Pfeffernüsse

Pfeffernüsse
adapted from Joy of Cooking

This is the recipe from Joy of Cooking (1995 edition) witha  few tweaks. My spice mixture is slightly different, because I thought the original was too heavy on the nutmeg and anise and not heavy enough on the cloves and cinnamon. Also I add much more nuts and dried fruit. I usually candy my own peel, and substitute lemon peel for the original citron.

This year however, I ate a lot of pomelos, and so decided to candy the peels from those. I now have about 5 cups of peel, so using that inplace of the citron was a no-brainer for me. Unfortunately, I was also out of anise seed and instead of going to the store (the weather is horrid, freezing rain), I subbed in 2 tsp Dean and Deluca Five Spice Mix and 2 Tbsp cinnamon for the spice mix. I’m not a fan of Dean and Deluca, but my parents had the Five Spice Mix in their cabinet, and it acually smells quite nice. I wouldn’t use it for Chinese cooking though, it’s not authentic enough, no orange peel or sichuan “pepper”. I was also out of almonds…which never happens, but so it goes. I subbed hazelnuts and a 1/4 tsp almond extract for those and am hoping for the best.

Sift together:
      4 cups flour
      1 ½  tsp baking powder
      ¼  tsp baking soda
      ½  tsp salt
      ½ tsp black pepper
Add:
      scant ½ tsp nutmeg
      mounded ½ tsp ground clove
      1½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
      ½ tsp anise seeds
Cream together:
      2 sticks butter
      ⅔ cup sugar
Add and beat well until light:
      2 eggs
Add:
      1 cup finely chopped almonds
      ½ cup finely chopped candied orange peel
      ½ cup finely chopped candied citron/lemon peel
Add the flour mixture to the above ingredients in thirds, alternately with:
      ⅔ cup molasses
      2 Tbsp corn syrup
      ⅔ cup brandy or cognac
      1 Tbsp lemon zest
      2 Tbsp lemon juice
Beat well, then set aside overnight.
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Shape into 1 inch balls and bake on a greased cookie sheet 12 minutes.
Roll while warm in:
      Confectioners’ sugar

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