Peppernuts!

This one is by a special request from my cousin Megan Challender. She has fond memories of making peppernuts with our grandmother, and gave them as favors at her recent wedding in September. She was hoping I could find the recipe. It took me a little while but I finally found an article just about peppernuts with multiple recipes. Though traditionally a Christmas cookie they can be made and enjoyed any time of year, as long as you have the time.

December 1981

Back in the olden days when I was a young teacher, new to teaching and new to Sedgwick, I was sometimes lonely, especially on weekends. Quaint as it may seem to the younger generations at that time teachers were required to spend three weekends a month in town.

Without a car, the time could get very long so when Daisy Congdon called one dreary day in early December and asked if I wanted to come help make pfeffernus I accepted with alacrity, even though I had no idea of what a pfeffernus was.

When I got to her house I found Daisy happily involved with a huge batch of brownish- colored dough and together we companionably spent the rest of the day rolling out the dough into sheets 1/4 inch thick and cutting out tiny pfeffernuses with a thimble and baking them.

After sampling the little cookie I became a lifelong devotee of the German cookie, pfeffernus or peppernuts as they are called in English. The Christmas season hasn’t really arrived here on Emma Creek until the peppernuts are baked. But I don’t cut them out with a thimble anymore.

Peppernuts

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 cup shortening

3 eggs

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ginger

1 cup dark syrup 1 cup sour cream (not the kind used for dip)

1/2 teaspoon anise oil

Or

1 teaspoon ground star anise

1 1/2 teaspoons soda

9 to 10 cups flours

Beat eggs, sugar and shortening. Add cream and syrup.

Sift dry ingredients. Combine with first mixture. Refrigerate overnight.

Make dough into long rolls. Cut. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to over bake.

This recipe makes 1 gallon. Store in a closed container. Can be kept a year if you forget where you stored them.

Black Walnut Peppernuts

2 1/2 cups sugar

3 beaten eggs

1 tablespoon white syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter

1 cup chopped black walnuts

1 teaspoon soda

5 cups flour

Cream sugar, butter, and syrup. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients. Add to first mixture. Stir in nuts. Roll into ropes and freeze.

Cut into thin slices. Put on buttered cookie sheet and bake 350 degrees until pale brown.

Grandmother Hiebert’s Peppernuts (Halstead)

3 cups white sugar

3 cups brown sugar

1 cup walnuts, chopped fine

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup butter or lard

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon anise

1 teaspoon baking powder

9 to 10 cups flour

Combine sugars, butter, and eggs. Sift dry ingredients. Add nuts. Chill.

Make into ropes. Cut and bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees until pale tan. Cool and store.

German Peppernuts

1 1/2 cups honey

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

4 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

3/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon finely crushed anise seed

Honey Glaze

Heat honey in 4-quart pan. Stir in butter. Cool. Beat the egg into honey mixture.

Sift dry ingredients. Add anise seed. Stir into honey mixture. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Shape dough into 3/4 inch diameter balls. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. The cookies should be only faintly browned at edges. Cool.

Glaze cookies by pouring 2 tablespoons of glaze over 15 to 20 cookies in a bowl and mixing. Place on waxed paper. When cool store in covered container. These are chewy. 8 dozen.

Honey Glaze

2 eggs whites

1 tablespoon honey

2 cups powdered sugar

Combine unbeaten egg whites and honey. Add sugar and blend.

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