Paula started making peppernuts on Saturday and she finished making them today. These treats are cookies that her mother made when she was growing up. Paula’s mom gave her the recipe and she has been making them as long as we have been married. It is one of those treats that only get made at Christmas. Until last year, I didn’t know anyone else who made them besides Paula’s family. Then my friend Stefan talked about making them for his family. Apparently he got the recipe as a wedding gift (I think that is the story…). It was just so exciting to see that someone else is enjoying these delicious treats.
In case you are willing to invest a little time to make them, here are the ingredients:
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 2/4 cups of shortening
- 1 cup of light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of anise
- 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground clove
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 6 cups of all-purpose flour
Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. If necesary, add more flour to stiffen the dough. Allow the dough to sit covered in the refrigerator overnight. After the dough has sat in the refrigerator, roll out the dough into long sticks that are about 1/2 inch across.
Place these sticks on a lightly floured baking sheet, making sure that they don’t touch. Place the baking sheet in the freezer overnight. Using a sharp knife, cut the sticks into small pieces that are about 1/4 inch thick. While you are preparing the peppernuts, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place these pieces cut side down on a greased or lightly floured baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool on the counter.
These cookies can be stored like biscotti for weeks and whenever you are in the mood for something sweet, just reach into the container and grab a handful. They go well with milk or tea or coffee or anything else that you might want to drink. As far as I am concerned, after enjoying them for the past 22 years of my married life, Christmas wouldn’t be the same if she didn’t make them. They have become part of our holiday tradition now!