Pfefferniuss (pronounced Feffer-noose) are a traditional German spiced cookie that my family makes every year. I remember rolling this out and making it when I was too little to use a real metal butter knife, I was instead given a small plastic knife to make these little cookies. I probably teethed on them, and my children and grandchildren will make them much as my mother and grandmother and her mother before her makes these without fail every year. I even gave them away as our favor at our wedding almost two years ago as it was during the holiday season (the first week of January!) because it was one of the first family traditions that T. and I shared.
Pfefferniuss are small little spiced cookies that are traditionally lightly flavored with anise (no, they don’t taste like licorice at all) and are meant to be eaten with tea or coffee. They are hard. People don’t expect that. Think of them as little German biscotti and you’ll get the idea.
- 2 cups
dark Karo syrup(I now use molasses for a healthier version)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup softened butter
- 2 eggs
To this mixture, add
- Enough flour to make a stiff dough (approximately 7 cups)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon anise (my mom uses the liquid anise oil, I use anise seeds, either is fine)
This is not a recipe to try and mix with a wooden spoon. If you have a hand mixer, use it and if you have a counter mixer, you are blessed! The dough gets VERY stiff and hard to mix. Refrigerate dough for a few hours (or days). I normally split the dough in half and freeze half wrapped in wax paper inside of a freezer bag to make later in the season and bake only half initially.
Place some wax paper on your working space and cover with flour. Take a piece of the dough and roll into long snakes as thick as a large pencil. Take a butter knife and cut off small pieces the size of a hazelnut. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake 350 degrees Fahrenheit until brown, about 14 minutes. Let set for two or three minutes on the pan before removing but don’t allow them to cool completely on the pan as they may stick. Re-grease pan between batches.
Makes HUNDREDS of little cookies! This is a great cookie to make with your kids as more hands make the work shorter! Enjoy!