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Brown "pfeffernussen" Recipe

Recipe for Brown "Pfeffernussen":

Brown "Pfeffernussen" is a traditional German cookie recipe that dates back many generations. These sweet and spicy cookies are typically enjoyed during the holiday season, and their name translates to "pepper nuts" due to the combination of black pepper and various spices used in the recipe. It is believed that this recipe originated in the medieval monasteries of Europe, where it was used as a form of payment or gift during the Christmas season.

Fun fact: The use of "Hirschhorn Salz" or carbonate of ammonia in this recipe is quite interesting. Carbonate of ammonia was commonly used in baking before the widespread availability of baking powder or baking soda. It is a leavening agent that helps the cookies rise and develop a crispy texture. The use of this ingredient adds a unique flavor and aroma to the Pfeffernussen.

Now, let's dive into the recipe and make these delicious Brown Pfeffernussen:

Ingredients:
- 3 pounds of flour
- 2 pounds of sugar syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/4 pound of lard
- 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder
- 1/4 pound of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
- 1/2 pound of brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- "Hirschhorn Salz" (carbonate of ammonia)

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, black pepper, cardamom powder, and cloves. Mix well to distribute the spices evenly throughout the flour.

2. In a saucepan, heat the sugar syrup until it is hot but not boiling. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.

3. Once the syrup has cooled slightly, add it to the flour mixture. Mix together using a spoon or your hands until the dough starts to come together.

4. In a separate bowl, cream together the lard, butter, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. This can be done using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.

5. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture and continue to mix until well combined.

6. Gradually add the creamed mixture to the dough, mixing well after each addition. The dough should be soft and easy to handle but not too sticky. If the dough feels too sticky, you can add a little more flour to adjust the consistency.

7. Now it's time to add the "Hirschhorn Salz". Use the tip of a knife to measure out as much carbonate of ammonia as you can balance on its point. This ingredient provides the cookies with a light and airy texture, so don't skip it. Add the "Hirschhorn Salz" to the dough and mix well.

8. Once all the ingredients are well combined, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for at least one week or longer. This resting period allows the flavors to develop and intensify.

9. After the resting period, preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C). Grease your baking pans and set them aside.

10. Take small pieces of dough and shape them into balls about the size of a hickory nut. Place the balls onto the greased baking pans, leaving some space between them to allow for spreading.

11. Bake the Pfeffernussen in a slow oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown. The slow baking allows the cookies to cook evenly and develop a crisp texture.

12. Once baked, remove the Pfeffernussen from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

Now you can enjoy these delicious and fragrant Brown Pfeffernussen with a cup of warm tea or coffee. They are perfect for holiday gatherings or as homemade gifts for friends and family.

Similar recipe dishes:
1. Traditional German Lebkuchen: Lebkuchen is another famous German holiday treat that shares similarities with Pfeffernussen. It is a spiced gingerbread-like cookie, usually topped with icing or glaze, and can sometimes include nuts or candied fruits.

2. Dutch Speculaas: Speculaas are spiced cookies that hail from the Netherlands. They are often shaped into traditional windmill or Sinterklaas (Dutch Santa Claus) designs. Speculaas also include spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, making them a delicious alternative to Pfeffernussen.

3. Swedish Pepparkakor: Pepparkakor are thin, crispy Swedish gingerbread cookies that are commonly enjoyed during the Christmas season. They are flavored with spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, similar to Pfeffernussen, but have a slightly different texture due to the absence of "Hirschhorn Salz".

These recipes share a common theme of spiced flavors and are enjoyed by many cultures during the holiday season. It's always fun to explore different traditions and try out new recipes during this festive time of year.

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