When Christmas is so close I start to feel the pressure. Pressure that everything has to be perfect. When I say perfect I don’t mean “pretty”, “colorful”, “ideal”. Anything like that. For me it means it has to be as if we never left home and this “perfect” starts with food. You know, the 12 dishes on Christmas Eve dinner? And this count doesn’t include desserts.
Gingerbread cookies are a part of Christmas tradition in Poland, and we are all fans of tradition, aren’t we? Especially if it is delicious and comes with an obvious excuse that you can eat as much/as many as you want. We call them Pierniki and Toruńskie Pierniki (meaning – pierniki from Toruń) are probably the most famous ones. Toruń is a city in northern Poland well known for production of an excellent gingerbread and as a birthplace of Mikołaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus). There is even a Museum of Gingerbread there!
Although at Christmas time pierniki are baked from scratch at home, usually with participation of kids 🙂 , we enjoy them throughout the year. The company that makes them, from Toruń of course, was founded in 1763. Isn’t that amazing? That’s a lot of time to perfect the product, right? 🙂
There are many varieties of pierniki – plain ones, filled with fruit preserves, covered with chocolate or glazed. All of them are superb and I am never able to have just one. Stopped trying long time ago. If I had to choose I think that pierniki filled with plum preserve and covered with bittersweet chocolate would be my favorite kind, although I need to practice chocolate tempering for homemade ones. Second place or maybe 1st place ex aequo would be Katarzynki, that are bit more chewy and harder.
Do you remember the Cookie Swap that I posted about almost two months ago? Well, I baked and sent three dozens of pierniki to three lovely ladies: Erin from Delightful E Made, Beth from bethcakes and Laura from More Savory Less Sweet and today is the day to reveal the recipe. So here you go, scroll down to see what’s in it!
But before you go let me just thank the three bloggers that took time and effort to bake something delicious for me. I got Mexican Hot Chocolate Sugar Cookies from Starr (chicagofoodiegirl), Corn Cornflake-Marshmallow cookies from Gina (Obedient Ingredient) and delightful Lace Cookies from Alexa (Simple Eats). Thank you!
The recipe I am sharing today was adapted from Moje Wypieki.
- 2.2 lbs all-purpose flour (~6.5 cups)
- 8 egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 cup sour cream (8 0z)
- 2 sticks + 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 lb honey
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- favorite fruit preserve if planning to make filled gingerbread cookies
- The dough should be prepared 24 hours in advance.
- Pour honey into a medium pot, add spices (cinnamon, cloves, pepper) and bring to boil making sure the spices are mixed in. Remove from heat, add butter (just drop it into the pot) and set aside.
- Add baking soda to sour cream, mix well. Set aside.
- In a big bowl mix flour with cocoa. Set aside.
- Place egg whites in a mixer bowl and start whipping on low until frothy, then increase the speed to medium high and continue whipping to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, while still whipping on medium. Add egg yolks and mix until combined.
- Add flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix on low, with paddle attachment, until combined.
- Add honey mixture. Mix until combined.
- Add sour cream/baking soda and mix until combined.
- Cover bowl with plastic or clean kitchen cloth and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 360°F.
- Prepare the pastry board (or any rolling surface) by sprinkling some flour over it. Have more flour on a side, you’ll need to dust the surface as you roll the dough*.
- Take pieces of dough and roll it out until it is 1/8 – 2/8 inches thick. —> If you’re planning to fill them with preserve roll the dough thinner.
- Cut desired shapes**. Line them up on a baking sheet.
- Bake 7-12 minutes.
*The dough is easy to work with while it is fairly firm. The softer it gets the more flour you’ll need to dust the surface. Depending on temperature in your kitchen and how quick you work it may be convenient to return the portion of the dough you’re not working with to the fridge.
**Please see the drawing below for sample filling instructions.
Yield: ~156 cookies (~2 inches diameter)
Nutrition Info (per cookie, plain): Cal 58, Prot 1g, Carb 9g, Fat 2g, Fiber 0g