Pfeffernusse are soft, molasses ginger cookies. The recipe comes from my mother-in-law’s family. They farmed in rural Ontario and my sailor has fond memories of childhood holidays at his grandma’s farm.
Pfeffernusse may be German, or it may be a long-standing typo from generations ago.
Whatever their origins, these little cookies are delicious.
My sailor grew up enjoying them at Christmas time. I’m pro family traditions so I thought I’d whip up a batch for my boy, who has come to expect homemade cookies. (I don’t want to think about the disappointed looks he gave me when I admitted we had to make do with cookies from a box last week because I didn’t have the energy for baking.)
The batter is pretty easy to throw together and I kind of enjoyed rolling the dough balls in my hands. The butter and spices made my palms soft and fragrant, an unexpected benefit of this tradition! As soon as they come out of the oven, the cookies are rolled in sugar, which is supposed to melt slightly to form a glaze-like coating. Mine just caked on top like dandruff, but they still tasted good if a little drier than they should be.
Alghough passable, they’re not the gold standard of pfeffernusse–ones my sailor makes every Christmas. (Yes, on top of all his other talents, he’s a competent baker!)
But guess what–it doesn’t matter if my pfeffernusse is dry and crusty because I’ll be enjoying some genuine sailor-quality baked goods before too long!