Spiced Cookies with Candied Orange Zest

A couple of days ago I realised I haven’t baked any cookies for the upcoming weekend yet. And as I have planned travels right before Christmas, yesterday I got to work and baked some D E L I C I O U S spiced cookies.

I wasn’t completely satisfied with my dough at first: it was too buttery and not spicy enough. But then, after a bit of experimenting I came up with this recipe. Don’t let the black pepper scare you – Swedes have been baking pepper cookies ‘Pepparkakor’ for quite some time now and nothing bad happened. On the contrary, I suppose. Black pepper adds a nice punch and fragrance.

Don’t forget to bring butter to room temperature before preparing the dough. Roll the dough very thin to have crunchy cookies once baked and don’t forget to add candied orange zest – it goes so well with the recipe. If you have homemade candied orange zest – well, I have to applaud, because you are going to end up with the best version of these cookies there can be.

p.s. Yes, there is no baking powder or soda in this recipe. Forget about it.

Pleasant baking! 

You will get at least 4 European oven sized trays of cookies. 

1 cup – 250 ml   |   tsp – 5 ml teaspoon   |   tbsp – 15 ml tablespoon


  • 3 1/2 cups of plain flour (3,5 x 250 ml)
  • 200 g of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 cup of fine sugar (I used ‘Marks&Spencer’ )
  • 3 tbsp. of honey
  • 2 tbsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. of ground nutmeg
  • 5 tsp. of ground dried ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. of vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • a small pack of candied orange zest

Mix flour together with the dry spices and salt. Stir to incorporate. Beat butter with sugar, then beat in the egg, honey and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to butter mixture and using your hands work it into an even dough. Roll the dough to make a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Take the dough out of the fridge 30 mins prior to rolling it.

Preheat oven to 180°C (350F). Top+bottom, no fan. Prepare a couple of baking paper sheets, the size of your oven tray. Take a bit of dough, place it on top of a baking paper sheet and roll it into a very thin layer. If the dough is a bit sticky – sprinkle it and your rolling pin with flour.

Use a cookie cutter to press cookie shapes into your dough, then add candied orange zest bits on top of each cookie. Gently press it into the cookies. Bake for about 8 minutes or until your cookies become slightly brown. Baking times may vary depending on your oven, so keep an eye at least on the first batch to determine the exact baking time you need.

Take your baking tray out of the oven and remove cookies immediately to stop them from cooking further. Let cool. Repeat with the rest of cookie dough.