Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pfeffernüsse German Spice Cookies

Christmas Dinner at my parent's house was wonderful, yummy (and I won't bore you with all the dinner foods posted here because it was all recipes I've done before - and a few not-vegan items that I'd skip over anyway).

Dessert, however, was a trip down memory lane - Prune Kuchen, shipped directly to my Dad from the very-authentic German Kuchen factory in South Dakota. All six of us girls grew up eating my Grandma's kuchen (years ago) at special family get-togethers - this was a sentimental treat for all of us, especially my Dad, who grew up on it many years before we did....

Now, I'm not quite ready to try veganising a family heirloom recipe, some things are better left alone, but it did get me to thinking about another favorite of mine, the small, spicy Pfeffernüsse cookies that my Grandma also used to bake.

I have Grandma's recipe, and figured it would probably vegan-ize pretty easily, so off to the kitchen I went. It only took two batches to come up with a good variation, and the texture and taste are great!!

Pfeffernüsse (or "Pepper Nuts") are hard spicy German (or originally Dutch some food historians say?) cookies that were meant for dipping in coffee and wine (Not that my family drank coffee OR wine, we still found many opportunities to enjoy these cookies). The anise mellows and the cookies soften and the flavors blend wonderfully if you keep these a good week or so before eating them.


4 c. flour
1/2 c. Earth Balance
1/2 tsp. instant coffee powder or crystals
1 c. molasses
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. anise extract (Get a good quality extract or 5 drops anise oil if you can find it - that's what my Grandma used)
1/4 tsp. finely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. Ener-G egg replacer and 2 Tbsp ground flax, dissolved in 4 Tbsp. soy milk

powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix shortening and flour together. Add remaining ingredients and mix well, the batter will be very thick.
Roll into small balls, about an inch in diameter. Put on a lightly greased tray; they don't expand much so you can fit a lot on there.
Let stand overnight without disturbing.
The next morning, bake for 10-12 minutes.
While still hot (as hot as you can handle), roll the pfeffernüsse in powdered sugar, then allow to cool. Once cooled, roll them again.

Pfeffernusse keep in an airtight container for a month, and are at their yummiest after about a week.


Courtney said...

Thanks for posting this - definitely will be making some this week!

The Voracious Vegan said...

YUM! These look delicious!

Mihl said...

Wow, those look awesome. I love you because you wrote wrote Pfeffernüsse and not Pfeffernusse ;) It muiust be great to have all those memories and I am sure you would be able to veganize all of your family's recipes.

Dani said...

awesome! I saw some of these at trader joes and thought how awesome it would be to find a vegan version, yummy!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Oh my gosh, these look awesome! yum.