I started my Christmas baking yesterday and made things that need to sit for a time to allow their flavors to develop. Pfeffernusse are an old German favorite. You might have eaten these store bought before but homemade is definitely better when it comes to these cookies.
- 1/4 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 6 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon whole milk, cold from the refrigerator
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg, cold from the refrigerator
- 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
2 Make the cookie dough: Warm the molasses, honey, and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove the pan from heat and stir in the spices and salt. Let cool until just warm to the touch.
Stir in the milk, baking soda, and egg. Add the flour and stir until most of the flour is absorbed. Using your hands, knead the dough until the remaining flour is incorporated.
3 Shape the cookies: Pinch off about a teaspoon of dough and roll a 1-inch ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls of dough 1-inch apart from each other.
4 Bake in the oven for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies are just starting to brown.
5 Stir together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water to make the glaze.
6 Glaze the cookies: Once the cookies are done baking, pull the pan out of the oven and brush the hot cookies with the glaze, making sure to cover as much of the tops and sides as possible. Don’t worry if some of the glaze drips onto the baking sheet.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet until the glaze is dry to the touch, then move to a cooling rack. The cookies improve (the spices mellow and the texture softens) after a day or two in a sealed airtight container.
Since I won't be having any big parties or much of a normal Christmas, I am going to take my time and try to make the best cookie trays I've ever made. I think people can use some special Christmas cheer this year.