Norwegian Cookie Advent Calendar

Norwegian Pepperkaker Advent Calendar

Without a doubt - the yummiest Advent Calendar ever! Just the fragrance alone will fill every nook and cranny of your home with the scent of Christmas goodness.

Last year, Gill, a lovely on-line friend living in Norway shared with me a story about the cookie Advent Calendars her MIL made every year for each of her children.

Late in November, just before the Advent season began, she would bake Pepperkaker - lovely spicy ginger cookies - and hang strings of 24 each around the kitchen window. Every morning, every child in the family would cut a cookie from their own string and enjoy it with breakfast!

You know me - I immediately fell for the idea and resolved to make a string of Pepperkaker to celebrate all future Advent seasons!

Norwegian Pepperkaker Advent Calendar

Making a Pepperkakor Advent Calendar is so easy!

Simply bake your cookies (don't forget to make little holes), insert a ribbon in each cookie and hang as a garland or in clusters from a Pinhook!

If your family just is not into ginger spice cookies, you could try making your cookie calendar with sugar cookies!

Don't you love my very cool Nisse/Tomte cookie cutter ordered just for this calendar? You too can order yours right here!

Norwegian Pepperkaker Advent Calendar

Or, if you are not into baking, Ikea has stocked plenty of "Pepparkaka Figurer" in pretty stars and hearts. Each cookie already has a hole waiting for ribbon!

Norwegian Pepperkaker Advent Calendar

A close look so you can see my Pinhooks at work! Hang three or four or five cookies per hook. I like using ribbons of different lengths so I can see all my cookies! (Please no mention of my less than wonderful skill with frosting!) 

The Pepperkaker recipe I used is fabulous. It can be found in "The Great Scandinavian Baking Book". I found it published in Viking, a monthly magazine published by the Sons of Norway. Here is a link to the recipe on line!   Or you can try one of the similar recipes that ARE available on line -  links below.

If you happen to have a family recipe for Pepperkaker, I would love it if you would share a link in comments and I will add it to the list below.

The recipe I used called for grated orange peel. I don't know whether this addition would be considered traditional but the combination of citrus and spice and ginger - heaven. You can try it in any of the recipes listed.

I didn't have an orange in the house so I turned to the magic elixir from King Arthur - known as Fiori de Sicilia! It is important not to use too much - only 1/4 tsp for a cookie recipe calling for 3 to 4 cups of flour. But the fragrance of a cookie laced with Fiori de Sicilia and ginger and cinnamon and cloves is simply intoxicating. Try it sometime!!

So what do you think of Gill's Advent Cookie Calendar? Me - I LOVE it 100 times!


Just so you know!  My cookie advent calendar has been hanging now for nearly a month and I am happy to report that the Christmas Pepperkaker cookies are holding up amazingly well!  

First of all, they have not fallen.  Making the cookies fairly thick, placing the hole at least 1/2" to 5/8" from the cookie edge, and hanging with ribbon is key.

At the current moment mine are quite crisp!  But that does change with the humidity.

And the taste - still delicious!  I can't believe they have retained their flavor so well.  This may not be the case with all cookie recipes however.  Sadly the Ikea cookies tasted like sawdust within 10 days.

Consider making a cookie count down calendar to celebrate Scandinavian Christmas - December 12 (St Lucy Eve) to December 25th (Christmas Day!) Not so many cookies to bake and hang!!!


Recipes to try:

Astrid's Norwegian Pepperkaker

Annie Blabbers Gingerbread

Pepperkaker recipe from My Little Norway

And here are several recipes for Swedish Pepparkakor

Lovely calendar. I'm Swedish

Lovely calendar. I'm Swedish and I have never heard of ordinary orange peels in gingerbread, but dried bitter orange ( is traditional.

Love the advent usage. I live

Love the advent usage. I live on the west coast of Canada where it rains all winter. I make lots of gingerbread cookie ornaments and have found a way to protect them from moisture. I bake them a bit longer at lower heat to create a drier cookie, then I make a thin glaze of powdered pasteurized powdered egg white and icing sugar (royal icing), and paint them with a pastry brush. I repeat about 4-6 times, making sure they are totally dry before the next glaze, and that all surface areas were coated. It gives them a hard finish with a soft glossy look. (I've even eaten some months later, and they weren't too bad!)

BTW Pam, would love a copy of your recipe! Thanks for the great idea.

Leila!  thank you so much for

Leila!  thank you so much for taking the time in this busy season to share your thoughts and your technique for preserving cookies that will be exposed to atmospheric moisture.  You have made some very good points and I am definitely going to give your method a try.

We have had almost constant rain here in the PNW since i baked and strung my calendar. And I have spent two days making tamales which releases lots of moisture into the household atmosphere due to all the steaming and boiling etc.  My cookies have held up quite well - BUT rain or not - our overall humidity is quite low.  I  am sending you the recipe and would love hearing how it works on your side of the continent!

You will love eating the cookies in any case!!!

aaaaw this is a yummie and

aaaaw this is a yummie and cute idea of your friend.
I love it, i'm still not ready to bake but.... mayby next year.
love this story, my sis was with me working to make behind the couch before the other big sliding walls a sort of table around the central heathing.
I had ordered many months ago, i had to be polite crumpy to receive the damn packet. it wasn't like we thought.LOL
it was a stupid expensive thing, but i'm happy we had fixed it. It was all screwing things together insteade of sliding the plates together.
i think they had made their own version.LOL
My furrie friends loving it as well. they can sit on it to watch the sea birds on the roof.
it's getting colder here.
so i 'm sitting now really behind the dutch gernuims.LOL
thank you for the sharing ;-D xxxx

What a lovely story and

What a lovely story and tradition! Thank you for sharing.

Really cute! And I bet

Really cute! And I bet delicious! If the cookies going soft (or getting stale) is a problem in your climate... I wonder if putting them into little clear plastic treat bags before hanging would solve the problem. Of course they wouldn't look as cute in bags as they do on their own- but it might keep them edible the entire countdown time.

Funny you should mention

Funny you should mention this, Meg.  Was thinking the same thing and believe it or not - thought of you!  Celophane bags would probably work just great.  

Now that is my kind a way to

Now that is my kind a way to start the day... a homemade cookie with frosting on top! Yummmmmmmy! Such a great idea for an advent calendar. Thanks for all those recipe links Pam!

I love this idea but do the

I love this idea but do the cookies not go soft?

Well!  That is a very good

Well!  That is a very good question!  

Since I had to hang my calendar much earlier than most I am in a position to answer!!! I am finding that, as I expected, the cookies absorb moisture from the atmosphere and soften.

Is this going to be a problem?  I don't know yet.  So far so good.  The cookies are fairly thick and they are still on the ribbons!  So we shall see.

Different recipes and climates may deliver different results. 

This is really cute! What a

This is really cute! What a great idea! I'm going to start with the woven Danish hearts out of paper, which I STILL have not done,then I'm making that bulletin board advent calendar and some handmade ornaments, and if I have time, then I'll try gingerbread cookies again. Did I say try?


WOW! This is wonderful, Pam!

WOW! This is wonderful, Pam! And now my advent calendar dilemma is solved. It has become a tradition at our house to start our Christmas cookie baking the day after Thanksgiving (I'll pass on Black Friday, thank you), and the first dough I make is my grandmother's pepparkakor recipe. Hooray! This will be so fun. Thank you so for sharing this!

Have a great weekend!


What a yummy advent calendar!

What a yummy advent calendar! A fantastic idea and so pretty too.