Make pfeffernuse early enough to age
"Time to bake and store the cookies called pfeffernuse,'' she says.
"Anise and other spices flavor these old-fashioned cookies Mom used to make.''
Ideally, she says, the cookies should be made way ahead of time and stored airtight for a few weeks before serving to season and flavor through.
There's obviously not a minute to lose, so let's get right on:
1 cup honey
3 tablespoons shortening
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon anise extract
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground mace
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Icing (recipe follows)
Heat honey in a saucepan until heated through, but do not allow to boil. Add the shortening and set aside to cool.
When cool, beat in the egg, then stir in the anise extract, flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, mace, allspice, cardamom and pepper. Do not overmix. Let stand 10 minutes to stiffen for easy handling.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Slightly flatten balls and arrange on a greased cookie sheet. (Cookies spread very little.) Bake at 350 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes.
Prepare icing. Put a few cookies at a time in icing bowl and stir to coat. Lift from icing and sit on a rack to drain and harden.
It's best to let cookies stand overnight. Store cookies in an airtight container for a few weeks before serving to season and flavor through. Good at Christmas.
2 egg whites
3 teaspoons anise extract
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons honey
In a mixing bowl, combine egg whites, anise extract, powdered sugar and honey; beat until smooth and thoroughly mixed.
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