3 cups AP Flour
1 1/4 tsp Bakers Ammonia
1 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Mace
1/2 tsp Cardamom
3/8 tsp finely Ground white Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Clove
1/2 cup finely ground Hazelnuts
1 1/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1/2 lemon -or- 1/8 tsp Lemon oil
Whisk together the Flour, Spices, Salt, Pepper and Ammonia; Set aside
In a large Bowl, beat eggs on medium until pale and slightly expanded. Gradually beat in the sugar; Once sugar is added, continue to beat the eggs until light and fluffy, eggs will thicken. (About 10 - 12 minutes)
Add the 1/3 of the flour mixture and incorporate on low speed. Add 1/2 of the remaining flour mixture and incorporate on low speed.
Add the Hazelnuts and lemon Zest to the Remaining flour mixture, whisk well and add to the egg mixture.
Divide dough in 2 and roll out on a lightly floured board to about 1/2 inch. Cut small 1 inch rounds and place on cookie sheet at 1 inch intervals.
Let cookies sit at room temperature overnight.
Before baking, turn cookies over and place a drop of Gran Marnier in the center of each cookie.
Bake at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Check cookies by breaking 1 in half, if it is crisp it is done, if it is soft, it is not done.
Cool to just above room temp on racks, them move to a zip lock bag with powdered sugar and shake the cookies to coat. Remove and cook completely on rack.
Store in an airtight container.
These cookies are better when aged, it allows the spices to meld so the cookie's flavor matures after about 1 - 2 weeks.
Pairs Well With
Peppernuts/Pfeffernuesse/Pfeffernussen/Pebernodder/Pepperkaker. Regardless of whether you are American, German, Swedish, Danish, or Norwegian, ground pepper is what gives these spice cookies a kick. Please do not confuse these with Ammonia Cookies, Anise cookies or Springerle. There are a myriad amount of recipes containing everything from Honey to Corn Syrup or Molasses. And, yes, I have seen some that contain anise in some way shape or form, but those all seem to be lacking the actual 'Pepper' for which the cookies are named. I personally prefer a more Danish twist to my peppernuts by using white pepper instead of black and including cardamom as well as substituting Mace for nutmeg.
I always make these before Thanksgiving so they have plenty of time to ripen before the Christmas season