Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday Cookie Exchange

A few weeks ago, Lori, of Fake Food Free, announced her International Holiday Cookie Recipe Exchange.  I decided to join in on the fun so that a) I'd be assured I'd make at least make one holiday cookie and b) I'd force myself to try something new, perhaps out of my comfort zone.

I was paired with Kat of A Good Appetite.  She was nice enough to send me an easy recipe!  Thank you, Kat!!  I enlisted my handy helper and off we went making these bite-sized cookies, called Pfeffernusse.  Colin had a bit of a cold so he was told to not put his thumb in his mouth or wipe his nose for the entirety of our cooking expedition.  How long do you think that lasted?  Let's just say we washed his hands no less than 5 times.

The first ingredient was molasses, or mol-lat-tious, as Colin called it.  I was thrilled to get to use up some of the molasses that has been sitting in my fridge for quite some time now.  Yuck!  Have you ever tasted that stuff right out of the jar?  It's not for the faint at heart.  Maybe it's an acquired taste.  I knew that molasses was the star ingredient in gingerbread, so we continued on our merry way hoping these would bear some resemblance to that treat.

I wasn't sure we'd ever get all the flour worked in.  In fact, I had to end up using the mixer even though the recipe says to stir.  Then we had to wait an hour while it set up in the fridge.  We just used that time to start prepping our dinner for the night.

As we were starting to roll the dough into logs, Daddy proceeds to walk by and nonchalantly declare that they looked like poop.  Yes they did but that doesn't make one want to rush to eat them after a comment like that.  The recipe says to roll the dough into 12 10-inch pieces.  I was not too successful with that.  I may have had 12 pieces but they were maybe 4-inches long.  Therefore, my adaptation did not yield quite the 240 pieces the recipe said.  I probably got 50.

Since I was making these to share with an adorable little 3-year old, I decided to modify the dipping chocolate by omitting the cayenne pepper in it.  This is the same little boy who sometimes asks us to remove the "flavoring" (spices) from his food, so I wasn't thinking he'd appreciate the little spice kick.  I also realized I didn't have 7-8 ounces of chocolate, so I had to get resourceful.  I ended up using about 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1/4 cup toffee bits, and 1 square of unsweetened chocolate.  The toffee pieces didn't melt as I had hoped but they still give a nice, somewhat unexpected crunch.  The toffee did make it a bit more difficult to dip/stick but once they went in the fridge, they set up just fine.

The verdict?  I have to admit I was a bit skeptical when I first took them out of the oven.  Like most cooks, I couldn't resist the urge to pop one in my mouth while it was still hot.  Pretty uninspiring, really.  But then after you dip them in the chocolate concoction, they are hard to put down!  They were super easy to make too, so that's an added bonus.  

Here is the original recipe with my adaptations in red.  Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Cayenne Chocolate Dipped Pfeffernusse

1/3 c molasses
1/4 c unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 c packed brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cardamon (1/4 tsp nutmeg)
1/4 t allspice
1/8 t pepper
2 c flour
7 - 8 oz chocolate, melted (we used dark chocolate) (1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1 unsweetened chocolate baking square, and 1/4 cup toffee bits)
1/2 t cayenne pepper or more to taste (omitted)

Put the molasses & butter into a saucepan & heat over low heat until the butter is melted. Pour into a large bowl & let cool to room temperature.

Beat the egg into the cooled molasses & butter. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamon, allspice & pepper. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, incorporating each addition completely before adding the next. Cover the bowl & chill the dough for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll the piece each out into 10-inch lengths. Cut each length into twenty 1/2-inch pieces. Place the pieces 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 -12 minutes until the sides of the cookies are firm & the bottoms lightly brown. Cool completely

Mix the cayenne into the melted chocolate. Dipped the cooled cookies into the melted chocolate coating about 1/2 of the cookie. Place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Chill in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.

Makes 240 cookies (or about 50 if you're me!)


  1. We used to eat biscuits & molasses for breakfast when I stayed at my grandmother's house. I like it but Shawn can't stand it. I guess it is an acquired taste. Strangely, I'm not that big of a fan of gingerbread, though. Weird.

  2. Don't be knockin' on molasses :) Even better when you cook it on the stove with some baking soda (i think that's what my dad uses) and it gets "fluffy!!"


  3. He is such a cutie! You have a beautiful family! I love your header!

    What would you do with a $75 gift card?  I have a  giveaway on my blog right now for just that!  

    Come on over and enter!  Good luck!

  4. The cookies turned out great! Thanks so much for participating!