Pfeffernusse (Day 2 of 12 Cookies of Christmas)

Day 2: The day that almost wasn’t.

I started out yesterday with the idea of getting a jump on my 12 Cookies of Christmas. While I had a day off, I’d bake two different cookies, freeing up some time later on to concentrate on the more involved cookies. Great idea in theory, but it seems I was riddled with a case of bad baking mojo. Both cookies I attempted were utter disappointments. Not at all what I had envisioned and they ultimately got nixed from the list, at least for now. After sulking a bit about my wasted time and ingredients, I started searching for replacements and found Pfeffernusse. Filled with warm spices and coated in snowy sugar, could there be a better holiday cookie?

With the first real snowflakes of the season swirling outside my back door, these cookies are great to snack on with a hot drink while I finally get around to putting the decorations on my tree. They’re perfect little plump two bite cookies. The best part? The dough freezes well. Make a batch to freeze, and just pull out some whenever you need them-- to feed hungry holiday guests, fill a cookie tray, or whenever the craving strikes! My only tiny complaint… next time I think I’ll add a pinch of salt to the dough. They’re good, but they just seem to be missing a tiny little something.

Wondering what went wrong with my first 2 attempts?

My Jam-Filled Cream Cheese Stars didn’t stay so filled… Out of 30 cookies, exactly 2 stayed sealed while baking and a total of 4 looked halfway decent. 

And nothing says “Happy Holidays!” like a steaming pile of dog poo… Which is exactly what these Boot Track cookies looked like. After you've stepped in it. And the taste? Not a whole lot better. (A side note: while typing Boot Track cookies.. I totally wrote Boot Track dookies. A little Freudian slip?)

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Makes about 2 ½ dozen

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ to 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicone liner.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar and molasses on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, beating to combine. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beating until just combined.
4. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, roll dough into balls, placing on prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. (Dough can be frozen at this point, covered tightly, for up to one month.)
5. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden and the tops are slightly cracked, about 15 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute before transferring to wire racks to cool slightly.
6. Place confectioners’ sugar in a large zip top bag. Working with a few cookies at a time, add cookies to bag and shake until well coated. Place on wire racks to cool completely.

Note: Next time I make these, I’ll probably add a pinch of salt to the dry ingredients to round out the flavor. They are good, but seem to be lacking just a little something.

Looking for more cookie ideas? Keep checking back for more of the 12 Cookies of Christmas!

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Catherine said...

I'm anxiously awaiting to see your cookie selection and I think i'm going to try those amazing looking chocolate cookies from day 1, even though, I already have chocolate cookies. hehhe :D

I feel your pain, I'm working on a Christmas box as well and have had some failure and many many un-answered questions!!!! :-p The worse part is the lost in ingredients hahaa! Can be disappointing, but, then I think of my family that I want to send the box up to, and I keep trying! :)

Thanks for sharing! can't wait for day 3!

Rachel @ Baked by Rachel said...

I love your desciption of the boot track cookies. It stinks you wasted time and ingredients but hey at least you gave us a good laugh over it :) And what's even better... the cookies you did make! OMG they sound like a thick cakey molasses cookie. Yum! Nice job. Can't wait to see what else you come up with.

Anonymous said...

I had the exact same problem last year with the jam filled cream cheese stars - so disappointing. They would have been terrific if only they stayed sealed!

heather said...

i just love the name of these cookies. i'll ask my husband, "would you like a pfeffernusse?", not "do you want a cookie?".

they are very tasty and disappeared quickly. i served them for a scrapbook party at my house last night, and they were a hit.

Mindy said...

I've had a similar cookie-baking year! Ugh.

My husband makes Pfeffernusse every year (he's a German professor), and I always think that they're missing "a little something" too...that is until I remember to let them sit for two or three days. They taste much better once the spices have melded. :-)

Celestial Charms said...

I wanted to make different types of cookies this Christmas, some that I have never tried before. This looked so appealing, that I couldn't resist. Just made a batch, and they came out perfect. Now these are my favorites, as they have the perfect combination of spices. I nearly had a breakdown, when I discovered I only had half of the called for molasses. So I quickly just added honey for what I was missing, and they still came out incredible, and not too sweet. Thanks so much for sharing. Now, I'm in the middle of making your Buckeye cookies, and I have my fingers crossed that I don't mess them up.
Hope you have a very Happy Holiday.

Lisa Rema said...

You are missing 3/4 tsp Ground Cardamom, And 1/2 teaspoon anise seed, as finely crushed as possible. My mom use to make these for my dad every Christmas. They are the Best! Store them in a brown bag in the cupboard.

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