Just like they were store bought...but better!
Every Christmas my family and I buy Pfeffernusse Cookies. This spicy German Christmas cookie is a little soft and chewy in the center, harder on the outside and covered in powdered sugar. What's not to love?! I had my doubts about tackling the Pfeffernusse but I figured I'd give it a try. It is like a glorified ginger/molasses cookie covered in sugar. Amazing.
This recipe makes a lot of cookies..which is perfect for gift giving!
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/2 unsalted butter (the recipe I used called for 1/4 cup shortening and a 1/4 cup margarine. I am trying to stay away from margarine as much as a can after reading that it isn't as good for you as people claim. I also don't usually keep shortening around so a stick of good old fashion butter seemed to be a good substitute. I'm sure German ladies used butter back in the day anyway)
Melt the molasses, honey and butter together in a saucepan.. stirring to make sure everything is well incorporated and set aside to cool off.
Add the eggs to the mixture and mix
4 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground nutmeg
(You can use a whole nut on a microplaner...which is what I usually do when a recipe calls for nutmeg but I find that when it comes to baking I need too much to spend time grating it so I use the powdered kind. )
1 tsp ground clove
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground anise seed
(the recipe calls for 2 tsp of anise extract. Instead of buying a bottle of extract I would probably never use again I just ground up anise seeds and added it like the rest of the spices. Worked just fine!)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the molasses mixture and incorporate well. This should form a nice ball of dough (mine was a little sticky). Cover it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. A chef friend of mine told me the longer the cookie dough rests in the fridge the moister the cookies will be. Good thing I had to go to work..... 5 hours later I was ready to bake the cookies!
Preheat over to 325
Use a melon baller ( I used my teaspoon measuring spoon) to scoop out small balls of the dough. Roll them around in your hands to make them nice and round and put them on your cookie sheet ( I really recommend using a silicone pad on you baking sheet. Once you go silicone you never go back!)
Space the balls about an inch appart and bake them in a 325 degree oven for 10- 15 minutes. I found 15 minutes to be perfect for my dough.
(the recipe called for 1 cup but I'm pretty sure I used way more.
Most of it ended up on my shirt or on the floor though..oops.)
When the cookies come out transfer them to a plate or cutting board and cover in them in powdered sugar. It makes a mess but the cookies taste so good!
The recipe I used and switched around a bit can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pfeffernusse-cookies/detail.aspx)