Pebernodder (Danish Peppernut) Cookies

These are another of my favorite cookies this time of year. They’re light and crisp, a little spice and buttery; I’m told they have that umami “savory” quality. They have all of those ‘exotic’ spices that go into all sorts of baking this time of year – cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg – yum!

These are teeny-tiny rolled cookies. I have been hunting for a 1/2-teaspoon or even 1-teaspoon cookie or other scoop but no luck. So, for now it’s all hand rolling. It’s time consuming but it’s totally worth it not only for the cuteness factor – the small size is the perfect complement to this cookie’s taste.

The full batch will yield about 250 – 350 bite-sized cookies, depending how small you roll the dough. I had about 60 cookies on a sheet (14.5 x 15.5 inch baking sheet) and 5 or 6 batches at least. I lost count after all that… o.O

These cookies can be dangerous. You can easily grab handfuls and eat a couple dozen before you realize it. Whoops? Worth it.

Pebernodder

adapted slightly from All Recipes.

Makes ~ 250 – 350, depending on cookie size.

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. cardamom, ground
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ground
  • 1/4 tsp.  white pepper, ground
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 to 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix eggs in one at a time, until well combined. Add cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and white pepper until blended.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, one cup at a time, until dough comes together.

4. Pinch small, 1/2-tsp. amounts of dough and roll into tiny balls. If you have it, use a round, 1/2-tsp. measuring spoon for reference. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 1 1/2″ apart.

5. Bake in preheated oven until bottom of cookies browns slightly, about 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Remove to cooling rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.

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Pepparkakor (Swedish Gingersnaps)

No that’s not a giant cookie, it’s a mini espresso cup! The cookies are only about 2″ across. This is my second attempt at new Christmas cookie recipes for the year. I think they turned out great and I got top props from Hermit – he couldn’t stop eating them :D.

One day while I was at work – bored out of my mind – I stumbled across a Scandinavian cookie baking class. While I recognized the value of the class, I didn’t think it would be worth $75 for me to attend. Instead, I took note of some of the unfamiliar cookies and utilized Sir Google to help me out. While searching for Pepparkakor, I stumbled upon the blog Anne’s Food, a cooking/baking blog from Anne, who lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

I know you can buy these cookies at Ikea and they’re good – I’ve tried them. But I wanted to see if I could duplicate the crisp, semi-spicy, sweetness of these cookies.

The recipe I found was for “at least 10 dozen cookies” – which was way too much for my first batch. So, I broke out the kitchen scale – everything was in grams instead of cups, etc. – which is always fun to measure sugar and flour, etc.

Pepparkakor, adapted from Anne’s Food

Printable Recipe

This dough should sit in the fridge at least overnight – if not for a week or more – to age the spices in the dough. For this recipe, I let half the dough sit for 24 hours and the rest for a week, as a test.

Yield: 5 dozen cookies (halved from original recipe)

  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. baking soda
  • 11 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 125 grams white sugar (~ a little less than 2/3 cups)
  • 75 grams brown sugar (~ 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp.)
  • 1/2 small egg (~2 tbsp. mixed egg)
  • the zest of half a lemon (~ 1 1/2 tbsp.)
  • 150 ml light molasses (~5 liquid oz.)
  • 150 ml heavy cream (~5 liquid oz.)
  • 550 grams all-purpose flour (~ 4 1/3 cups, sifted + about 1 tbsp.)

Day One:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the spices, salt, and baking soda. In medium bowl, measure out flour, add spice mixture, and whisk together.

   

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and well mixed. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

   

3. Add the lemon zest, molasses, and cream to the butter mixture and beat until well combined.

4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well. The dough will be fairly sticky at this point.

   

5. Divide the dough evenly into 4 parts. Create disk shapes and wrap well in wax paper. Chill at least overnight or up to a week or two, to age the spices.

Day Two:

As with all traditional recipes for gingersnaps, you can roll out the dough (with either lots of flour or between 2 sheets of parchment or waxed paper) and use cookie cutters to create your shapes. Or, if you’re like me, and you suck at rolling cookies and feel like tearing your hair out at the thought, you can easily make circular cookies this way.

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator at a time. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease well.

2. Using a 1 tsp. measuring spoon – or eyeballing it – cut off a chunk of dough. You want the cookies to be almost the same size as each other and the same thickness so they all bake evenly and none are burnt before the others are done.

   

3. You can do this one cookie at a time or you can measure out your cookies/dough balls all at once. The cookies should be about 1- to 1 1/2″ apart on the tray; the dough balls should be placed ~ 2″ apart.

4. Place the dough on the cookie tray, lay a piece of waxed or parchment paper over the dough, and press down firmly with a flat bottomed glass or other implement. You want to make sure and press evenly on all sides of the glass so your cookie is the same thickness throughout. Press down until the cookie is about 1/8″ thick.

   

5. Bake in the oven for 6 – 7 minutes. Mine were done right around 6 1/2 minutes. You don’t want the bottom to start browning or the cookies take on more of a burnt taste.

6. They’ll be a little soft when you remove them from the oven. Let the cookies cool on the tray for 30 seconds or so and then transfer to a rack. This is where parchment paper is wonderful – you can just (carefully) move the entire piece of parchment to a cooling rack and don’t have to worry about ruining your cookie shapes by using a spatula.

Also, these made a great base for a gingersnap crust. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the end result – Banana Cream Pie. *sadface*

   

Viennese Crescents

It’s that time of year again. Narrowing down the Christmas cookie list!

I am always way too optimistic with the number of new recipes I’ll be able to test. I always run out of time before I get to them all. Oh well, I’m a perpetual optimist 😀

One of my favorites cookie/desert cookbooks is the Joy of Cooking All About Cookies cookbook. There aren’t any recipes in here that you can’t find in the Joy of Cooking, but a good 75% of those in this supplement have big glossy pictures. Always helpful in finding a new recipe. (I also have the All About Vegetarian, which is another good resource when you want to have a good look at what you’re about to make.)

I wasn’t quite positive how these would turn out – they have only 5 ingredients. They were a big hit though, especially with Hermit. I thought they tasted similar to Russian Teacakes – which have walnuts chunks and are rolled in powdered sugar after baking – and are some of my favorite holiday cookies.

The only nuts I bake with are almonds, and only those which haven’t come in contact with other peanuts/tree nuts. Hermit’s niece is highly allergic to peanuts and it wouldn’t do to risk accidentally contaminating something. Thankfully, with a little creativity, I’ve found many cookies which don’t call for nuts. Last year, I actually made Peanut Blossoms with Soy butter instead of peanut butter. They turned out pretty well. I’d like to try this with an almond butter as well.

I love how soft-crunchy these were. I might try making smaller – i.e. not crescent shaped – round cookies from this recipe to see how they turn out. I love a bite-sized cookie. 🙂

Viennese Crescents

Printable Recipe
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ground blanched almonds* (or ground walnuts)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions:

1. Place a rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 350°. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand-mixer, beat butter until pale and creamy. Sift powdered sugar over the top and beat until well combined.

3. Stir in vanilla extract and ground almonds. Gradually – gently – incorporate flour until all combined.

4. Remove bowl from mixer stand. If necessary, knead dough slightly until well blended.

5. Pull off chunks about 2 tsp. in size and roll gently into a compact ball. I have a (very handy) 2 tsp.-sized cookie scoop that works great.

6. Shape ball into a log and then curve slightly into a crescent shape. Place on prepared pans, 1 1/4 inches apart.

7. Bake one sheet at a time, about 10-12 minutes, flipping the cookie sheet halfway through baking. Take the cookies out when they’re very slightly browned. They taste better when they’re lighter in color.

8. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet until slightly firm. Remove to racks to cool.

9. Sift/dust powdered sugar over cookies while still slightly warm. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.