Oh dear. It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’ve gotten rather behind on my posts. I know the moment for Christmas cookies is sort of past, but this is a recipe that I made a few weeks ago and so I’m sharing it in time for…eh…next year!
I recently posted a recipe for Pfeffernüsse using my festive German spice mixture. Great if you like all those spices (which I do!) but this version is different, with much lighter aromas, just using a little cinnamon and a pinch of pepper, and some lemon zest for a fresher note.
The method is also different – rather than a classic gingerbread-style recipe involving boiling up sugar and honey to make a basis for the dough, you whip eggs and sugar, then add the rest of the ingredients. The resulting cookies are lighter (in texture, I make no promises about the calorific value), and if you’re entertaining kids, this is also the messier – and therefore more fun – option. The resulting cookies are lighter in colour (as they don’t contain treacle) and so once iced, they take on a brilliant white colour.
I also replace some of the flour with ground almonds, to add to the flavour and keep the cookies softer. However, once made, these biscuits can have a tendency to become hard. In which case, just pop into a box with a slice of apple (don’t let it touch the biscuits), and after a day or so, they will be soft and aromatic.
To make White Pfeffernüsse (makes around 20):
• 1 egg
• 100g white caster sugar
• 20g ground almonds
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• generous pinch white pepper
• zest of 1/2 lemon
• 130g plain flour
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F). Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and rub with butter or non-stick spray.
Whisk the egg and the sugar until light and creamy (about 2 minutes). Add the cinnamon, white pepper and lemon zest to the bowl, and mix well.
Combine the flour, ground almonds and baking powder, and fold into the egg mixture until you have a sticky dough.
Using damp hands, form the mixture into balls of 2-3cm, and place of greased baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until puffed up, but not browned. Remove from the oven, and after a minute, transfer to a cooling rack.
Cover the cookies with the icing (you might want to dip them, and do this twice to get a thick but even coating) and allow to dry overnight.
For the icing: 80g icing sugar and 4 tablespoons water (or non-sweet kirsch). Combine and stir well until smooth.