Pfeffernusse. Peppernuts. Did the Dutch know what they were doing when they created this tiny cookie that leaves such a powerful impression and incites such passionate arguments among those who love them.
With pepper or without? Anise? Cardamom? Cinnamon? Cloves? Nuts? Seems everyone has his or her own favorite recipe and is equally certain that his or her recipe is the best. But they’re all wrong. And I know this….how?
Because the Pannabecker version is the best. After all, we Pannabeckers are Dutch. We were tile bakers long ago.
Here’s the thing about pfeffernusse. They’re hard. Very hard. And while some claim that they soften over time…this is just not true. If you actually think they soften over time, then you’ve never eaten a one-year-old pfeffernusse. They’re hard….and in my family, harder means better.
For many years, my mother would try to see how long she could keep some in a jar before someone would finally filch the last few. I think they often lasted until late spring.
But at long last, I have beaten her record. Not on purpose, mind you. I just found a tiny baby food jar full of pfeffernusse made in December 2011. And they’re still excellent. And very hard.
Curious enough to try making them? Here’s my recipe…or actually, it’s my Grandma Pannabecker’s recipe. The trick to getting them very small is to roll them into pencil-like rolls and cut into tiny pieces.
3 c. sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. cloves
4 c. flour (or a little more)
Sift flour three times until very light. Sift together sifted flour, cinnamon, soda, cloves, salt. Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar. The stir in the flour mixture. Using a small amount of dough at a time, roll into long, pencil-thin coils. Cut into tiny pieces and place on greased cookie sheets. Try to separate each piece or they’ll back together into big pieces. Bake approximately 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Watch carefully! Cool and store in airtight containers.
Let me know how long yours last!