Here’s another cookie from our Great Statewide Cookie Exchange, submitted from the Kansas City area. Piparkukas are Latvian Gingerbread Cookies, and we like them for snacks because they’re spicy but not overly sweet.

Photo by Jessalynn Cairer

Piparkukas (Latvian Gingerbread Cookies)
Contributed by Ruta Grasis, Weatherby Lake (Platte County)

Platte County Ambassador Sally McDowell says, “Ninety-seven-year-old Ruta Grasis is originally from Latvia, a small country near the Baltic Sea. During World War II, the Soviet Union invaded her country, sent her father to Siberia where he died, and the family lost everything. Ruta, along with her mother and brother, immigrated to the United States after the war where she married a fellow Latvian, August Grasis. Ruta and her family have never forgotten their Latvian traditions. Every year at Christmastime, Ruta celebrates her heritage by baking Piparkukas (pronounced pepperkooks) from her mother’s handwritten recipe.”

½ cup sugar
1⁄3 cup butter
¼ cup honey
¼ cup pure maple syrup or molasses
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Orange zest to taste
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 egg (plus 1 additional egg for egg wash)

In a saucepan, combine sugar, butter, honey, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, and orange zest. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup flour with a wooden spoon, until smooth. Let mixture cool, about 1 hour. Stir in 1 egg, vigorously, until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining flour and combine the dough with your hands and form a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature until soft enough to roll. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Break dough into quarters. On a lightly floured surface and with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each portion to 1⁄8-inch thickness. Cut out with shaped cookie cutters.

Combine remaining pieces of dough, roll, and cut until all dough is used up. Place cookies on lined cookie sheets, brush with beaten egg wash, and bake for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove cookies to cool.

Makes 3 to 5 dozen depending on cutter size.

You can download our entire Great State Cookie Exchange Recipes booklet here.