Recipe: Pfeffernusse German Cookies

Recipe: Pfeffernusse German Cookies


5 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
Grated rind 1 lemon
3 tablespoons black coffee
6 cups pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon mace
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/~ teaspoon crushed carda-mom
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup chopped citron
¼ teaspoon anise oil
Beat eggs until thick, add sugar a little at a time, beating thoroughly. Add lemon rind, then coffee alternately with the flour which has been sifted with the baking powder, salt and spices. Add nuts and citron. Chill 2 hours, then take pieces of dough and roll into rolls about an inch in diameter, slice off half-inch pieces and set on a buttered cookie pan. Allow to stand overnight in a cool place to dry. In the morning turn each cookie over and put a drop of apricot brandy on each moist spot. Bake in a slow oven — about 300— for 20 minutes. The brandy causes the cookies to pop and become rounded. The cookies are better for aging and should be kept in an airtight tin, being softened finally by the addition of a cut apple to the tin. They may be rolled in confectioners’ sugar which has been stored with anise or they may be frosted. If they are frosted, no apple will be needed for softening purpose.

For the frosting, mix anise-flavored confectioners’ sugar with egg white and a little water, brush the frosting over the whole cookie and allow it to dry partially. While it is still a little damp, roll the cookie again in confectioners’ sugar.

This finally is the recipe for which we searched and with which we experimented for years. Sometimes we would get the texture right, sometimes the flavor would be right. Never did we manage to get every thing right until we figured out this combination of spices. My cookie isn’t as dark as commercial Pfeffernusse and the black pepper may be too strong for your taste, but these cookies taste the way Pfeffernusse ought to taste, if that means anything to you. It does to me.

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