Saturday, December 19, 2009

Puffer-Nusse a.k.a. Pepper Nuts

I grew up with puffer-nusse (also spelled pfuffer-nusse), which are small, nickle sized anise flavored cookies. Obviously, this is a German recipe, and yes, it's from my hometown, Iowa, cookbook. And, we pronounce the name like this: poofer-noose. 

Anyway, my mom always makes these, but since Jeff and I haven't seen them this year, and may not make it back for Christmas--depending on the weather--I baked up a half-batch last week. I love the crunchy texture, because it feels like you're eating a big cookie, when in reality, you're only eating a tiny one!
I'm posting a full-batch recipe below.

1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c. margarine (I use butter, my mom uses margarine and we didn't notice a difference)
4 1/2 c flour
1 egg (when I make only a half batch I use the egg white)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c black, warm coffee
1/2 tsp anise oil (I can't find this, so I use 1 tsp anise extract for a full batch)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Mix the sugars and shortening together, then add the egg. Dissolve the soda and the anise in the coffee, then add to the mixture. Add the dry ingredients, mixing well. Place in the refrigerator for an hour or longer. Then, make the dough into rolls the size of a nickel, I usually roll mine a little smaller, and put into the freezer for an hour or longer--I usually leave mine in the freezer overnight. Cut into thin slices, slightly flatten with your thumb, and bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes--just until a little browned. Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the pan, because then they won't stick together if you do a mass pile-off of the baking stone.

VERDICT: Tastes like I'm back home!

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