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?
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.