Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Pfeffernüsse - Outdoor Wednesday
Over the weekend we happened upon a Christmas tree harvest at a local farm. It was fascinating to watch. I was amazed by a seeming contradiction as we watched the process. It's become highly mechanized but still remains quite labor intensive. The men, using specialized equipment, moved in teams to fell, bundle, lift and transport the trees. They completed in a day what would have taken weeks not long ago.
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...My feature of the day was to have been Transylvanian Goulash. Since there was no way to tie it to a Christmas tree harvest, I thought a holiday cookie recipe might be more appropriate. Pfeffernüsse are a favorite of mine. Today's very old and authentic recipe comes from Hannie, in whose German kitchen I learned to make them. Pfeffernüsse are spicy cookies that are part of the Christmas traditions in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. The name translates to peppernuts and it accurately describes their spicy taste as well as the fact that they contain finely chopped nuts and a small amount of black pepper. Spices vary in different versions of the recipe, as does the coating which can range from a liberal application of confectioners' sugar to a thick glaze. The cookies are very easy to make, but they need to be refrigerated in order to shape them, so plan accordingly. Here's the recipe.
Pfeffernüsse ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
2 -1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup very finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup very finely chopped candied orange peel
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup brandy
Powdered sugar for dusting
1) Mix flour, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and black pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2) In a separate bowl, beat white and brown sugars into butter. Add egg yolks and mix to combine. Add almonds, orange peel, lemon zest and mix. Stir one third of flour mixture into butter mixture. then add molasses and brandy. Mix in remainder of flour mixture. When fully blended, cover dough and refrigerate overnight.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon measure, form dough into balls and place them on prepared cookie sheets, 1-1/2 inches, apart. Bake for 14 -15 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool on cookie sheets. Roll in confectioners sugar. Store in airtight container. Yield: 42 cookies.
Here are some other interpretations of Pfeffernüsse:
A Bowl of Mush - Pfeffernüsse
Global Gourmet - Pfeffernüsse
The Barefoot Kitchen Witch - Pfeffernüsse
This is being linked to:
Outdoor Wednesday - A Southern Daydreamer