Pepperkaker (gingerbread) makes an excellent decoration for the house at Christmas time. We make lots of different types of pepperkaker – some for hanging on the Christmas tree, some for hanging in the windows, some to give away when we go carolling and others sit on the table for grazing.
One of my favourite activities at Christmas is decorating the pepperkaker. The whole family sits around the kitchen table to talk and laugh, while we get creative. We always need twice as much pepperkaker as a lot of it ends up in our tummys.
You can find a conventional pepperkaker recipe in the Norwegian Christmas pages of this website. Pepperkaker is one of the traditional Norwegian Seven Sorts cookies.
Hanging Your Pepperkaker
If you want to hang your pepperkaker on a tree or in the window make sure you create a hole in the dough before cooking – and not too close to the edge. For small Christmas tree decorations we use an empty pen cylinder. For larger decorations, a bigger hole is needed. A soda bottle cap is good to use for larger shapes (the hole will usually close over a little during cooking so it is better to make it slightly bigger, just in case).
We use curling ribbon to hang the smaller decorations but usually a thicker width material is needed for the large decorations so it doen’t cut through the pepperkaker.
Even if you don’t plan to hang your pepperkaker, a hole will enable you to tie ribbons and bows around it for decoration too.
How to Make Glaze Icing
To make the glaze icing all you need is some icing sugar, water and colouring (you can also use cocoa powder for a brown colour, if you like). In a bowl heap in a cup of icing sugar then mix in a little bit of water at a time until you have a smooth, thick, silky texture. The icing must glide off the spoon and ribbon in the bowl. Too wet and the icing won’t harden and can smudge off.
To colour the icing just add a couple of drops of liquid colouring. The colouring might thin your icing a little so add a tad more icing sugar, if needed. If you are using cocoa powder, just add enough for the colour you want. You will most likely need to add a little more water too. Some people use a little bit of milk instead of water to make a more creamy texture.
How to Decorate
Spoon the icing into the corner of a freezer bag. Snip a little off the corner of the bag to create the thickness and stream you want. The more you snip off the quicker and thicker the stream will be. For best results you want your stream as small as possible so you have more control.
Just squeeze the icing straight onto the peppercaker, making patterns, writing words “God jul” or use as a glue to stick sugar lollies on such as sprinkles, jellies, or even thin shapes of coloured marsipan. We also use smarties, silver balls and a special food paint to colour winter landscapes on the marsipan.
No need to wrap the pepperkaker in anything like plastic as it is meant to sit open in the atmosphere. Pepperkaker lasts the whole season. In fact, when we were decorating the Christmas tree today, Farmor pulled out the old pepperkaker that we made last year! We are not going to eat it though…lol.
Usually on the last day of Christmas, (13th January) when ‘God jul’ is said for the last time, the decorations are put away and the trees are burning in the fireplace, the pepperkaker is taken down for eating. If you are lucky, you might have a handful left, but I wouldn’t count on it!