|Pebernødder, served on traditional Danish Christmas porcelain from Royal Copenhagen|
The first time I had these delectable Danish cookies was in Copenhagen, just a few days before Christmas. Thor took me to Hviids Vinstue, a 300 year old tavern where Hans Christian Andersen was known to frequent. They're known for their glög or mulled wine, which is outstanding, but I also remember the large glass bowls of pebernørdder for eating with the warm drink. Danes celebrate Christmas better than anyone else and their traditions are long standing. Everywhere we went there were plates of cookies to be served with a cup of coffee or some glög.
|a cozy corner inside of Hviids Vinstue|
These Danish Pebernødder, translated as pepper nuts, are in my opinion the perfect Christmas cookie. They're bite sized, not too sweet, and spiced to perfection. They're traditionally the size of a hazlenut and quite crunchy. I've tinkered with the recipe over the years to soften the cookie just a bit, and I make it just a little bit larger so you really get a mouthful of spice.
2.5 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened
Preheat oven to 350 F
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, nutmeng, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper, baking powder and soda, salt).
Add the eggs to the dry ingredients and mix on low. Slowly add the soft butter about 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined into a dark dough.
Shape the dough into a dense smooth ball, cover and refridgerate at least 30minutes up to overnight.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the refridgerator until soft enough to work with. Pinch off about an acorn sized about of dough and roll between your palms into a tight ball. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Continue to do this with all of the dough, you should end up with about 60-80 cookies. You could make them smaller if you like, frankly I just get tired of rolling baby hazlenuts. :)
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Do not let them get too brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.