Pfeffernüsse

There are days when I don’t feel like baking. It usually comes from a place of being tired – not enough sleep, feeling icky-sicky-gross, having too many things on my plate. This week it’s been just being dog tired. The kittens are actually letting me get some sleep, which is very much appreciated, but my mind seems to have not quite caught up. Silly mind – tricks are for kids.

I just wasn’t going to bring anything in to work on Thursday as far as baked goods went – didn’t have time, and really didn’t have ingredients. I was down to my last egg. So why not get some more rest and wake up slowly and in a leisurely fashion?

Well, it comes down to this: If I am really interested in running a bakery, having my own business, I can’t just say, “Eh, I don’t feel like making anything today…” and expect to stay in business. It just doesn’t work that way. I need to know that I can be consistent in my baking, and follow through with a commitment – even if that commitment is all in my head. It’s not like I’m being paid to bring things to work, and while people enjoy the presence of baked goods, I don’t have anyone who comes to the office specifically for the baked goods. But I have made a commitment to myself that I will follow through with bringing baked goods to the office twice a week in a consistent manner to help myself explore different recipes and presentation style as well as help me grow personally in achieving a consistency in this portion of my work and personal life. This is a commitment to myself to follow through and see what I can do when I put my mind to it.

The long and short of it, then, was that I resolved to make something. But what can you make with just one egg? A bit of a conundrum, you see, since most cookie recipes require more than one egg, and I did need to make a minimum number of offerings so that they would last throughout the weekend. All cakes were out, pretty much, as well as brownies; same with most cookies. Even biscotti require 2-3 eggs depending on the recipe.

So I turned to my trusty BonAppetit Desserts book, which I just happened to have on-hand, and challenged myself to find a recipe that I could do that would fit my requirements. I almost went with shortbread, which doesn’t require eggs – but the ones that sounded the best were things like Italian Hazelnut-Espresso Shortbread and Almond Shortbread. Those are the two nuts I -don’t- have – I have walnuts and pecans and more walnuts and 1/4 cup slivered almonds. I have more nuts than I usually have, just not the ones I want!

The recipe for pfeffernüsse caught my eye. I had attempted to make it a few years ago to rather disastrous results, so I wanted to take a second chance at it. I’m very glad to say that I have figured out how to make that hard powdered sugar coating on the outside of cookies. I just couldn’t figure it out before ><

Pfeffernüsse

from Bon Appetit Desserts

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp crushed aniseed (this was the one spice I lacked – but it didn’t feel lacking without it. Of course, I’m not a fan of the flavor)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light molasses
1 large egg
2 cups (approx.) powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Whisk flour, spices, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, then stir in flour mixture.

Roll dough into 1tbsp balls (or using a cookie dough scoop) and place balls on baking sheet about 1.5-2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown on the bottom and just firm to the touch, about 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to rack and cool cookies on sheet for 5 minutes.

Place powdered sugar in brown paper bag or lidded plastic container. While still warm, drop 2-3 cookies into bag or container; close and shake gently to coat cookies with sugar. Transfer sugar-coated cookies to racks. Repeat with remaining cookies. Serve warm or at room temperature.


p.s. – The photo is most unfortunately not mine – that would belong to The Gourmand Mom.

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