Thursday, December 23, 2021

December 23, National Pfeffernüsse Day, a Traditional Christmas Cookie (modified)

Pfeffernüsse is a fluffy cookie with ground nuts and spices, popular as a Christmas treat in Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands.

German Spice Cookies (Pfeffernüsse)
modified from Saveur

Yields: 3-1/2 dozen

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup candied lemon peel, finely chopped
1/3 cup almonds, finely ground
3/4 tsp. freshly ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (optional)
3/4 tsp. freshly ground cloves
3/4 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. light rum

1. Put honey, molasses, and butter into a small pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until hot, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Add eggs and whisk to combine.
2. Put flour, half the lemon peel, almonds, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, cardamom, and baking powder into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add honey mixture and beat with a wooden spoon until mixed. Form into a dough. Cover surface of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
5. Lightly oil your hands with some of the oil. Form dough into 42 balls, each about 3/4" wide (the dough will be very sticky, so keep your hands lightly oiled while working).
6. Divide dough balls between baking sheets, keeping them spaced 1" apart. Bake until slightly cracked on top and just firm to the touch, about 15 minutes.
7. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool slightly.
8. Meanwhile, whisk together confectioners' sugar, rum, and 5 tsp. hot water to make a smooth glaze. While cookies are still warm, use a pastry brush to coat each one with a layer of glaze.
9. Set cookies aside to let cool completely. Eat right away or store in an airtight container, layered between sheets of waxed paper, for up to one week.

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