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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Pebernødder ("Pepper Nuts")

These aren't the most spectacular looking cookie, but they're a Danish tradition and they sounded tasty.  Most importantly, they're simple to make!

The originator wasn't too fond of this recipe because she doesn't like white pepper.  While these were baking, the kitchen smelled strongly of the pepper, but in the end result it is not especially noticeable.  In fact, no spice stands out more than the others -- it's very nicely balanced.  Despite all the spices, I would not call this a spice cookie.  The flavor is delicate -- it's more like a lightly spiced butter cookie.  They remind me of the Land O' Lakes ginger stars, which I'll have to make again some day.

Did I add salt?  Now I can't remember.

Here's what I used:

125 grams salted butter, at room temperature (4 3/8 ounces)
125 grams dark brown sugar (4 1/4 ounces)
1/2 deciliter heavy whipping cream (1.7 ounces)
250 grams all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (390 degrees F).  Beat together butter and sugar until smooth. Add cream and beat until combined. Sift together flour, spices, baking soda and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Place dough onto lightly floured working surface and knead briefly.  Working with a handful of dough at a time (determined by the amount of counter space you have) but no more than 1/4 of the recipe, roll the dough out into logs the size of your middle finger. Cut logs into 1 centimeter (0.4-inch) pieces and place about 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until light brown. Let cool on baking sheets before storing in an airtight container.

This dough was a pleasure to work with, but it will get very soft in a warm room.  I recommend keeping the bulk of the dough in the refrigerator while you're rolling and cutting.  I rolled mine a little small, so they baked up faster and are perhaps a bit darker than they should be, but they were fine nonetheless.  The recipe sounds time-consuming, but these come together much faster than you would guess.

Conclusion:  These were great, and tasted better a couple days later after the flavors had blended some.  Too easy to eat like popcorn.  If you are inclined, they are great spread with a tiny bit of honey-sweetened chèvre cheese.

Recipe:  Danish Pebernødder with Pepper via My Danish Kitchen

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