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Jocelyn Campbell
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This is a bit of self-promotion. Though it's a fun way to start off a thread for others to chime in about their own favorite holiday treats!

My family's Pfeffernuss recipe is up for a people's choice award through one of our favorite food sources, Azure Standard. Here's the link with my story and recipe entry, though the voting will be on Facebook starting on December 14th.

I'll post the recipe here, too.

Pfeffernuss

(Jocelyn’s smaller recipe version)

Pfeffernuss translates to “pepper nut” and is a traditional German spice cookie.
The original version of this recipe was written down in 1956, though it’s been in use in our family for many generations. It’s from Grandma Rieg, born in 1905 in Kansas to German immigrants. Since these are not as cloyingly sweet as many holiday cookies, they tend to go quickly, and their kibble-like size makes them highly snack-able. Just don’t mix them up with the pet food!


½ cup turbinado sugar, or coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
2 T. butter, softened
¼ cup lard (or coconut oil), softened
¼ cup molasses
½ cup maple syrup (or brown rice syrup)
1 teaspoons cinnamon
¾ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt (use less if using regular table salt)
½ teaspoon powdered anise
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon rind/zest (about 1/3 to ½ tsp dried lemon peel)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg
¾ teaspoon baking soda, diluted in 2 T. water
+/- 3 cups regular all-purpose flour or gluten free flour mix - enough to make a stiff dough

Add the sugar to the softened, combined butter and lard and cream/mix thoroughly.  If using brown sugar, be sure to crush out all the lumps, first.

Add molasses, syrup, spices, including lemon juice and zest; mix well through.  Add egg, then soda water, then enough flour to make very thick, rather stiff dough; a little stickier than ‘play dough.’

Chill at least 12 hours.  The dough thickens a bit with chilling to be nearer to ‘play dough’ consistency.

On a floured board, roll into “snakes” about ½-inch to an inch thick and use a sharp knife to slice off ½-inch to an inch long chunks. (If making an extra large batch, you might like to clean off the knife occasionally with a cloth dipped in hot water for easier slicing as you go.) Place on cookie sheet lightly greased or sprayed with oil.  

Bake about 10 minutes at 350F. If baking two sheets at once on different oven racks, trade them halfway through.

If the cookies spread out too much when baking, work in more flour. Freeze any unbaked dough for later.

Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to parchment paper (or, as my grandma used, clean paper grocery sacks opened up flat) on the table or counter to continue cooling.

Makes about nine cups of little bite-sized cookies.

Once completely cooled, Grandma always put them in cleaned coffee cans (the metal kind) that she’d wrap in Christmas paper, with a bright little bow stuck on top of the plastic lid. It was a fun treat and tradition every winter holiday season.


Here’s the original recipe with huge quantities that we often doubled. (Yes, that meant 10 pounds of flour!) I never was quite sure what 1 pink bottle of dark Karo syrup meant though, more often than not, I have preferred using maple syrup or brown rice syrup to corn syrup any way.

1-12 oz. bottle green label Brer Rabbit Molasses
1-pink bottle dark Karo Syrup
(I’ve used either the blue label dark, or the red label light, both about 16 oz.)
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 cups sugar
1 ½ sticks butter
1 ½ cups lard (or shortening)
6 eggs
6 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons powdered anise
2 grated lemon rinds
½ the juice of 1 lemon
4 teaspoons baking soda, diluted in 1/3 cup water
Add enough flour to make rather stiff dough (about 5 lbs.)


Pfeffernuss_1_before_chilling.JPG
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thick Pfeffernuss dough before chilling
Filename: Pfeffernuss_2_rolling_instructions.pdf
Description: Pfeffernuss rolling instructions
File size: 3 megabytes
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Pfeffernuss spread out on a baking tray
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Baked Pfeffernuss, easy to much by the handful!
 
Andrea Mondine
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Hi Jocelyn!

Thank you for posting this recipe!!
I listened to podcast #348 the other day and have been thinking about these cookies ever since!! My Grandmother also made these, and the recipes I have found over the years just aren't the same. I have wonderful memories of the spicy cookie bits...and yes, it totally looks like dog food. I remember hers being even darker than the ones in your picture, but absolutely the same process of 'snakes' and cutting little tidbits off.
I'll be sure to spread the word about the contest and best of luck to you!
I'm going to make the dough today.

~Andrea

***(to any/everyone else) Listen to podcast #348 if you haven't! It's amazing!!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Jocelyn, those look yummy.  Thanks for sharing a family recipe.

Here is a recipe I got at an art show, and have enjoyed making for several years now.

BLACK BEAN BROWNIES:

1 cup pureed black beans
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 C butter

Add and beat

3/4 C unsweetened cocoa

add 2 T instant coffee powder (or instant espresso powder, I use coffee beans ground very fine in the coffee grinder, and put through a sieve)

Add 1 cup chopped walnuts.

I also added 1/4 t vanilla powder, or 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract  (although you could probably get away with 1 tsp)


Bake 45 minutes at 350F in a 9"x13" pan. Cool in pan before cutting.
___________________________________________________________________
I have substituted 1 cup of honey for the 2 cups of sugar.

I have substituted pumpkin seeds for the nuts

I have added 1 cup raisins and or dried cranberries to the brownies

Another wonderful addition is 3/16 tsp cayenne (I use 90,000 scofield units cayenne.  If you don't have the super powered cayenne, then you might want to use more.  the "normal" cayenne is about 35,000 scofield units).

These tend to stick in the pan.  Use parchment paper, or butter the pan and sprinkle dried unsweetened coconut over the bottom of the pan.  Let the brownies cool thoroughly before cutting.  I have frozen the brownies to cut them, and that works pretty well.

 
Maureen Atsali
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Wow, that brings back memories.  Years and years ago I used to work for an elderly German woman, and I used to help her make these at Christmas time.  Good luck with the contest!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Thanks Andrea! I think these turned out lighter, too, from using turbinado sugar instead brown sugar. Glad you liked the podcast.

Thekla - those brownies sound awesome! I often have leftover black beans from feast night and this looks like a it could be a delicious use for them!

Maureen, thanks for the well wishes and fun to hear someone else has heard of Pfeffernuss this way!

Anyone else have a favorite holiday treat?
 
Casie Becker
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Jocelyn, those look yummy.  Thanks for sharing a family recipe.

Here is a recipe I got at an art show, and have enjoyed making for several years now.

BLACK BEAN BROWNIES:

1 cup pureed black beans



There was discussion in the thread about cooking with dried beans of how baking with bean flour doesn't adequately destroy toxins in the beans. It's nice to see someone has found a solution. I'm going to have to share this thread with my sister. She's always looking for new gluten free recipes. This one sounds like a powerhouse of nutrition as well as flavor.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Hi Jocelyn. I heard you talk about them (and eat them) in the podcast. Those are known here in the Netherlands too (the country next to Germany). We call them 'pepernoten', but that is the same as 'pfeffernusse'. But during recent years (during my life) they are changed a lot. The recipe must be completely different now, except for the spices. They have the shape of tiny cookies now. I think much more sugar is used. And they exist covered in chocolate too!
 
Ryan Barrett
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Oh nice! I'm totally going to make this for our family thing this year. They sounded great in the podcast and even better as a recipe.



Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

I never was quite sure what 1 pink bottle of dark Karo syrup meant though, more often than not, I have preferred using maple syrup or brown rice syrup to corn syrup any way.



The Karo might be a Midwest thing,  I recall seeing this stuff as a kid at my grandma's house(German descent too.... but I don't recall Pfeffernuss).
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I remember pink labels on glass bottles of karo syrup int the kitchens of my mother and grandmother, in the (USA) 50s.  I think there was another color for another variety, maybe regular and dark or light and dark.  Folks in those days thought karo syrup was great stuff, it was the main ingredient in the stick-um for popcorn balls, and I don't remember any more beyond that.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Jocelyn - Those look fun to make and sound delicious.

Thekla - Thank you for the Black Bean Brownie recipe. I had them at a party once and they were so good. Tasted nothing like beans, just a delicious chocolate brownie.

Two great gluten free options for me!

This year my holiday gift bags are going to include bird seed ornaments (holiday treats for our feathered friends). I'm going to try this recipe from about.com.
 
Andrea Mondine
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Jocelyn,

My attempt turned out great! The smell of the cookies baking coincided with our first real snowfall of the year. What a nice combination. 
My husband had never heard of these cookies before, and he loves them. He decided he's calling them 'Pepper Nubs' instead of Pfefferneuse. haha

I have black beans in the pot now....those brownies posted above sound amazing.

Have you ever tried chocolate chip cookies made with cannellini (white) beans? They are really good! I like to spread them in a pan and make 'bar-type' cookies to cut after baking. The dough is a little stickier than traditional chocolate chip dough, but lots of fiber and there is no 'bean' taste at all. These are 'kid and husband tested'.

****

Here's the recipe in case anyone wants to have a go at it:

4 Tbsp butter (or vegan butter) (can be substituted with coconut oil, but you will have to go with the bar cookie due to extra soft dough)
2 eggs
Splash vanilla extract
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed tight
1 can cannellini beans (rinse well) (I've never tried using dried/soaked beans for this recipe) (can also use Garbanzo beans, but you will need less flour)
2 Tbsp real maple syrup or brown rice syrup
1 1/2 c (+/-) Flour (can use standard, whole wheat, buckwheat, brown rice, coconut, etc. I've tried them all!)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 or 1 1/2 c chocolate or carob chips

I'm a 'smash it all together' kind of cook, so here is how I make these. If you want to take your time and be delicate, go for it.

Smash the beans in a food processor
Add all the 'wet' ingredients
Smash some more
Add salt and baking soda
Smash
Add flour (til it looks like cookie dough. You will need about 1 1/2 cups for cannellini, about 1 1/4 for garbanzo)
Smash
Dump into 9 x 13 (well) Greased pan
Stir in chocolate chips and press down

Bake at 375F for about 18-22 minutes.

Eat them all. Repeat.

*****

Here's a picture of how my attempt at Jocelyn's Pefferneuse turned out. Mine spread a bit into tiny circles, but my kitchen was really warm that day from baking bread.
Pfefferneuse.jpg
[Thumbnail for Pfefferneuse.jpg]
FIrst-Snow-2016.jpg
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Judith Browning
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I've copied Jocelyn's recipe to make later, sounds wonderful

I'll put a link to our holiday cookies since I posted a thread with pics last year......Springerle pressed with family wooden molds and some carved by Steve https://permies.com/t/43740/kitchen/Springerles-cookies-wooden-molds

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Ahhh! So many neat replies! Cool to hear about the Netherlands' pepernoten, Inge! And so many people have tried the Pfeffernusse - fun! Thanks for your pictures and another great recipe to try, Andrea!

Judith, you and your husband never cease to amaze me. People, if you have not followed her link for those wooden cookie molds, do it. Seriously. 

Any other holiday treat traditions out there? Just so you know, we're gonna go a little crazy with gingerbread wofatis here at wheaton labs on Winter Solstice. We might have to make a separate thread about that.

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Andrea, what an idea, a white bean chocolate chip cookie, which leads me further down the bean road.  it does not seem too difficult to take the white bean dough and the balck bean chocolate dough and make a swirled brownie, whether vanilla and chocolate, or cinnamon and chocolate or butterscotch and chocolate.... it would be cooks choice.

i love the black bean brownie recipe, and people are just blown away by it,  I am going to have some fun with the white bean dough just as soon as I have an occasion.  I just can't make them without someplace to give them away.

Anyway, thanks for the white bean dough recipe.

Thekla
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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The Facebook voting has started! The Pfeffernuss are waaayy behind. Ha!

If you feel like helping, and/or want to see the other 3 recipes, go to Azure's Facebook page Holiday Cookie People's Choice post. Then click into each photo and like one photo (mine is the Pfeffernusse in the blue bowl!) to cast your vote.

(Edited to fix the FB link to be a regular link, not a mobile view link.)
 
paul wheaton
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I shared it on my fb page and on my fb page (they are exactly the same but completely different).  

The judging of this appears to be purely a popularity contest.   And I am glad to abuse my powers for this. 
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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paul wheaton wrote:I shared it on my fb page and on my fb page (they are exactly the same but completely different).  

The judging of this appears to be purely a popularity contest.   And I am glad to abuse my powers for this. 

Thanks in large part to permies and Paul's abuse of powers, I won the people's choice! Thanks folks! That means we now have a $50 credit on our Azure account. Hm, I noticed we do not yet have a thread about Azure. Here ya go:  Azure Standard - bulk, organic food and homestead supplies.

Now back to our regularly scheduled holiday treats. Who has another recipe? Paul keeps asking me for rice crispie treats with the candy canes in them. Uff. Anybody have an idea of something else I could make?
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Congratulations Jocelyn! And thanks for introducing me to Azure. I'd never heard of it before.

I have been having lots of fun making the "tweet" treats birdseed ornaments that I mentioned earlier. (Recipe here)
IMG_20161220_123703.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20161220_123703.jpg]
Birdseed ornaments - stars, gingerbread men, snowmen, trees
 
Anne Miller
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Congratulations!  I could not vote since I don't have facebook but I would have if I could.

I have been enjoying all the recipes.  Those birdseed ornaments are neat.  Put them on the Christmas Tree and then hang them outside for the birds!  Great idea.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Does anyone have any suggestions for how to substitute for the corn syrup in the bird seed ornaments?  something that is not a refined or processed substitute? I'd like to make them, but I don't think refined food is any better for the birds than it is for us.

I have  a friend who is an avid birder.  I would love to make some for her.... and her birdies.
 
Casie Becker
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Is there any reason why honey wouldn't work to replace the corn syrup? That's the first thing that springs to my mind. I'll definitely be trying this myself at some point in the future.
 
Anne Miller
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A thick sweet syrup which comes in both light and dark varieties, made from processed cornstarch. Light corn syrup has been clarified, while dark corn syrup has had coloring and caramel flavoring added.

Substitutions:

1/2 cup sugar + 2 tbsp water = 1/2 cup light corn syrup; 1/2 cup honey = 1/2 cup light corn syrup

http://www.food.com/about/corn-syrup-138
 
Thekla McDaniels
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ah,thanks,  straight across substitution.  will that work in all recipes?
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Awesome "tweet" treats, Karen! Thanks!

Thekla McDaniels wrote:Does anyone have any suggestions for how to substitute for the corn syrup in the bird seed ornaments?  something that is not a refined or processed substitute? I'd like to make them, but I don't think refined food is any better for the birds than it is for us.

I have  a friend who is an avid birder.  I would love to make some for her.... and her birdies.

I think brown rice syrup or maple syrup might work instead of corn syrup or honey. Personally, the brown rice syrup flavor is not my favorite, so I'd gladly use that up on bird treats!


 
Thekla McDaniels
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I just learned something!  I used to think brown rice syrup was a sort of frankenfood, made by "fracking" the rice starch (like cory syrup), but I went to look it up before I said such a thing.

and what do I know!  Brown rice syrup is made by cooking the rice starch then malting it.  yay!

thank you for inspiring my learning!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Karen's bird treats reminded me of my Solstice dried apples. When the slices are cut across the core, it's a star, symbolizing the light we bring inside on the darkest day of the year.

Despite treating with lemon juice, these red apples still turned a bit dark. I love using red and green apples for these.
Solstice-apples-20161220.jpg
[Thumbnail for Solstice-apples-20161220.jpg]
Winter Solstice dried apples
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Anne, thanks for the substitution. I'm getting ready to make another batch. I'll sub equal amounts of raw honey for the 3T. corn syrup and see how it goes.

Red and green apple slices...cool! And very pretty.
 
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