Ginger is the quintessential Christmas aroma. It is a flavor that I do not equate to anything other than the holiday season. A few minutes into baking, the smells in my kitchen immediately made me smile. The unique combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom are enough to do it, but the addition of sweet, gooey molasses puts it over the top. Tasting the medly of Christmas spices, ginger, and anise transported me to Christmas nostalgia from the first bite.
The name Pfeffernusse comes from the Danish word for peppernut, due to their size and soft but firm consistency. They are a traditional yuletide cookie in both Germany and Denmark, but somehow found their way into my American kitchen. I followed the traditional recipes that I was able to find online- utilizing honey and molasses for sweetness along with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and anise for spice. I chose the variation that is coated in powdered sugar and they make for a beautiful, especially festive treat.
Pfeffernusse, while I haven’t always known the name, have always been familiar to me. My mom loves them and the lovely ‘chai-spiced snowballs’ always seem to make an appearance in our house around the holiday season. My great-grandmother was known to have them around habitually and it’s easy to see why. They melt in your mouth like butter while powdered sugar provides a subtle sweetness with every bite. They are poppable and complement a cup of coffee or hot cocoa perfectly thanks to their slightly dry exterior. They are a perfect treat to share with your loved ones this holiday season. Bonus: they make your house smell like potpourri. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 Tbsp honey (use maple syrup if vegan)
- 1 egg, beaten (use 1 flax egg if vegan)
- 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground anise
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a baking pan with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Combine coconut oil, molasses, and honey in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Combine flour, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl and mix well.
- Add egg and then wet mixture into dry mixture and combine well. Dough will be thick.
- Form into 1 inch balls and flatten slightly, spacing evenly on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Place ¼ cup or more powdered sugar in a bowl and coat each cookie individually.
Powdered sugar mustache included.