Recipe – Latvian

Original script/version:

“Latvians make these intense gingerbread cookies called Piparkuks for Christmas.  They are very thin and are not chewy at all like regular gingerbread.

Gingerbread cookies: Piparkuks are just as common in Latvian tradition as whatever Christmas cookie you can think of for Americans.  It is an incredibly time consuming process and involves a lot of detail and patience.  The Latvian Church in Willimantic used to make them by the thousands at Christmastime(this is no exaggeration; the cookies are very small and the dough very thin so a little goes a long way).  Here’s the recipe:”

3 sticks butter

½ cup oil

1 ¼ cup molasses

¾ cup honey

1 1/3 cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

9 ½ cups flour

2 eggs

2 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

4 t. cinnamon

4 t. ginger

1 ½ t. pepper

2 t. cloves

2 t. nutmeg

3 t. cardamom

5 t. coriander

3 t. lemon peel

3 t. orange peel

Mix butter, oil and sugars.  Heat to boil, add spices and cool.  When cool add eggs one at a time.  Mix baking powder, soda, and flour.  Add to wet ingredients, mix well.  The dough can be kept for weeks in the refrigerator.  Roll very thin and cut with small cookie cutters.  If the dough gets sticky, chill again.  Brush with beaten egg yolk and decorate with bits of almonds, if desired.  Bake 350-375 degrees for 10 minutes or less.

“They are very dense and VERY spiced.  I have very vivid memories of sitting in the kitchen in the basement of the Latvian church and watching like 15 old Latvian ladies chat away in Latvian as they are rolling this dough and making these delicate cookies.  Usually they are topped with an almond sliver, but for the kids they used to add on those tiny little colored sprinkle/balls.  (You know, not the jimmies, but the tiny little dots.)” -Kate