Recipe, Traditions, Local, Cuisine

Iceland’s most festive cookies

Peppered ginger snaps

These are baked in many homes in Iceland just before Christmas, normally as a family event. Probably every Icelandic person has a childhood memory related to decorating these cookies and all sorts of shapes with different coloured icing. Nowadays, these cookies are often used as substitute for biscuits in many desserts as the biscuit base, for texture or as the crumble on top.

Photo: Þorvarður Árnason

Here you may find the recipe for these festive cookies made by Halldór, the chef at Pakkhús Restaurant.


  • 250 g flour
  • 125 g sugar
  • 90 g margarine
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp natron / baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 tbsp syrup
  • 4 tbsp milk


Mix all the dry ingredients together. Place sugar and margarine in another bowl and beat together until well mixed. Now add the dry ingredients and kneed to a soft dough. It is best to do this in a stand mixer like Kitchen Aid or Kenwood. When the dough is ready, divide it in two and refrigerate for 3 hours. Heat your oven to 180°C and lightly dust the surface of your kitchen counter and roll the dough quite thinly. Use different shaped cutters to cut out the ginger snaps and place them in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes and perhaps dust them with icing sugar and enjoy them with a glass of cold milk.

Photo: Halldór Halldórsson

This blog is written from the book “Recipes from the realm of Vatnajökull.” Author: Halldór Halldórsson
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