Pfeffernusse is a traditional German Christmas cookie. The Danes and the Swedes also claim this Christmas tradition as their own calling these cookies Pebernodder and Perrarnotter respectively. The name Pfeffernusse, Pebernodder, or Perrarnotter translated into English is Pepper Nuts. These are somewhat different than the ones you can buy in the stores at Christmas time. Instead of being hard, dry spice cookies, these are soft, moist spicy cookies with a medium hot disposition. Their heat is derived from ground Jamaican Scotch Bonnet peppers. (Note: The European/Scandinavian versions of this cookie do NOT call for Scotch Bonnet pepper. That is my contribution.)
You can control the heat to make these milder or hotter as you desire by varying the amount of ground Scotch Bonnet Pepper you use. If you want them really mild, you can leave out the ground Scotch Bonnet altogether or if you like them blazin', try 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons of ground Scotch Bonnet instead of the 1 teaspoon called for in the recipe.
Beat the eggs with both sugars until the mixture is very thick and almost white. Add lemon rind, candied fruit, almonds, baking soda and spices. Mix well. Add flour a little at a time and stir in thoroughly until mixture is very heavy and will form a ball when kneaded in the hand without sticking to the hand. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and form into several rolls, approximately 1 inch in diameter. Cut the rolls into 3/4 inch slices. Arrange the slices on a buttered cookie sheet, leaving approximateluy 2 inches between cookies in all directions. Bake in a 300 degree F. oven for approximatley 15 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies brown. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes.
Remove cookies from cookie sheet one at a time and dunk in a bowl of light rum for 3 seconds. Drain each cookie briefly and then coat with
confectioners' sugar. Place cookies in single layers on racks or cookie sheets or cardboard covered with aluminum foil and allow cookies
to dry for several hours (overnight is best). Carefully remove cookies and place in plastic bags or other airtight containers for storage.
These cookies will remain delightful for at least a month if they are stored in airtight containers.
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