Monday, December 21, 2009

Twelve Recipes of Christmas: Pffeferneusse and Peffernodder

Christmas just wouldn't be "Christmas" without these cookies at our house. Being Danish, we had a table laden with cookies for the holidays, but these two are our stand alone favorites. Each year, my brother and sister and I exchange emails and phone calls, comparing how they turned out, what variations on the ingredients we used, and bemoaning the occasional burnt tray that puts a damper on our holiday baking. These should also be made a few weeks early and stored so the flavor develops to its fullest, so keep a few for New Years and compare the taste! These are traditional and authentic Danish cookies that will knock your socks prepared to add them to your "must have" list. Peffernodder (I think the translation is "Peppernuts") 1 cup sour cream 1 cup shortening or butter 1 cup sugar 1 cup light corn syrup (Karo) 6 1/2 cups flour 3/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/8 tsp baking powder 2 tbs anise seed *Mix first four ingredients thoroughly in mixer. *Add half of the flour and the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time. Dough should be stiff but thoroughly mixed. *Cover dough and refrigerate overnight. *Roll about 1/2 cup of dough into a long snake slightly thicker than a pencil. Chop into 1/3 inch long pieces and arrange on a cookie sheet. *Bake at 350 until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container. This is HALF the original recipe and can be made in a mixer... the original 13 cups of flour recipe of my childhood had to be stirred by hand and was HUGE! I make two batches, though, because they are so popular with friends and family... Pfeffernuesse (Loose translation "Pepper cookies") 3/4 pound butter 1 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup dark molasses 1/4 cup Jack Daniels 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp anise extract 5 1/2 cups flour 1/2 tsp cloves 1/2 tsp black pepper 2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder *Cream together butter and sugar *Gradually add molasses, Jack Daniels, vanilla and anise *Add 2 cups flour and remaining dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. *Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. Dough should be the consistency of play-doh. Line an 11x9 pan with a long sheet of wax paper. Make sure the ends of the paper come out of the pan on both sides to make lifting the dough out of the pan easy. This is an important step! Push the dough into the pan, then fold the wax paper over the dough to cover. Chill overnight. Remove the dough from the pan and cut into 1 inch wide long strips. Cut each strip into 1/4 - 1/3" wide squares... the cookies will resemble scrabble squares. Transfer onto baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until brown. Dust with confectioners sugar when cool. Store in an airtight container.

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