Friday, December 30, 2011


While my cousin implored me to make poppy seed cake for Christmas, I decided to make something a little more Christmasy...Pfeffernüsse, which are German, Dutch and Danish spice cookies covered with powdered sugar. Stella Dora sells a pretty convincing take on them in stores, and I've always bought them around Christmas, downing them with a glass of eggnog sprinkled with nutmeg. I found a recipe in a Christmas cookie book, which was on loan to me, and made them the eve of Christmas Eve, which if you don't believe me, is a thing. I adapted the recipe a bit since I didn't have Cardamom powder and didn't want to use almond slivers (my mom is allergic). Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to snap a photo of the beautiful plate full of powdered Pfeffernüsses, nor did I document their consumption at Christmas dinner. I only remembered to do it when there was one left at the bottom of a container filled with my aunt's chocolate biscotti.

To begin, heat the oven to 375 F, and then mix 1 cup dark brown sugar with 1/2 cup butter. Add in the 2 eggs and cream. Continue pouring in 1/2 tspn. of your favorite extracts (I stuck to Vanilla) but you can also use lemon, anise or almond. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 tspn. baking powder, 1 tspn. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tspn. salt and black pepper, 1/2 tspn. of ground cloves, allspice and nutmeg, the zest of one lemon and then 1 tspn. ground cardamom. Gradually introduce your dry ingredients to the butter and sugar and mix together. Roll into little one inch diameter balls and some say let it cool in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight (although again, no patience, I didn't do either). Bake for 10 minutes. While they are still hot, coat each cookie in confectioners' sugar.

As I mentioned before, I didn't have Cardamom powder (Fairway was selling it for $11), but I already had Cardamom pods, so I opened them yielding about four seeds each and put them into my mixture. All but one of my Pfeffernüsse tasters enjoyed the blast of flavor when they bit into a small cardamom seed, so I leave the rest up to you. They were a big hit amongst the grown ups at Christmas, while the little ones preferred rainbow cookies and cream puffs.

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