For Day 2 of AP’s 12 Days of Holiday Cookies series, we decided to take a classic _ yet simple _ German pepper cookie and make it a bit more festive and a bit more peppery.
Pfeffernusse are small, firm peppery balls often served with tea or cocoa. Traditional recipes call for black pepper _ the name, after all, means “pepper nuts” _ and a host of other spices. We kept those, but added pink peppercorns, too. While pink peppercorns have only a mild flavor, they add a beautiful red fleck to the cookie.
After they cool, these cookies often are rolled in powdered sugar, giving them a snowball appearance. We skipped this, but it’s easy to do (and would make a good job for the kids).
Pfeffernusse improve with age, so make plenty at the start of the season and keep them around for gifting and snacking.
LESSON: When shaping a large amount of cookies, a cookie scoop (such as a small ice cream scoop) makes the work fast and simple work. It also ensures the cookies are all the same size.
PINK PEPPERCORN PFEFFERNUSSE
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Makes 72 cookies
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
Heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cardamom, cloves, allspice, baking soda and the pink and black pepper.
In a second medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the eggs, brown sugar and granulated sugar until thickened, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add half of the flour mixture, mixing well, then add the second half and mix again. Add the butter and honey, then mix until thoroughly combined.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch around each ball. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until firm. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition information per cookie (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 43 calories; 4 calories from fat (10 percent of total calories); 1 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 7 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 3 mg sodium.
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