9 December, 2020
Pfeffernüsse Cookies (Chewy German Spice Cookies)
Christmas cookies are a huge part of this time of year for me. I’ve always been a big baker around the holidays thanks to the influence of my Nana and my mom, but now that I’m on my own, I’ve found more freedom to experiment with different recipes. We always had our staples of anisettes and wine cakes along with some other treats, and I still make those, but with a new family and friends to provide holiday confections for, I’m finding more and more opportunities to create new flavors and new memories. Both my orange and cranberry shortbreads and my cranberry orange and white chocolate cookies are perfect examples of that.
This year, pfeffernüse are my new addition. They’re like a slightly more anisey gingerbread, which I absolutely adore. They’re soft, chewy, and just sweet enough. Something I do recommend is that, if you’re not hugely fond of black licorice flavor, only use a single teaspoon of anise extract. Hubby doesn’t like black licorice, but he still enjoys these cookies — one is enough for him. Me, I could eat them all day!
1/2 cup Molasses
1/4 cup Honey
1/2 cup Butter
4 cups Flour
3/4 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp Cardamom
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Ground clove
1 tsp Ground ginger
2 tsp Anise extract (if you aren’t a big fan of licorice flavor, use 1 tsp)
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
2/3 cup Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat and add honey and molasses. Stir to incorporate and let them cool to room temperature before adding the eggs.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugars, spices, and baking soda. Add the room-temperature wet mixture and work the dough until everything sticks together. There will be just enough moisture to bring it together, and it will be crumbly, but you should be able to turn it out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a ball. Wrap the dough and chill for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet.
Roll the dough into scant 1-inch balls and place them an inch apart on your baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes (they bake quickly). Cool on a wire rack, and dust with powdered sugar once they reach room temperature.