Saturday, November 5, 2011

Parish Alice's gingerbread

This finnish gingerbread recipe have few similar details with dutch speculaas. Use of cookie molds is unheard tradition at Finland, but if history would be different, this recipe would fit both needs, cookie mold requirements and oh so delicious gingerbread!

In finnish this gingerbread is called Lukkarin Liisan piparkakut, in english something as 'Parish Alice's Gingerbread'. I dont think it isnt most popular, because usually gingerbread is more simple. This recipe requires either shopping list or good kitchen full of ingridients. With use of local flower honey this gingerbread gets sweet taste of honey and little kick from pepper. 

Beware of Cinnamon!

There has been little headlines in our newspapers every christmas about cinnamon, and this was first time I actually took effort to look about differences between cassia and ceylon cinnamon. They are two different spices, I can tell you that. Reason why there is such fuzz about cinnamon is chemical compoud in cassia cinnamon. It is harmful for health in large dozes, since it contains livertoxins. For baker few things will be different when trying ceylon cinnamon. First, color is much more lighter. Another thing is taste. Personally I came to conclusion, that despite little toxic fumes of other cinnamon, both have their good uses. While ceylon cinnamon works well in gingerbread, some other recipies will benefit little bitter taste of cassia cinnamon.

Finnish gingerbread

1,5 dl honey
2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon of bitter oranges peel
2 teaspoons ginger
0.5 tsp allspice
200 g butter
2 eggs
½ tsp harthshorn diluted to water or milk
1 dl almond finely crushed
about 490 g - 630 g of coarse wheat flour


Put honey, spices and sugar in pot and heat up, but don't boil it. Remove from heat and add butter. Allow to cool before adding eggs. Add eggs and mix together, then add hartshorn, lemon peels and almond flour or crushed almonds. Add flour until dough is good enough. Allow to chill well.

Dough is easy to handle while it is chilled. Butter and sugar becomes sticky after dough starts warm up, so allow it to rechill if using molds starts to get troublesome. It is usually best to work with little amount of dough at time and keep rest in fridge. 

Bake finished gingerbreads at +175 C degrees 10-20 minutes. I noticed sometimes it is better to bake cookie mold cookies in lower temperature what regular gingerbread asks (+200 C), but it might just be me and my electric oven. 

These gingerbreads will remain soft even weeks and details from molds will be breathtaking sight, after little practise of course. Compared to another finnish gingerbread recipe, this didnt have problems what soft gingerbread might have; cookie might crumble in hands while eating.