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Monday, December 12, 2011

Pfefferneuse Cookies

I don't sprechen much Deutsch so while due diligence has been done on spelling and noun morphology, please forgive the errors that certainly remain.

When I told my husband that I planned to make pfeffernuse (pronounced feffer-noose), he looked alarmed.  I think he related the name to the famous German game meat stew hasenpfeffer and thought I was proposing he eat rabbit-meat cookies.

What the two recipes have in common is pfeffer, "pepper" (not rabbit, hasen).  These are little spice cookies that do indeed include pepper along with cinnamon, cloves and candied citrus peel.  This the traditional "peppernut" flavor combination, but you can use this recipe as a jumping-off point for several flavor variations which I'll include at the end of the recipe.  I've made some of these variations before, and some are notes for things to try in the future.  The original recipe is from Reader's Digest's "A Family Christmas".

They are the perfect make-ahead holiday cookie as they must be baked 2-3 weeks before eating.  They come out of the oven hard but soften with storage.  They are ideal if you want to make holiday cookies but don't want to be baking in the thick of December.

Today's I Screw Up So You Don't Have To...when you toss the cookies with confectioners sugar at the end, don't knock excess sugar off the cookies by throwing them on the floor.  Or by letting a 3yo help you with that step. 

Makes 4-5 dozen

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup chopped candied lemon peel or candied orange peel
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until light.  Stir in almonds and candied citrus peel.  Stir in flour, baking powder and spices (do not put confectioners sugar in now).  Chill dough 1 hour.

Roll out to 1/4" thickness and cut into 1 1/2" rounds.  Bake on ungreased baking sheets 15 minutes at 350F.  Allow to cool, then toss cookies with confectioners sugar.  Put in a sealed container for 2-3 weeks to soften.

Make the recipe above but omit cinnamon, pepper, cloves and candied citrus.  Add in the following:

1/2 cup currants
2 tsp orange zest

Lime Spritz
2 tsp lime zest
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup flaked coconut, chopped finely

2 tsp aniseed
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

Cherry Almond
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries, drained well

Pumpkin Spice
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Ginger Rum Date
2 tsp rum or rum extract
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped dates

Cardamom Raisin
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup chopped raisins Pin It

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