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Martha's Pfeffernuesse

MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: MarthasArchive
Recipe Category: Holiday
Recipe Preparation Level: easy
    Pepper, one of our most consistently used spices, is an essential component to so many of the dishes we cook. It was once considered so valuable that when Alaric the Visigoth sacked Rome in A.D. 408 and held the city for ransom, one of his demands was for three thousand pounds of pepper. We're all familiar with black pepper, which is the pepper we use on a daily basis, but it comes in other varieties as well, each with its own distinct flavor. Green peppercorns have a tart, almost fruity flavor; white peppercorns are milder than their black counterparts, but more aromatic. Pepper loses some of its flavor a few months after being ground, so it's best to keep it whole in a good pepper mill.

    Pfeffernuesse

    The powdered-sugar coating cuts the pepper's bite. For a subtler flavor, reduce the amount of pepper.

    2 cups confectioners' sugar
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    Pinch of ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
    1/4 cup molasses
    1 large egg
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    1. Heat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the confectioners' sugar in a brown paper bag.

    2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda.

    3. Place butter, brown sugar, and molasses in bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. On low speed, add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Pinch off 1 tablespoon dough; roll into 1 1/2-inch ball. Arrange balls 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets.

    Bake until golden and firm to the touch, 13 to 15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Transfer baking sheets to cooling rack to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. In batches, place cookies in paper bag with confectioners' sugar; shake until well coated. Cool completely on wire rack. Store in tightly sealed container.


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