Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday at the Table

My coworker, Colleen, brought me a baggie of cookies a few days ago. I ooh-d and aah-d appropriately, and enjoyed the back-story she told me: 

"This is an old German Recipe from Ron's {her hubby} mom, Caroline. 

In our family, we make the dough on Thanksgiving night which has become a tradition.  We have a special wooden spoon and pot that we have used for as many years as I can remember to mix the dough.  It takes a lot of manpower to make the dough, as the recipe is large, so everyone takes a turn mixing at some point.

Ron usually cuts out and bakes the cookies on the day that we put up our tree.  He then sends some to his dad, sister, and brother.

The recipe makes so many that we enjoy them well into the new year.  They say they are better the longer they are allowed to 'age'."
Personally, I love stories like that - ones full of good food, family, and tradition. Colleen generously shared her family's treasured recipe . . .

Peppernut Cookies
3/4# butter
1 1/2 pints dark Karo syrup
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 Tb. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 Tb each: allspice, ground anise seed, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, & mace
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
4 to 5 Tb. flour

Heat and dissolve butter, syrup, molasses, sugars, and salt. When cooled somewhat (so that eggs will not cook when added), add eggs and spices, then set aside.

Add soda to buttermilk (it will get foamy) and set aside. Add baking powder to first batch (a sifter full) of flour.

Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the original mixture starting with flour. When the buttermilk mixture runs out, keep adding flour, even using hands at the end when it gets too stiff for a spoon.

Let the cookie dough rest overnight in a cool area. Next day, roll dough out to about 1/8" thickness. Cut and bake 10-12 minutes in a moderate oven (about 350-375 degrees F). Store in non-airtight containers.

So what about you - any heirloom recipes to share about? Or other meaningful traditions? Holiday projects you are working on? We'd love to hear. Link up through December 28 for a chance to win a $40 gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabrics. Cheers!


  1. Every single year I can remember, we've had Peppernuts which sound an awful lot like the same ingredients as these cookies, but they're made by rolling the dough into long ropes then cutting the ropes into tiny bits (my mom's recipe says "about the size of a hazelnut") before baking. Mmmmm. I haven't made any these year, and I hope my mom has!!

  2. My husband's late grandmother did exactly what Heather D said and makes more like small sticks and they are put into tins and eaten for the next month. So good.

  3. We always make Wassail from my Aunt's recipe. I have the recipe posted on my blog under the recipes tab, but don't have a current post to link up.
    These cookies sound very similar to pfefferkuchen, a german cookie my mom and sister both make. My mom I think got it from her german neighbors. My sister got a recipe when she lived in Germany during the time her husband was stationed there.

  4. This is much like great-grandma Jeske's pfeffernussen recipe only they were formed into round balls and then rolled in powdered suger after baking. Also best aged for at least a couple of weeks. It was a special time going to Grandma's around Christmas just for pfeffernussen. Her name was also Caroline. Small world. Ah... Thanks to Colleen for the recipe.