Pfeffernüsse are little marble shaped Christmas treats that originated in Germany. They also resemble nuts, thus the name. Diameter of the little balls range from 1/2 inch (1.25cm) to 3/4 inch (2cm) in size. They are great for dunking in a mug of hot coffee.
Pfeffernüsse (pepper nuts)
• 2 cups sifted flour
• ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ¾ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
• ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
• teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon finely ground white pepper
• 1 cup honey
• 3 Tablespoons shortening
• 1 egg
• confectioner's sugar
• Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
• Heat honey, but do not boil.
• Add shortening, then cool.
• Beat in egg, then stir in dry ingredients until just blended.
• Let dough rest for about 10 minutes to allow it to stiffen.
• Shape dough into marble size balls … about ½ inch (1.5cm) to ¾ inch (2cm) diameter.
• Bake 12 - 13 minutes.
• Bake 12 - 13 minutes.
• Cool well when done.
• Place cookies in airtight bowl, cover tightly, and allow to ripen (cure) for about 2 weeks.
• Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.
An alternative to dusting with powdered sugar it to use a glazed coating. The glaze is made with 1 beaten egg white with 1 tablespoon of honey. Gradually add 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar and mix until smooth. Put glaze in medium bowl and add small amounts of cookies. Stir until coated, then lift out with fork onto a wire rack to dry.
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There is a back story to this recipe source. A wonderful lady, with whom I worked in the Boeing office, treated us to homemade pfeffernüsse. She was of German ancestry and hailed from some place like Wisconsin or Minnesota. She graciously gave me a copy of her recipe.
Once upon a time I worked at the Boeing division located in NASA's MAF. In far, far away land is this huge complex that houses more than one contractor. Reality is that the location is New Orleans East. Orleanians refer to it simply as Michoud (pronounced me-shoe).
Boeing was contracted to build an important component that would eventually send Saturn V to the moon. It may interest you to know that JFK was assassinated in Dallas during this time.
On can easily imagine just how noisy a factory the size of MAF could be. When the announcement of the assassination was heard over the factory-wide PS system, the entire place lapsed into dead silence. Such an eerie feeling that was. Never to be forgotten.