Hello again! I’ve had a request for my pfeffernüsse recipe, so will give you that in a moment. First, I wanted to show you another thing I’ve been making: pomanders. I followed Tina’s tutorial here, with the following results:
They really smell divine! I found it to be quite a soothing thing to do, once I got started. As I didn’t have a skewer handy, I used an old knitting needle. (Its point is now devoid of finish, due to the acid in the orange’s juice.)
So – Pfeffernüsse, also known as Peppernuts.
These are best made a least a week before you intend to eat them, as the spices need time to “ripen”. If you’re making them now, they will be delicious at New Year’s. I don’t know where I got the recipe from, but here it is. (one cup = 8 fluid ozs or just use an average mug)
In a large bowl, cream 100 grams of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar.
Add a large egg and 3/4 cup golden syrup.
In another bowl, sift together: 3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons crushed aniseed or star anise, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/8 teaspoon finely ground white or black pepper.
Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring well. This can get quite hard on the wrists towards the end, so either get a helper or take a break! Form a ball with the dough, wrap in greaseproof paper and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 350F / Gas Mark 4 / 180C. Take off any rings on your hands for the next step. Once the dough is chilled, slice off a piece 1/2″ thick. Slice into strips about 1/2″ wide. Roll the dough between the palms of your hands into balls about 3/4″ in diameter. It doesn’t actually matter how big they are, as long as they are all about the same size so they will bake evenly. Place them on an ungreased baking tin, and bake for about 10 minutes, until they are golden.
While they are baking, prepare a wide bowl with about 3/4 cup of icing sugar on the bottom. Also prepare an airtight tin where you’ll let them ripen for at least a week. When the pfeffernüsse are a golden brown (they will flatten out a bit), roll them while hot in the icing sugar before placing them in the tin. I usually put about five in the bowl of icing sugar at a time, leaving the rest on the baking tray, on a cooling rack.
When finished, wash your sticky hands well and don’t forget to put your rings back on. Keep the tin away from any impatient marauders for at least a week.
I find that the most difficult thing about making pfeffernüsse is grinding the star anise. We generally use a clean coffee grinder, and just a lot of perseverance. The smell is divine, however. It might be possible to purchase ground star anise at an Oriental or Asian grocery store, but I haven’t come across it yet. Spices are generally much less expensive at such places, though.
Have fun if you decide to make them!