Sunday, October 2, 2011

Finnish Gingerbread from Parainen

Finnish gingerbread is usually baked with syrup, sugar and little more sugar. Lack of honey in most of recipies and use of baking soda leaves little sense to use wooden cookie molds. However this recipe resulted breathtaking beatiful gingerbreads with little tricks!

Hartshorn is key for baking without honey

I have tried how baking soda behaves with cookie mold cookies, and it usually destroys details totally or partially during baking. On the other hand, cookies without leavening agent will result brick hard texture and less pleasure as culinary sense. Answer to my prayers came from history itself: old recipies often called for odd ingridient "hartshorn". With little detective work I managed to find out about how to use it, and eventually how to obtain such ingridient. I sometimes visit pharmacist for such inquiries, and get often answer like "Just replace with it some other leavening agent". 

Hartsnhorn is different from baking soda in many ways, and nobody should not treat it as lightly as other leavening agents. I usually write this along all recipies where I use hartshorn:

Dought wich contains hartshorn must be baked before eating. Eating raw dought might result stomach ache.

Other things are lack of need for acid enviroment, and difference where leavening agent is mixed: hartshhorn should be dissolved properly before baking in milk, water or baking alcohol. It wont dissolve that well, so better give it some time.

So why is hartshorn so special? In my experience difference is how gently it acts during stage when gases comes out. It is bit funny to say this, because in hartshorn case there are two gas to evaporate: ammonia and other (sorry cant remember english now :o ).
A lot of talk before I got anywhere close to recipe about finnish cookie. Sorry, got bit carried out. 

Finnish Gingerbread from Parainen

Finnish gingerbread are all almost alike with basic ingridients of butter, wheat flour, brown or white sugar, eggs, dark suryp and spices. Normally leavening agent is baking soda, wich requires acid enviroment given by suryp. Finnish gingerbread is traditionally cutted with cookie cutters, and that fact reflects on recipies too. This recipe is some way do-able with cookie molds, but not the easiest. Use of hartshorn is mandatory, otherwise cookies will be hard as brick after few days.


250 g butter
2 1 / 4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons of bitter orange peel
½ teaspoon hartshorn diluted to water
7 dl wheat flour

Heat up but dont boil syrup with spices, and remove from heat. Add butter and allow to cool before adding with eggs. This dough can be mixed in syrup pot aswell. Just make sure that you dont add too much flours, it would result hard gingerbread. This recipe will result soft gingerbread, and for this reason you should select small to average sized cookie molds. Big molds might have problems with gingerbread crumbling in hands while eating it.

Bake in +200 C degrees 10-15 minutes. Always stay near since with cookie mold gingerbreads time might change.