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BackstoryEveryone has their own recipe, many are regional. Back in my neck of the woods peppernuts had anise in them. Others will swear that anise doesn't belong. Some peppernuts don't even have pepper in them at all. This recipe comes from my mostly Russian but a bit of Polish side of the family if that makes a difference to those familar with the cookie.
This is my grandma's recipe. She is in her mid 90's now and can't cook anymore. Each year I make her recipe and send them back home to her. I have measured every peppernut I have tasted against this recipe, maybe I am just a little partial
Grandma was the peppernut queen in her day. We spent every weekend from after Thanksgiving until Christmas working on these. The dough gets better with age so we would make a batch, pop it in the fridge to mellow out, and then get started baking the previous weekend's batch. Of course the first weekend we made 2 batches. One to cook right away, after all we have waited all year for this, and one to mellow until the next week. Her orignal recipe was huge. This is the scaled down version. The orignal would completely cover her dining room table in layers after layer of peppernut dough ropes. It was a family and friend event, everyone was roped in! Sorry couldn't resist that one
- 1 cup lard
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 heaping tsp pepper
- 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
- 1 heaping tsp nutmeg
- 1 heaping tsp ginger
- 1 heaping tsp ground anise seed
- 1 heaping tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt.
- flour, approx 2 1/2 lbs
- bake at 350 for about 10-15 min on ungreased cookie sheets. Depending on your oven.
- Cream lard, butter, brown sugar & white sugar. Add buttermilk and egg. Mix well
- Add spices & baking powder, soda & salt.
- Mix in flour a little at a time, till it becomes a stiff dough and & not to sticky to roll out. .
- Place in fridge for at least 3 hours. I personally think 3 - 5 days is perfect.
- Remove dough from fridge. Roll dough into ropes about the size of a nickle.
- Slice rolls into 1/4" to l/2" thick pieces.
- Bake on ungreased cookie sheets until slightly brown. They should be hard and crunchy when cooled. I leave them out overnight, covered with a flour sack towel to insure that they are fully dry before bagging up. They last for a LONG time and are ideal for shipping because they don't break in the mail.