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December 2023

December 17, 2023

Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)

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Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)
Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)
Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)

The winter holiday kitchen exudes some of the best aromas of the year. Warm spices drifting about, the smell of dough baking and butter melting, fragrant citrus fruits being peeled, and scents of chocolate, nuts, and candies being chopped and added into delightful treats. It’s a dreamy time to be in the kitchen, and even dreamier to feast on what comes out of it.

One of my favorite baked goods at this time of year has to be Norwegian pepperkaker (gingerbread) with its crispy exterior and burst of spices in every bite. We always end up making a few batches to refill the cookie tin as these tend to disappear quite quickly. From this love affair, I was inspired to make these pepperkaker buns as an homage to our beloved holiday cookie.

Taking my tried-and-true, sweet yeast-based dough recipe, I infuse it with the dark syrup and warm spices found in pepperkaker. After a good rise and a roll out, the dough is filled with the same spices along with both brown and white sugar and butter. After baking, a simple frosting is slathered on top, melting into the rich buns. And what pepperkaker buns would be complete without a sprinkling of crushed pepperkaker cookies on top to add that extra crunch and flavor.

These are guaranteed to add a bit of magic to your kitchen, and a lot of joy to those tucking into them.

Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)
Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)
Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)
Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)
Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)

Pepperkaker Buns (Gingerbread Rolls)

Makes 12 buns

For the buns:

  • 1¼ cups (300 ml) whole milk
  • 4 ¾ cups (570 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (40 g) packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (¼ ounce (7 g)) instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (80 g) dark syrup or light molasses
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) lightly salted butter, cut into small pieces

For the filling:

  • ¾ cup (175 g) lightly salted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (80 g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the frosting:

  • 7 ounces (200 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (60 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Crushed pepperkaker/gingerbread cookies, for decorating

For the buns, in a small saucepan, heat the milk over low heat until lukewarm.

In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, yeast, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper. Add the lukewarm milk, dark syrup, and egg. Knead on low for 10 minutes. Add the butter and knead on medium for about 5 minutes more, or until the dough is very elastic and somewhat moist. Transfer the dough to lightly buttered bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

For the filling, in a small bowl, combine the softened butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

Once the dough has doubled in size, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin and more flour as needed to prevent sticking, roll out the dough into a large rectangle that measures roughly 20 x 15 inches (50 x 38 cm). Spread the filling evenly across the dough all the way to the edges. Starting on one of the long sides, roll the dough around the filling to form a long, roughly 20 inch (50 cm), log. Using a sharp knife, cut the log crosswise into 12 equal size buns. Place the buns on the prepared baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm spot for 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

For the frosting, in a small bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and salt.

Bake the buns for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Spread a little frosting on each bun, while hot, to absorb into the buns. Once the buns have cooled slightly, spread the rest of the frosting (or as much as desired) on top. Sprinkle each bun with crushed pepperkaker/gingerbread cooies. Serve warm.

Nevada Berg

Nevada is a utah native and norwegian by heart. When not crafting culinary delights she enjoys her family time and tending to her animals. You most certainly can find her perusing her property for wild berries.

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