Happy Sunday, everyone. It’s Day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas, and also time to get to some cookies.
I’ll be the first to admit, that like my general taste in desserts, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to my Christmas cookies. I like things how I like them and if they’re not that certain way, I’m not happy. To that end, I’m very picky about the types of cookies I choose to feature every year for the holidays
Having said that, when I think about my ideal Christmas cookie, this one really does tick all the boxes for me. It’s got everything; spices, texture, and a glaze. It’s called a Pfeffernüsse.
Pfeffernüsse is a German word that basically translates into “pepper nut”. The pepper nut is a small, traditional holiday spice cookie that gets its name from one of the main spices in the dough: white pepper, which gives it a bit of subtle heat.
This is not the first time I’ve made a pepper nut. There is a Danish counterpart called the Pebbernodder that I tried out for the 12 Days of Christmas back in 2016. I liked them very much, but I was also curious to see how the Germans would stand up against the Danish, especially considering this recipe is a bit different.
I’ll be honest you guys, I think Germany takes this round.
To put it plainly, these exceeded my expectations. They are not only really really delicious, they’re a cinch to put together. Seriously, the dough comes together in one saucepan, you shape them into balls, throw them in the fridge overnight, then bake off in the morning. The real only ‘messy’ part comes in once it comes time to glaze them, and in my opinion, some temporary sticky fingers is a tiny price to pay for what you get at the end. In addition, the cookie’s flavor only improves the longer they sit.
I’ve gotten rave reviews about these from people I’ve shared them with, and with good reason. If there is one cookie from this year’s series (Hell, from this blog at all) that I recommend you make for the holidays, it’s this one. They are really that good.
If you haven’t see the first two recipes in the 12 Days of Christmas 2022, check out the links below–and stay tuned for more recipes to come in the series 😉
Day 3: Pfeffernüsse Spice Cookies
Pfeffernusse Spice Cookies
- 1/4 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 6 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons whole milk, cold from the refrigerator
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg, cold from the refrigerator
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (115g) powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
In a medium sized saucepan, combine the molasses, honey and sugar over low-medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove pan from the heat, then add the spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, white pepper, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and salt). Allow to cool until only warm to the touch (think baby-bottle warm)
Stir in the milk, baking soda, and egg. Add the flour and stir until most of the flour is absorbed. Using your hands, knead the dough until the remaining flour is incorporated.
Pinch off about a heaping teaspoon of dough and roll a 1-inch ball. Place rolled cookie into a plastic tupperware container you’ve lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for cookies. Line a second sheet pan with aluminum foil , then place a wire rack on top of that.
Make the glaze: In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water to make the glaze.
Place rolled cookies on the baking sheet with the parchment paper, spacing the balls of dough 1 inch apart from each other.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are just starting to brown.
Wait for 40-60 seconds, then pick up cookie. Brush the glaze over the bottom of the cookie first, then place it right side up on the sheet pan lined with a wire rack. Brush/drizzle the glaze over the top of the cookie, making sure it is evenly coated and allowing the excess to drip off on the foil. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet until the glaze is dry to the touch. Then, move them to a rack to cool completely.
Note: no one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)
Sharing at Fiesta Friday #461.