The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Finnish Gingerbread Cookies

Julie J's picture
Julie J

Finnish Gingerbread Cookies

Here is my Finnish mother inlaw's recipe for Gingerbread Cookies! It is hard to duplicate them just like hers because their ingredients taste different and they have a lot of different flours and different syrup too. These are still really good with the crushed cardamom! Enjoy! Julie J

Finnish Gingerbread Cookies

1 ¼ cup sugar
1 ½ cup dark Karo syrup (not brown sugar Karo syrup)
4 tsp. crushed cardamom (not ground**)
1 large orange (grated peel only)
1 ½ tsp. cloves
3 ½ tsp. ginger
3 ½ tsp. cinnamon
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
½ cup whipping cream
8 cups flour
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda

Put the sugar and the next 6 ingredients in a pot on the stove and stir until it boils. Turn off heat and add butter and stir until melted. Cool for a while on the stove and stir in cream when it is still warm.

Add baking soda to flour and sift. Transfer contents of pot on stove to a pretty large bowl. Add flour and egg gradually with a mixer until a dough forms. Cut into 6 pieces and wrap in plastic wrap after shaping into a rectangle. Chill overnight. Roll out between 2 sheets of white parchment paper (approx. 16 inches long) that fit on a cookie sheet. Cut out gingerbread and bake at 375 degrees for about 6 or 7 minutes on the sheet you rolled them out on. Store in airtight tin can.

P.S. I put my dough in the freezer for about 2 months before Christmas for added flavor, and then I can bake one or two packs at a time, instead of trying to do the whole recipe right at Christmas!

Enjoy! These are much better rolled out really thin and baked crispy!

** I bring home crushed cardamom from Finland, and you can only buy whole pods of cardamom or ground cardamom in the U.S. You can make it with ground cardamom, but I don't think you will get the same bite of flavor with the ground that you do with the crushed cardamom. You bite into the seeds and get a nice burst of flavor with the crushed cardamom. You can order cardamom seeds online without the green pod, and crush them in a coffee grinder until they have a sand-like consistency. The crushed cardamom feels like sand. I've tried taking the green pod off the whole pod of cardamom and it was such a task, that I would order the seeds online! Enjoy!

baltochef's picture

I love gingerbread cookies!!..They are hands down my favorite cookie!!..This is a new take on gingerbread cookies for me, and I cannot wait to try out your M-I-L's recipe..I have both ground cardamom, and the whole cardamom seeds that I purchase from Penzey's Spices..You are correct in that grinding your own cardamom seeds usually provides a greater flavor profile in the finished dessert..I also have some whole cardamom pods on hand, but I usually reserve those for cooking in Asian dishes, primarily Indian foods..

Thanks for posting the recipe!!..


xaipete's picture

You can also successfully crush cardamom with a veal pounder.


ejm's picture

Mmm, they sound delicious! Have you ever made these with fresh ginger, Julie?


P.S. Had to look up "Karo" syrup. I'm not sure that I've ever seen "dark corn syrup".

baltochef's picture

Julie J

Does your M-I-L ever use crystallized ginger in her cookies??..

Below is my grandmother's recipe for Gingersnaps..The origin of this recipe is lost in the pantheon of our family's history..No one knows its origin..My grandmom passed away in late November 2008 just 1 week shy of her 105 birthday..Every time I make this recipe I think of her..It is probably similar to many other family's gingersnap recipes..I like my gingersnaps to be extra gingery in taste, with a lot of heat, so I elect to increase the amount of the spices in my grandmother's recipe (BOLD in parenthesis)..Every now and then, I like to add 8-12 oz. of the crystallized ginger mini-chips for an extra-special treat..

My Grandmother's Gingersnaps

3/4 cup butter, room temperature (70F)

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup blackstrap molasses

1 large egg, room temperature (70F)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon ginger (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon cinnamon (2 teaspoons)

1/2 teaspoon cloves (1 teaspoon)

Optional: Add 8-12 oz. of crystallized ginger mini-chips


Cream the first 4 ingredients together until light and fluffy..Sift together the remaining dry ingredients..Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed ingredients until they form a medium stiff dough..Fold in the crystallized ginger mini-chips if using them..Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the dough is stiff, and slightly hard to work with..This usually takes 2-4 hours..Remove the dough from the refrigerator..I use parchment lined 1/2 sheet pans to bake these cookies on..I use a #100 S.S. scoop to portion out the dough, which are rolled into balls between the palms of one's hands....A coffee spoon, one's fingers, any small spoon can be used to create uniform portions..The balls of dough are dropped into a reasonably-sized mixing bowl that has a decent amount of granulated sugar in it..The dough balls are rolled in the granulated sugar until evenly coated..The #100 scoop will allow the baker to bake 20 cookes at a time using a 4x5 pattern on a 1/2 sheet pan..Larger cookies will require a 3x4 pattern on a 1/2 sheet pan..If you want the cookies to have a domed appearance after baking, then just bake them as they are as balls..If you want to insure that the cookies turn out flatter, similar to commercial gingersnaps, then use a flat-bottomed glass dipped in granulated sugar to flatten the cookies NO MORE than half the depth of the rounded ball of dough..Bake the cookies at 375F for approximately 10 minutes..I feel that these cookies turn out best when made in the smaller size that the #100 scoop produces..The #100 scoop produces a cookie that bakes out approximately 1.5" in diameter; roughy 1-3 bites worth, depending upon the size of one's mouth..


Julie J's picture
Julie J

Hi Bruce & Elizabeth!!! 

I have never tried making gingerbread cookies with real ginger, and I've never seen my MIL use any crystallized ginger either!!!  The syrup she uses is a dark syrup that looks similar to Karo, but I am not really sure what it is????   She doesn't use molasses in hers, and I like that this version doesn't have the molasses...I like the taste without the molasses better!  I like our molasses cookies too, but I prefer this Finnish version better! 

My mom always made a gingersnap cookie that sounds similar to your recipe Bruce!  I like them a lot too!  I really love gingerbread ones the best too though!!!Hope you guys like them!  Thanks for posting your recipe too Bruce!  I will have to try them!

Julie J