Pfeffernusse are small, ball-shaped cookies that are popular in Europe, especially during the winter holidays. The treats are spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamon, and a dash of pepper (which gives Pfeffernusse, meaning “peppernuts” in German, their name). The cookies are often dunked in warm beverages when eaten in order to couneract their hard and brittle exterior. Otherwise, they can be given up to a week to soften. A wide variety of Pfeffernusse recipes are available, with some featuring white pepper, pecans, or anise. National Pfeffernusse Day is celebrated in the United Stats annually on December 23rd, just in time for Christmas!
I’d never heard of Pfeffernusse before researching this month’s holidays. Chris, on the other hand, perked up as soon as I asked him “What’s a feffer-noozy?” Apparently he’s had these little cookies before, and once he knew there was an “unofficial” in their honor, he was eager to try making some himself. We found a Pfeffernusse recipe online earlier in the week and I surveyed our pantry, happy to find that we had almost all of the ingredients needed. I determined that we would need to buy Anise extract and cardamon. I headed to the grocery store, where I was shocked to find that the only available spice jar of cardamon was over twelve dollars! Not cool. Once my humbuginess subsided I made my purchase, glad to have everthing ready for a little baking at the end of the week.
And boy, did the end of the week get here fast! We have a lot going on during Christmas Eve and Christmas, including a big family celebration hosted at our home tomorrow night. In preparation for the event we’ve been staying up until the wee hours of the morning, wrapping presents and cleaning, just to wake up at 6:30 a few hours later and start all over again. (Actually, I’ve only slept a total of 15 hours over the past four days! Luckily for me, today was my last day of work until 2012). With all of the holiday craziness, it was nice to take a break tonight to work on a little baking project with Chris.