Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christmas Peppernuts

This is the other one of my recipes that was accepted in the Dallas Morning News / Central Market's Annual Holiday Cookie Baking Contest this year. (2013).  Tomorrow is the judging. I'll have pictures and stories from the competition.

Peppernuts with their unique flavor are a Mennonite family tradition dating back more than two centuries. Original recipes were copied as Mennonite families moved about Europe. The idea came from the fact that they couldn't afford nuts during the holidays. These tiny nut like shapes were baked to represent a Peanut. Some were baked in larger sizes representing walnuts.

This is my mother- in- law's family recipe. My wife was raised on a Mennonite Farm in Kansas and Peppernuts were made every year at Christmas. We have them at our house every Christmas and our daughter has continued the tradition and makes them for her family. We can't remember a Christmas in our family without Peppernuts.

1C granulated sugar
1/2 C molasses
1/2 C corn syrup
1 C shortening
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp Anise Oil or 1 tsp crushed Anise Seeds
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 C flour

Mix all ingredients well and refrigerate the dough overnight.

On a floured surface: Roll the dough into long thin logs and cut them into small pieces. ( The roll should be the diameter of a pencil and the pieces 1/2") This can be done in several rolls.

I purchased a Peppernut Dough extruder at the Market, in town where my wife grew up, in Kansas. It was created especially to make Peppernuts.

Place the small Peppernuts on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Traditionally a handful of Peppernuts are placed in bags tied with a ribbon and given out to friends during the holidays.

Peace in the Kitchen!

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