We have a few family recipes, but none of them mean home as much as these little German Christmas cookies do. Pfeffernusse, or peppernuts, can be made in several different ways with a variety of ingredients, but they almost always contain aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and anise.

There’s a satisfying ritual to peppernuts: you make the dough a day before, and then roll it into logs to cut it into tiny cookies no bigger than the tip of your second finger. It takes patience, laughter, a lot of flour and a lot of baking sheets to get through a bowl of peppernut dough.

But when they’re done baking, what a treat! Mom always dished them off the baking sheet to cool in a tea towel, and we’d grab for them while they were still hot to stuff into our mouths. They’re good like that, but because their flavor comes from spices, they get even better with age. One July we found a tin of them in the back of a cupboard, six months old and ten times better than the day we pulled them out of the oven. Which is good, because one batch makes so many that you can’t eat all of them in one season.

They make great gifts over the holidays, not to mention that they’re the perfect companion for your afternoon cup of tea.

PEPPERNUTS

You will need:

  • 1 cup butter

  • 1 cup corn syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 5 cups flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

  • 2 1/2 tsp star anise

You can find star anise at some grocery stores, but I have always had the best luck finding it at World Market. To use star anise, place one or two stars in a ziploc bag and crush them with a mallet or the back of a frying pan. You won’t necessarily be able to get them down to dust, but the smaller the pieces are, the better.

Instructions:

  • Mix all the ingredients together. It’s helpful to soften the butter and add the flour one cup at a time, if like me you don’t own a hand or stand mixer.

  • Let the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 3 days.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  • Allow the dough to come to room temperature. Flour the surface of a large cutting board. Using a spoon, scoop a handful of dough into your palm. On the cutting board, use your fingers to roll the dough into a long log, roughly the width of your thumb. Use a sharp knife to cut the log of dough into uniform pieces no larger than the tip of your second finger. Place in rows on a cookie sheet.

  • Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350. Let them cool for a couple of minutes on the pan, then remove to a tin or tupperware.

  • Yield: a gazillion aromatic, delightfully crunchy cookies.
Peppernuts

Peppernuts (or Pepernoten) are a Danish (Dutch) Christmas cookie. I decided to make them one year for my sisters (ages 4-13) to have a little bit of fun and learn about different cultures around Christmas time while we painted little wooden shoes. Everyone in my family ended up loving them. So maybe you all will too.

Ingredients:
1/2 c butter
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 c milk
2 t honey
1/3 cup syrup
1 t anise oil
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t EACH cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, and all spice
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/4 t baking powder
4 c flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two to three baking sheets.
2. Mix together all ingredients except flour. Then mix in the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough gathers together. With floured hands, pinch off small, 1/2 teaspoon amounts of dough, roll into tiny balls, and place on prepared baking sheets.
3. Bake in preheated oven until bottom of cookies are light tan, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool 15 minutes on baking sheets. Store in an airtight container.

I actually rolled them into little tubes and refrigerated them, cut them with a floured knife, then baked them. But you can do it either way.

They should turn out rather small… but delicious.



Oh! And I rolled them in a little bit of sugar (like above ^) to make them a little sweeter for my sisters. You could even dip the tops in egg whites then dip them in sugar before you bake them.

today i

  • wanted to skip p.e. bc the teacher wasnt showing up so i got dressed in normal clothes again but then the teacher arrived but me and a friend snuck out anyway and we bought food and had a nice relaxing morning instead of p.e.
  • had music classes and as i had told you before we wanted to do heard it through the grapevine but it wasnt really working out because i only have 2 friends in music class and it didnt really sound groovy and nice with just 3 people so now we’re doing a cover of new slang by the shins and i’ve been majorly obsessing over the shins the past week so that’s nice
  • after music class i hung around school for a while bc i didnt want to go home because my parents are away and my grandma is here but she’s going away tomorrow and i’ll have the house to myself, i hope that when my parents go to france next week i’ll have the house to myself too.
  • there’s some other stuff i sort of want to post but i also sort of dont bc like this is just a dumb blog on the internet and i dont want to get too personal but then again its just a dumb blog on the internet so why not 
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