Finnish Gingerbread) Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter – approximate cost $2.50
  • 1 ¼ cups cane sugar – approximate cost $1.00
  • ¼ cup fancy molasses – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 large egg – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 tablespoons lactose-free milk – approximate cost $0.20
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (and a bit extra for rolling the cookies) – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon – approximate cost $0.15
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger – approximate cost $0.10
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves – approximate cost $0.05
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.03

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix together the butter, sugar, and molasses until well mixed and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and lactose-free milk and stir until well mixed.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, sea salt and pepper in a separate large mixing bowl.
  5. Slowly add the flour and spice mixture (1/2 cup at a time) into the butter and molasses mixture, mixing constantly until the two are well-combined.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface (the dough should be about 1cm thick).
  7. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies.
  8. Gently peel away the unused dough.
  9. Work the unused dough into a ball.
  10. Place cookies on a cookie sheet.
  11. Bake cookies for 7 1/2 minutes (until golden brown but still soft).
  12. Remove cookies to a wire rack.
  13. Repeat steps 6-12 until you use up all of the dough.
  14. Cool cookies completely before packaging or enjoy warm.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie-cutter shapes (approximate cost: $0.15 per cookie).



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The Dessert: Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

Pumpkin pie is one of my favourites. It rivals my grandmother’s apple pie and nana’s lemon-meringue pie. I think I generally enjoy these pies because they’re not very sweet.Because Thanksgiving is a special occasion, it requires that I prepare a dessert. This is an infrequent task on my part. I usually don’t want sweets and am reluctant to make a pastry. It never seems to turn out quite right. I’m sure I’d get better with practice, or if I followed the directions a bit more closely. Or, I can opt for a recipe, such as the one I found on Oh She Glows, which omits the pastry altogether and uses a pecan-based crust.

I liked this pie and crust recipe because it was flexible. It allowed me to substitute ingredients I had on hand instead of buying something I would use just this once (e.g. honey instead of brown rice syrup). On top of that, it’s very easy to put together because both the crust and the filling are prepared in the food processor.

B and I enjoyed the pie so much that we ended up eating it for breakfast the next day.

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

Adapted from Oh She Glows (Note: The original recipe is vegan. This recipe is not.)

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1 cup oats – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 cups raw pecans – approximate cost $4.00
  • 2 tablespoon sugar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 tablespoon ground flax – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 cup honey – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil – approximate cost $0.75

For the filling

  • 1 large can of puréed pure pumpkin – approximate cost $1.75
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup – approximate cost $0.75
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves – approximate cost $0.75

Method

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the crust.
    1. Place the oats in the food processor and process until they become a powder/flour.
    2. Add the pecans, sugar, flax, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt and process until the pecans are chopped into fine pieces.
    3. Add the honey and the coconut oil. Process until the entire mixture is sticky and begins to form a ball.
    4. Divide mixture into two and press firmly into two 10 inch pie baking pans.
    5. Bake crust for about 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the filling.
    1. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in the food processor and process until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Putting it together.
    1. Divide the filling into half and pour the mixture over the prepared crusts.
    2. Bake for 30-45 minutes (the top should start to brown slightly).

The original recipe suggests refrigerating the pie for at least 3 hours. We enjoyed the pie fresh out of the oven topped with whipped cream and it was fantastic. It was also great when served cold the next day.

Makes 2 pies, about 16 slices (approximate cost: $1.16 per slice).

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