Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Tiny little gorgeous little round little nuggets of sugar and spice.  That’s what you need, when your tiny little gorgeous little round little monsters are driving you festively demented.  If it wasn't for domestic slavery you'd totally be draped in sequins and hanging out at one of those Christmas parties in a magazine spread, right?  Never fear.  One of these German/Danish biscuits in each cheek, squirrel-style, a glass of mulled wine in hand and you’ll be as cheery as an elf.  And if you're up for sharing, I'd rather celebrate Christmas round yours scoffing pfeffernusse than rub bony shoulders with the beautiful people any day.

Speaking of sharing, my sincere thanks to Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic, the creator of this superb recipe, who very kindly gave me permission to share it here with you lovely people.

This recipe makes millions (rough count) of pfeffernusse, covering your kitchen surfaces with small spherical objects not entirely unlike that scene in Gremlins but almost certainly more fragrant.  Warm from the oven, one coat of icing sugar will make them frosty and two coats will make them positively snowy.  If you can’t make your way through sixty in one go – come on, you’re just not trying – stash them in the freezer sans icing sugar.  When ready to bring to life again, defrost them for a couple of hours and then dip them in melted white chocolate for a gingerbread-and-custard type mouthful.

Merry Christmas.


Makes around 60

450g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

225g unsalted butter

175g dark brown soft sugar

4 tbsp treacle

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp cardamom pods, seeds extracted and ground (or 2 tsp ground cardamom)

¼ tsp ground white pepper

1 egg

icing sugar for dusting, or white chocolate for dipping

Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, spices and pepper.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg and treacle.

Add the dry flour mixture into the wet mixture bit by bit, until you have a gorgeously scented dough.

Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for a few hours or, even better, overnight, to allow the spices to mix and mingle.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and lay your hands on as many non-stick baking sheets as you can.

Using a teaspoon, excavate chunks of dough and roll them into balls around 3cm diameter.  Squish them down onto the baking sheet a little so they don’t roll off when headed for the oven.

Bake for around 12 minutes until lightly bronzed and reasonably firm when pressed.

To coat with icing sugar, tip five or six tablespoons of sugar into a bowl and dredge the still-warm biscuits in the sugar, turning them over gently, then place them on a rack to cool.  If you like a snowier effect, repeat while still warm.

Alternatively, let the biscuits cool completely and then dip them in melted white chocolate.  Place them on a sheet of baking parchment while the chocolate hardens.


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