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Mountain Witch

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Jevne was asking for "culturally-diverse" holiday cookies in chat last night & I promised to share my grandmother's recipe. Thought I'd share with everyone.


In English, it's usually written Pfeffernuesse or Pfeffernusse. However you write it, it translates to "Pepper Nuts". They're quite popular in the Low Countries of Europe around this time of year and I believe this particular recipe is Danish, although there's no Danish in my background...


1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

3 drops anise oil (anise extract is OK but double the amount)

1 tablespoon hot water

3-1/3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper (do not substitute black pepper - doesn't taste as good)


Mix shortening, sugar, egg, molasses, anise oil & water. (Works best if you dilute the oil/extract in the water before adding into the mix.) Blend in remaining ingredients.


Knead the dough until it's the right consistency for molding. Shape by level teaspoons into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet & bake at 350F for about 12 minutes. Roll in powdered (confectioner's) sugar before storing in an airtight container. They will be hard to bite into for the first week or so (require dunking in a nice cup of hot coffee), but they'll soften with age.


It's been years since I made this recipe so I can't remember how many it makes. 3 dozen or thereabouts, I think.

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