Almost two years ago to the day, Nick and I were traipsing through Stockholm for the first time ever. I had decided it would be a good idea to not book accommodation ahead of time because it wasn’t peak season and I was sure we’d be able to get a room in a hostel somewhere.
It was not a good idea to not book accommodation. We were a bit like Mary and Joseph, looking for a room at the inn. Except I wasn’t pregnant and Nick isn’t religious. Also we had suitcases and there was a lot of snow and not a donkey in sight.
Eventually (after a short volley of terse words at one another and the help of one incredible cab driver) we found a hostel that could fit us in for the night. I say “fit us in” very literally. In our “room” (cupboard) the bunk beds folded down from the wall and essentially touched the other side of the “room” (cupboard) but hey, they were beds and we weren’t going to be sleeping in the snow so it all worked out ok.
That was the worst part of our trip to Sweden. Which as far as travel mishaps go, doesn’t really rate a mention. I mentioned it because of all of the places I’ve ever been in my entire life, Sweden would be the place that I would move to in a heart beat.
I wouldn’t mind the eternal nighttime during winter. There is something so romantic and magical about having fairy lights on 24-hours-a-day during Christmas. The big fluffy snowflakes that floated down from the sky while we were wandering through the city just added to the whimsy of the place. All of the people we met (aside from one cranky hotel doorman) were more helpful than they needed to be – and also more gorgeous than they needed to be, there are some seriously beautiful people in Sweden.
My favourite part though? The Christmas markets with their easy access to glogg and pepparkakor.
I stumbled across pepparkakor on a random trip to IKEA when I was in my early 20’s and pretty much didn’t ever want to eat another type of biscuit. Ever.
I mean I have. But after a fair amount of persuasion*.
These beautiful little ginger thins are crisp and oh-so-spicy. I could never have imagined being able to make them at home.
But today I did. Maybe it’s because I’m nesting but I woke up at 6:30 this morning and just really wanted to make pepparkakor. So I did.
I searched high and low for a recipe that promised the world. The one I found delivered on that promise. The result: peppery, gingery, crispy cookies that took me right back to Stockholm.
If you’re a little over the Christmas gingerbread and after something with a little more kick…I dare you to give this recipe a try. Don’t even think about leaving out the cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper is what gives this crunchy little cookie a little lingering spice. The kind of spice that warms you from the inside out.
Now I know it seems kind of silly to want to heat things up on this side of the world during a stinking hot summer. But make some now, I promise you, they are so much better than boring old gingerbread.
Then hold on to the recipe and whip up another batch on a cold and dreary winter’s day. They go very well with tea and a good book.
*Lies. I like most biscuits, pepparkakor are just my favourite…