Swedish Advent coffee gatherings and the must-have baked good of the season.
The season of Advent is upon us. In Sweden, Advent is holy, not just because it represents a religious tradition, but more practically it celebrates and honors light. Every Sunday through Christmas a new candle is lit, until the four long candles in the Advent candlestick are burning in unison. Throughout the month of December, windows blaze with the traditional triangle shaped candelabra, bringing a hue of gold to the otherwise dark and long winter nights.
Just as candles are an integral part of celebrating Advent, so are pepparkakor. Gingerbread cookies are the staple of Swedish Advent coffee gatherings and celebrations and the must-have baked good of the season.
I grew up, every December, carefully rolling out gingerbread dough. In the early years, it was an awkward dance of pushing and pulling a rolling pin about half my size. Flour tended to go everywhere, and I would end up grinning with dough pieces stuck all over me. Yet my mother simply left me to it, and if I rolled too hard and the dough got stuck to the countertop, I was forced to find a solution myself.
Dust with flour, roll, pull up dough, flip over and repeat until just the right thickness to slice into with a Swedish cookie cutter.
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