Monday, December 12, 2011

Gluten-free German Pfeffernusse Cookies (for Christmas)



As I mentioned previously (maybe in another blog lol), I recall making delightful pfeffernusse cookies with my late mother-in-law.  I was young and pregnant.  She was compassionate.  Together we covered the entire top of her kitchen table with cookies in various stages of glazed-ness.  Then, as I remember, they disappeared for a while so they could mellow out.  Initially they are very hard, could crack your dental ware... I am not in the mood for another expensive trip to get my porcelain crowns replaced.

Here is my version of Pfeffernusse--vegan and Gluten-free-- it involves raw cacao powder so in truth they taste a little like a cross between the pfeffernusse and a scone (or in my humble opinion).   The spicy, peppery-ness fills the air with love when they bake.  You might want to listen to this music as you bake them.

  • 1/3 C. Molasses
  • 1/2 C. Honey
  • 3 T. Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 2 "Flax Eggs" (Mix 2 T. Flax Meal in 6-8 T. Hot Water and let sit)
  • 2 T. freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 C. Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Biscuit Baking Mix**
  • 1 C. Almond Pulp (from making Almond Mylk)***
  • 1/2 C. Cocoa or Raw Cacao Powder
  • 3/4 tsp. ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground Cloves
  • 3/4 tsp. ground Cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. gluten-free Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt OR 1/4 C. Nutritional Yeast****
  • 1 cup gluten-free powdered sugar to dust cookies after baking (optional)
  • Jam or Jelly of choice for thumbprints ( I used homemade Blackberry)
1. You can add all the wet ingredients (including lemon peel and flax egg) to a mix bowl and mix up, and then add dry ingredients (except for dusting sugar), or you can do what I do in a rather non-traditional way and just dump everything into your food processor and process until creamy smooth.
2. Then put a sheet of plastic wrap tightly over the canister or bowl and refrigerate the batter for 8 or more hours (I did it overnight).
3. To bake: Preheat the oven to 350F or 176C.  I use a silicone sheet/liner on a cookie sheet, but you can also either use parchment paper or lightly oil your pans directly with coconut oil.  
4. Shape 1T. of batter into a ball (a SMALL tablespoon quantity works well) and space out on sheets so that there is about 1 1/2" between balls.  You should have enough batter for 36 balls.  If you find the batter is too sticky to handle, powder your hands with the dusting sugar.
5. If you wish to eliminate the dredging (dusting) sugar, just make a thumbprint in each cookie and add in about 1/4 tsp. of jam or jelly.
6. Bake for 13 - 15 minutes so the cookies are firm but not hard.  
7. Transfer the cookies to the cooling racks for about 10 minutes.  If you plan to dredge with dusting sugar, go ahead and do that after 10 minutes.  (I throw 1 C. of Coconut Palm Sugar into my Vitamix and get a low-glycemic but sweet dusting sugar.  I add in about 1/4 C. of shredded coconut).
8. I would like to describe them more as pfefferneuse "scones" since they are not hard little crunchers like the true pfeffernusse (chewier with a sort of biscuity texture, perhaps because I used the mix I did?  In any case, they are yummy.... perfect with a hot seasonal drink-- nog, spicy tea, coffee, etc.)   I would definitely go for the thumbprints over the sugar-dusted cookies, but that might just be a personal preference.  I made some of both.  
9. After completely cool, store in airtight container.  Merry Christmas! 

** Please feel free to use another brand of GF baking mix-- or put together your own.
***Click on the link to find out how to make Almond Mylk and harvest the great pulp.  Conversely, use Almond Flour or Almond Meal or maybe mix together and add about 1/2 C. of Tapioca Flour with 1/2 C. Almond Butter
****Nutritional Yeast is not baking or brewer's yeast-- it has a mild saltiness without the sodium level

If you are really in a Christmas-y mood and want to have a little tour of the Karlesruhe Christmas Market (in German) go here.
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Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.
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