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December 9th, 2016

Smári Spiced Ginger Cookies (Piparkökur)

Photo credit: @allroadsleadtohealthy

Gingerbread is one of the world’s oldest holiday baking traditions. The spicy cookie can be soft or crisp, and its origins date centuries back, when hearing the words, “you’ve been chopped” had entirely different consequences for a chef than it does today. The most celebrated gingerbread comes from Nuremberg, Germany. Called Nürnberger Lebkuchen, this gingery confection even has a protected designation of origin!  In the United States gingerbread is enjoyed in as many ways as possible, and you’ll find no shortage of cakes, cookies, lattes, or gingerbread houses during the holidays.


In Iceland, gingerbread cookies are called piparkökur (pepper cookies) because most recipes call for pepper in addition to ginger and other spices. We’ve created our own version of piparkökur, made even more delicious with Smári yogurt! It’s a versatile dough that can be rolled and cut out easily, or thinly sliced and baked into snaps.


Smári Spiced Ginger Cookies (Piparkökur)

Makes about 4 dozen cookies



2 1/3 cups (340g) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup (150g) firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup (84g) blackstrap molasses

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 large egg yolk

5 oz (140g) Smári Pure (whole milk), reserving 2 tablespoons for icing


For the icing

1 1/2 cups (185g) powdered sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons Smári pure whole-milk yogurt (reserved from container)

1 tablespoon milk, plus more if needed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and spices. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, dark brown sugar, molasses, and salt on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add the egg yolk and continue to beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Turn the mixer off, add half of the flour mixture and blend on low speed. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the yogurt to make the icing, then add the remaining yogurt and blend on low speed just until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, then blend just until the mixture is well mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl again to make sure all of the ingredients are combined. Scrape the mixture onto a work surface and press into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well-chilled, about 4 hours or overnight.


When ready to bake, position 2 oven racks evenly in the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper. Remove the dough disk from the refrigerator.


On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to just more than 1/8-inch thick (approx. 3/16th inch). Using a cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can, placing them on the prepared baking sheets and spacing them slightly apart. Press together the scraps and continue to roll and cut out as many cookies as you can until the baking sheets are full. (Reserve the remaining scraps to make more cookies once you bake the first batch.) Bake until lightly golden brown on the edges, rotating the pans halfway through, about 12 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 10 minutes, then transfer them directly to the wire rack. Let cool completely.


When the cookies are cool, make the icing. In a bowl, whisk together the sifted powdered sugar, reserved 2 tablespoons yogurt, 1 tablespoon milk, and the vanilla to make a smooth, spreadable icing. (If the icing is too thick, add a little more milk; if the icing is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.) Spread the icing over the cookies into a thin, even layer. Return the cookies to the wire rack to let the icing set, about 20 minutes, before serving.


Print this recipe.



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