This month I am sharing traditional Christmas desserts from around the world.
If you haven’t read my previous post on Italy’s Ricotta Cookie that kicked off our tour of International Christmas desserts head over here to read it or my post on Germany’s Vanillekipferl cookie here.
I promised a second cookie from Germany in my last post and I don’t want to disappoint. So today I am introducing German Pfeffernüsse cookies. The fun fact about this cookie is that it is very similar to the Pepernoten cookie from the Netherlands.
In keeping with tradition, the Netherlands also celebrate the arrival of Sinterklaas on December 5th bringing the children presents. Did you know the name Santa Claus comes from the name Sinterklaas?
On the evening the Sinterlkaas arrives in The Netherlands, children leave a shoe out by the fireplace or sometimes a windowsill and sing Sinterklaas songs. They hope that Sinterklaas will come during the night with some presents. They also believe that if they leave some hay and carrots in their shoes for Sinterklaas’s horse, they will be left some sweets or small presents. Does that sound familiar?
They’re told that, during the night, Sinterklaas rides on the roofs on his horse and that a ‘Zwarte Piet’ then climbs down the chimney (or through a window) and puts the presents and/or candy in their shoes.
On Christmas Eve night, Dutch children believe that Santa Claus, (who is also called ‘Christmas man’/’Kerstman’ to avoid confusion with Sinterklaas) comes from Lapland in Finland to deliver more presents! Christmas Day itself is a much quieter day in The Netherlands, with a Church Service and family meal.
German Pfeffernüsse Cookies-
The Pepernoten and the Pfeffernüsse are gingerbread cookies and have some similarities, but the ingredients vary as does the method of preparation. Also, Pfeffernüsse is commonly coated with a sugar icing.
The name Pfeffernüsse means “pepper nuts”. The pepper part refers to the white pepper that is added to the dough which gives these cookies a very unique and flavorful touch. The nuts part refers to their walnut-like shape.
Whether you coat the German Pfeffernüsse cookies in powdered sugar or dip them in icing, these little spicy cookies are sure to delight.
Up next we are heading down under for a special treat the Aussie’s call Pavlova.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
Until Next Time……Travel On!
- 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. anise seed, ground
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. cloves
- ⅛ tsp. cardamom
- ⅛ tsp. white pepper
- ¼ cup ground almonds
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ⅓ cup honey
- 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 2½ cups confectioner's sugar
- 4 Tbsp. hot water
- In a small bowl combine first ten items. Set aside
- Combine the brown sugar, honey, butter and cream in a medium saucepan and heat, stirring constantly until melted and the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes.
- Stir in flour mixture. Once incorporated, stir in the egg until thoroughly combined. The dough will have a nice glossy shine and will be sticky.
- Turn the mixture out onto some plastic wrap, then wrap the dough up tightly and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and immediately roll it into two strands, each ¾ inch thick.
- Slice the rolls into ¾ inch thick rounds and roll each into a ball.
- Place the cookie balls on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove and let the cookies cool completely.
- In the meantime, make the glaze by combining the confectioner's sugar and water until smooth.
- Dip each cookie in the glaze, letting the excess drip off. Place the cookies onto a wire rack, over a cookie sheet (to catch the drips).
- Let them sit until the glaze is fully hardened. Store the cookies in an airtight container.
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