Make your own Latvian gingerbread for Xmas

Take note – story published 1 year and 5 months ago

Nothing says Christmas in Latvia like the smell of freshly-baked gingerbread ('piparkūkas'), so with that in mind, here are some recipes you might like to try at home. Sometimes, dough recipes are passed down from generation to generation and every family will have its own variations. Here, we offer a few different gingerbread recipes.

Gingerbread brittle


For the dough:

  • 100 g sugar,
  • 150 g dark sugar syrup,
  • 150 g butter,
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 egg for coating,
  • 400 g wheat flour,
  • 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice mix.


Melt butter in a saucepan, add dark sugar syrup, add sugar. Into the warm butter and sugar mixture, put the egg yolk (save the white for the glaze), gingerbread spices and mix in the flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and shiny.

Instead of dark sugar syrup, you can take sugar and brown it in a pan, then mix it with butter.

Cool the dough for at least half an hour in the refrigerator, then roll it out thin and press out the gingerbread cookies with cutters, or cut by hand.

Put the gingerbreads on a greased tray, brush them with a mixture of beaten egg and water (a couple of tablespoons).

Bake at 180 degrees for about 10 minutes.

For the glaze:

  • 1 egg white,
  • 250 g of powdered sugar,
  • half a teaspoon of lemon juice.


Beat the egg whites into a stiff foam. Gradually add powdered sugar and then add lemon juice. The glaze should be whipped into a very stiff foam.

Place the finished glaze in a pastry bag and decorate the gingerbread. If you don't have a special pastry bag, you can use a robust plastic bag, one corner of which is slightly cut off. You can put a pastry tip on the bag or try it freehand.

Put the decorated gingerbreads on a tray and let them dry at room temperature.


Fluffy gingerbread

These are unusual gingerbread cookies - very fluffy and soft.


  • 250g flour,
  • 200 g sugar,
  • 200 g sour cream,
  • 2 eggs,
  • tablespoon gingerbread spice mix,
  • 0.5 teaspoons soda,
  • powdered sugar.


Put the sugar in a pan and heat until it caramelizes. Add a couple of tablespoons of hot water to the sugar to help melt it.

Eggs are beaten, cream is added, mixed, soda and melted sugar caramel are added, then flour and spices are added.

Pour the dough into a baking dish about three centimeters thick, bake at 190 degrees for half an hour. Cut the finished product into pieces and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Variant: Store-bought sugar syrup can be used instead of caremelized sugar.


Grandma Kete's gingerbread


The Stanislavskis family shared this recipe on the Latvian Radio program "Family Studio".


  • 200 g butter,
  • 200 g pork fat,
  • 4 eggs,
  • 400 g sugar,
  • 400 g malt extract,
  • 200 g honey,
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder,
  • 1-1.2 kg flour,
  • gingerbread spice mix or your own mixture of: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, dried orange peel, ginger, allspice in equal amounts. All these spices should be finely ground.

For the sugar glaze: 

  • 1 egg white,
  • 200 g of powdered sugar,
  • a little lemon juice.


Dough: Put butter and lard in a pot and melt on low heat. Add sugar, honey and malt extract. Stir slowly with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Do not boil!

Add ¾ of the flour, baking powder, spices and eggs to the warm mass. Mix the mass thoroughly (if you have a mixer, you should mix at low speed using a fork attachment for mixing the dough). The dough is cooled until it is pleasantly warm and can be kneaded by hand.

The remaining flour is spread out on the table, the cooled dough is laid out and kneaded until the dough no longer sticks to the hands. At first, the mass is very sticky, but when it is thoroughly kneaded, the dough becomes smooth and flexible. More flour can be added if needed. Transfer the dough to a saucepan or bowl, sprinkle a little flour, cover and store at room temperature for at least three days.

Baking gingerbread: Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1-1.5 mm and press out shapes with molds or cutters. Place the baking paper on the tray, line up the gingerbreads for baking and brush them with a beaten egg for a glossy finish. If desired, gingerbread can be decorated with poppy seeds, nuts, almonds or colored sugar decorations.

Bake at 160ºC for about 10-12 minutes, until the gingerbreads turn a nice light brown.

The finishing glaze: Beat the egg white until it is a white foam, gradually adding powdered sugar and lemon juice. The glaze is ready when it becomes snow-white and easy to mold.

Decorate the already baked and cooled gingerbread. Leave for a couple of hours until the glaze hardens.


Honey gingerbread

Junior chefs Ralfs and Martins make gingerbread and invite others to try this child-friendly honey gingerbread recipe.


  • 100 g of butter.
  • 60 ml of molasses (or dark sugar syrup).
  • 135 g of honey (can also be replaced with sugar or put half and half).
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon.
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground ginger.
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves.
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom.
  • 75 ml of sweet cream.
  • 300 g of wheat flour.
  • 1 ½ tsp. sodas.
  • 1 pinch of salt.

For the glaze:

  • 1 egg.
  • 300 g of powdered sugar.



  1. Put butter, honey and molasses (or dark sugar syrup) in a saucepan and melt while stirring over low heat.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Remove the pot from the stove and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Then add 75 ml (a third of a glass) of sweet cream.
  5. Then add the liquid mass to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.
  6. Place in the refrigerator and let it sit for 24-48 hours.
  7. The next day or the day after, roll out the dough, press the molds and bake the gingerbread as usual - at 180 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
  8. For the glaze, beat the white of one egg with 200-300 g of powdered sugar.

When the gingerbreads have cooled down, they are decorate them as in the examples above.


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