Thursday, December 22, 2011

Vegan Pfeffernüsse; Merry Christmas!

These are a Christmas tradition in our house, one I grew up with and anticipated every year (and even now) practically drooling over.

My Grandma would bake and store  canisters full; My sisters and I thought we were being SO sneaky, heading casually off to the pantry when we thought she wasn't looking. I'm sure the powder-sugar trail gave us away every time. She just smiled and baked more...

I only "veganized" these a couple years ago and while I feel I got the recipe pretty spot-on, would love feedback if anyone makes them.

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 when I was growing up, we still found many opportunities to enjoy these cookies). The ones my Grandma made were soft and chewy as well, NOT the hard, crunchy little buttons you find in supermarkets now.

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.


mamavegana said...

oh, I will LOVE to try and bake them. German Pfeffernüsse are really not my thing usually, too dry and dust, - but then those are storebought ones, too lol the pepernootjes you can buy in Dutch supermarkets (I live not too far away from the border)are quite delectable on the other hands, lottle, subtly sweet buttons of spices :^))
Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if I've ever had these - I would probably prefer the softer ones like your grandma makes instead of the harder kind. But I'm German, so I guess I really should try them sometime :) Love your blog, by the way! Thanks for entering the contest, and I'll be snooping around your blog some more! :)

Eileen said...

Do you need to refrigerate the dough balls when they sit overnight?

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

YESS! Eileen, sorry, I do refrigerate the dough overnight, though honestly I remember as a child, my Grandma put the dough balls on platters, covered with foil and stored in cupboards in the garage (which was very cold).

soulquest7 said...

I don't get this anise seed thing. You can buy the seeds whole-- they look like little starfish. And am I to understand that anise seed extract is different from oil? I want a good strong anise seed flavor, so which should is use?

soulquest7 said...

Also, what kind of molasses should you use? Isn't there like blackstrap molasses and some other kind?

soulquest7 said...

Light brown sugar or dark brown sugar?