Makes about 6 dozen
(also see Pfeffernüsse recipe)
Peppernuts, known as Pfeffernüse in Germany, are spicy sweets about the size of a hazelnut, often enlivened with pepper along with an array of other spices. Mennonite families adopted these cookies from the recipes of German, Dutch, and West Prussian bakers.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup ground raw almonds
or skinned, toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons Cognac
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or a spoon, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in the honey and egg until well mixed. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, cloves, white pepper, and nuts. Blend the flour mixture with the butter mixture. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets, or use nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheets. Roll the dough into 3/4-inch balls between your palms and place them on the baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until light brown. Transfer to racks.
As soon as the cookies are removed from the oven, make the glaze:
In a bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and Cognac, adding a few drops of water if necessary. Brush the glaze over the tops of the cookies. Let cool completely.
Store the cookies between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
The Christmas Cookie Book
By Lou Seibert Pappas
Chronicle Books, 2000
Color photographs throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created December 2001
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