Pfeffernuesse means pepper nuts. My husband and I became responsible for making these cookies for the family when we offered a batch made with fresh spices from The Spice House.
My great-grandmother's recipe originally called for 10 cents worth of cassia, cardamom, anise seed and orange peel. Family tradition equates that to 2 tablespoons.
Tradition also calls for these to be kept in a cloth sack and hidden while they age. My great uncle went looking for them one year and set the closet on fire with his candle.
- 2 pounds lard
- 2 pounds brown sugar
- 4 cups white sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons cassia buds (can be omitted and increase ground cinnamon by 1 teaspoon)
- 2 tablespoons ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons ground anise seed
- 2 tablespoons orange peel (can be omitted)
- 2 cups black walnuts
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 3 cups strong, black coffee, cold
- 1 handful salt
- 5 pounds flour
- for dusting, powdered sugar
Serves / Yields
1 Pillow Case Full
Cream lard and sugars. Mix in spices and nuts. Combine flour with salt and add, alternating with coffee and soda water.
Dough will be stiff, almost clay like. Roll into small balls the size of nuts. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar when cool. Let age.
Using half coffee and half sweet white wine really adds to the flavor.
The flavor gets better with age. Tradition has us making these the day after Thanksgiving so they are ready for Christmas. We store them in a pillow case and hide them, so they will last until the Christmas Season.