I've posted this recipe several times because it's one of my favorite cookies ever. (That's saying a lot, since I don't have much of a sweet tooth!)
I admit I don't make them often; first, because I'm just NOT a baker, and second, because my Mom continues my Grandma's tradition of making these for us each Christmas.
Just so you know, these will be different and SO MUCH better than the hard, brittle, little, store-bought fake-powdered-sugar-covered buttons you may have experienced; these are larger, soft and chewy with a more pronounced spice flavor. ABSOLUTELY perfect with a cup of coffee.
Each time I make these, I think I tweak the recipe just a bit, but these are still the basic measurements I start with; it's open to interpretation if you choose.
4 c. flour
1/2 c. Earth Balance or shortening (Crisco is vegan if you want to use that, it does work wel here)
1/2 tsp. instant coffee powder or crystals
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 and it's still available from some pharmacies, of all places!)
1/4 tsp. finely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. molasses
"egg" replacer = 2 Tbsp. Ener-G egg replacer and 2 Tbsp ground flax, dissolved in 4 Tbsp. soy milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix shortening and flour together. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix well. Blend flax "egg" mixture and molasses and add to dry ingredients - the batter will be very thick. Mix well.
Roll into small balls, about an inch in diameter. (If dough is too dry to do this, add water a few drops at a time, mixing well, until playdough consistency.)
Put on a lightly greased tray; they don't expand much so you can fit a lot on there.
Cover lightly with saran wrap or parchment and let stand overnight in the refrigerator, or an icy cold garage cupboard, without disturbing.
The next morning, bake for 10-12 minutes until firm but springy and slightly brown on bottom.
While still hot (as hot as you can handle), roll the pfeffernüsse in powdered sugar, then allow to cool on a rack. Once cooled, roll them again.
Pfeffernusse keep in an airtight container for a month, and are at their yummiest after about a week.