Pebernødder - Peppernuts
Christmas over here is a time of cookies. Crazy amounts of cookies. These are about as christmasy as it gets over here. A wonderful juxtaposition of sweet and slightly savory, crunchy and slightly chewy. And they yield a shitload of cookies for not all that much work. This is my standard recipe, but a lot of families will have their own that’s been handed down for ages. I’m sure HappyHat’s is different and he might share it if you ask him nicely.
Note: When possible, measurements are by weight. Also this recipe freezes well in its unbaked state, so you can make plenty of dough well in advance.
These pebernødder are so ingrained in Danish christmas tradition that we even have games and idioms involving them, although most people won't ever have tasted the real thing but only the industrial processed version. A cookie which is sorely lacking in the very thing that gives them their name and make them special: Pepper. The real thing is a sweet, crunchy bite-sized cookie with a nice, mild peppery hit at the end.
- A: 250g / 0,55 lb butter
- B: 250 g / 0,55 lb caster sugar
- C: 1 dl / 3,4 fl oz double- or whipping cream (at least 35% fat)
- D: 500 g / 1.1 lbs wheat flour
- a: 1 tsp ground ginger
- b: 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- c: 1 tsp ground cardamom
- d: 1 - 1 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- e: 1 tsp baking powder
- f: 1 tsp sodium bicarb
Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the cream carefully - don't splatter it all over yourself as I did. Add spices, flour, baking powder and bicarb and mix until even and fairly firm. Use hands or machine. I like machines. Especially ones 30 years old that still work perfectly. Vrooom.
Cool the dough for a while, it'll make it easier to work with. Roll or cut the dough into balls around 3/4 inch in diameter. You can space them fairly tightly as they don't spread out that much - although not as tightly as I did, because they do spread out that much. Idiot. Bake for 7-10 minutes at 200C / 390F, adjusting for the size you roll them out to. If you stack the tray like I foolishly did, you need to bake them a bit more so they get the right crunch.
Make sure they don't burn on the bottom – a nice light toasted brown is what I prefer. They shouldn’t be completely crispy when you take them out but will crisp and firm up once cooled. Again, note that I screwed up due to impatience here – space them out more than illustrated.