Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pfferneuse : The Recipe

Earlier this year I posted a piece of light verse titled "Pfferneuse".  Someone emailed me about the post and has asked for the recipe I have used over the years.
It was my grandmother's handwritten recipe so I am not sure how old it is.  She was born in 1876 and died in 1967.

1 cup soft shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp anise seed
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
6-2/3 cups flour

Cream the shortening and sugar until smooth.  Add the eggs and spices and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the molasses, water and baking soda, mix together and add to the above.  Add flour and mix thoroughly.  (you will need an extra large bowl).
Chill at least 4 hours.  Then mold into long rolls 1/2" in diameter.  Cut into pieces 1/2" thick.  Place one cut side down on greased baking tins.  Bake in oven 400 degrees 8 minutes.  They should be as large and as brown as hazel nuts and makes about 400.

Now, let me say that I have never made pfferneuse exactly according to her directions.  I always felt that hazel nut size was too small.  And she doesn't mention powdered sugar coating.  So my modification of the recipe follows:  I use the same ingredients and prepare as per the recipe.  However I chill the dough overnight.  I mold into rolls about 1-1/4" in diameter and cut them 1/2" thick.  This will give you cookies about the same size as seen for sale in bakeries.  I do not grease the cookie sheet.  8 minutes is still just about the right time for baking. When cool, I put one cup of confectioner's sugar in a plastic bag, drop in the pfferneuse and shake to coat with the sugar.  Store in an airtight tin or container.  I usually get about twelve dozen cookies at this size.

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