The year we got married I was 22 and I made Pfeffernusse for the first time. I’d always loved them so I borrowed a recipe from our land lord and still use that recipe 46 years later.
The recipe does not have anything extra like gum drop pieces, which I have always felt ruined them. I don’t like anything added or changed from the old time recipe. They should just be allspice, nutmeg, cloves and anise flavored…..period.
SANDY‘S PEPERNUTS RECIPE
1 cup butter or oleo,
1 1/2 cup molasses
4 tsp. anise
6 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. b. powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cloves
MIX WELL: Chill, roll into rope about finger size, slice 1/4 inch thick.
Spread out on cookie sheet.
BAKE: 10 minutes at 385 degrees. Let cool on the sheet.
Store in baggies or tins.
The first time was a real learning experience. I followed her recipe to the T and found out what a long process it could be. (No wonder everyone thought I was crazy to make them early in the marriage while working full time.) I mixed them up, chilled them for a little while and rolled them out on the dining room table and then proceeded to cut the little squares.
Then I had to pick up each of the little squares and arrange them on the cookie sheets. Once that was done it wasn’t so bad. When they came out of the oven and cooled a little bit I dumped them back on the table to continue cooling.
Then repeated the process again and again: rolling, cutting, and moving them to the cookie sheets. While working with the second batch, cutting and putting them on the cookie sheets I kept thinking that there had to be an easier way to do this.
So for the third batch I decided to try my idea to make it easier. I took a small amount of the dough and laid it on the cookie sheet and started to roll it into a long rope about the length of the cookie sheet.
So far so good; this just might work. After pushing the rope to one side of the cookie sheet it was easy to cut it into the right thickness all the way down the rope. After rolling another rope and putting it in the middle of the cookie sheet the process was repeated.
Not knowing if there was enough to fill the cookie sheet with little squares it was time to spread them out into rows. Wow! That worked like a charm and 3/4 of the sheet was covered with the little squares of pepper nuts. Only one more rope to cut and the cookie sheet was full of pepper nuts and ready to go into the oven to bake. What had been taking 20 minutes to cut and pick up and move was accomplished in about 5 minutes.
I have never rolled the dough flat again. The hardest part of making peppernuts had been made easy. Good thing because I made them almost every year when my mom and dad were alive because they both loved them.
There was another family member in their home that loved the peppernuts. His name was Freckles. He looked like a wiener dog but was colored like a Dalmatian. We made the mistake of giving him one the first time I took some to my folks. Not sure if he loved the crunch or the taste but he would really beg for them.
I usually took a large tin to mom right after Thanksgiving. She would hide the tin in the kitchen and dole them out. Try as she may she could not get the tin down and get it open without him knowing she had it.
Mom had to watch her step when she turned around from the counter, after getting a handful of pepper nuts from the tin, because he would be sitting up behind her begging. I finally began taking him a little tin of peppernuts too so he had his own. He knew which tin was his and he was not quite as bad about begging for the pepper nuts from the large tin that was mom and dads.
Our Cocker (Lady) loved pepper nuts too and would give me a forlorn look until I gave her one. If I didn’t respond fast enough to suit her, she would bark once to remind me. Still not sure if it was the taste or the crunch of the Pfeffernusse that the dogs love; but they love them as much as people do. To contact Sandy: [email protected]