The days before Christmas are busy indeed – allow yourself extra fuel in the form of pfeffernuesse, a petite biscuit that pack a spicy punch. Translating from German to ‘pepper nuts’, this classic cookie is a Christmas staple for our friends in Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands.
In between wrapping presents, listening to carols and decorating the tree, baking biscuits with friends and family rates as one of our favourite festive things to do. This simple recipe (adapted from Things For Boys) is big on flavour with just the right amount of sweetness. Keep them to yourself or bake as a fabulous emergency gift!
- 125 gm honey
- 50 gm brown sugar
- 25 gm butter
- 225 gm plain flour
- 50 gm ground almonds
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3 teaspoons spice mix (according to recipe)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup & 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground star anise
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 200 gm icing sugar
- ¼ cup water
PFEFFERNUESSE BISCUITS - MAKES 20-25
Preheat your oven to 190° C, and prepare the spice mix. Set the spice mix aside and begin to melt the butter with the brown sugar and honey over a low heat. Once blended, turn off the stove and leave the wet mixture to cool down.
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spoon until a smooth dough is formed. Moisten your hands slightly and create small balls using the dough. Place each one on baking tray (lined with baking paper), creating enough distance between each so that the biscuit can expand in the oven.
Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes, allowing each one to rise and brown before removing the tray from the oven. Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking tray for around 7-8 minutes before placing each on a cooling tray.
As the biscuits cool, begin to prepare the icing. Sift the icing sugar in a bowl and miss it with a water to form a creamy consistency, free of lumps and bubbles. Dip the top of each biscuit in the bowl and return the biscuits to the cooling tray to allow the icing to set.