Pfeffernusse (holiday German spice cookie)
My mom first found this recipe in a newspaper insert when we were kids. I’m pretty sure it was the spices and low-fat qualities that drew her, but after making the first batch our family was hooked! These cookies are even better if you let them age a bit, so if you want them for Christmas I would suggest making them up to a month ahead of time and storing them in an air-tight container (we used an old fruitcake tin).
Over the years as I’ve described this cookie to folks, they thought I was talking about peppernuts. I told them no, because the peppernuts I had eaten before were tiny, hard and had a little extra kick in them. According to my recent research however, these too can also be called peppernuts. Not sure why, because to me they are completely different.
I’m going to share the recipe we used so many years ago.
For the cookies you need:
1 cup sugar (I have no idea if Splenda will work as such things didn’t exist yet)< 2 tsp butter (yes, that’s teaspoons) 1 tsp water 2 cups flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp cloves ¾ cup raisins For the icing: 2 egg whites 2 tsp light corn syrup 2 cups sifted powdered sugar What you do: Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, butter and water and mix it all well. Sift in the dry ingredients. Once you have them blended, make round balls about the size of a ping pong ball and place them on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. They will be darker once they’ve baked, but still pretty light colored. While the cookies are baking, make the icing. Oh, if you don’t want the icing you can just roll the baked cookies in powdered sugar. We usually did a mix of the two options. The icing is yummy, but it’s pretty sweet. Once you have the cookies baked, let them cool enough that they can be handled. Now comes for the messy (but fun) part! Dip the cookies in the icing so they are completely covered and dig them out with your fingers or a spoon. Place the gooey cookies either on wax paper until they harden. Enjoy!
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