“Pebernødder”, meaning “pepper nuts”, are a traditional and very popular Danish Christmas treat.
Presented in a jar with a ribbon, they make the perfect little gift for teachers, neighbours and others that you would like to make happy during the holidays.
The best part is that these spicy “nuts” are easy to make, and this is a perfect baking project also if you have little helpers in the kitchen. Rolling these little cookies into “nuts” is a perfect activity for little hands.
Despite the name “pebernødder” that directly translates into “pepper nuts”, most recipes don’t even include pepper. This is apparently explained by the fact that in the good old days, “peppery” just meant spicy (well, at least in Danish). Pepper was also a very expensive ingredient. This recipe, however, includes white pepper, which gives these cookies a perfect, subtle little kick of spiciness.
The “nut” part of the name comes obviously from the size and shape of this Christmas treat. It also stems from a time when pepper nuts were baked in the after heat of the oven without any type of leavening agents, which made them hard as stone - or nuts…
Luckily, both baking powder and soda are added to this dough, so these nuts will be crispy to the bite and a little soft on the inside.
This recipe was originally developed by Ole Kristoffersen from the famous Danish bakery Lagkagehuset.
This is quite a big batch. If you don’t feel like rolling 250 little balls in one go, you can keep the dough in the fridge for a week or roll and bake a baking tray or two, whenever you feel like it.
(About 250 pepper nuts)
250 gm room tempered butter
2,5 dl sugar
1 dl whipping cream
500 gm wheat flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Turn on the oven on 200C (for a normal oven (175 degrees for a convection oven)).
If you didn’t remember to take the butter out of the fridge in time, then you can heat it a little bit in a microwave oven. Whisk the soft butter and sugar by hand or with an electric mixer into an even mass. Add cream and whisk a little more, not too hard.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, ginger, cinnamon, white pepper, cardamom, baking powder and baking soda. Then add to the sugar-butter-cream mixture. Gather the dough by hand and shape it into a ball.
Divide the dough into a few smaller pieces and roll one of them into a finger thick, long stick.
Cut into small, about 1 cm. long pieces.
You can now roll them or squeeze them into flat buttons - or both. Whatever you prefer.
Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at 200C for 6 - 8 minutes, or until the cookies are golden. You can bake some a little less, and some more, then there are pepper nuts for every taste!.
Let cool completely, before you place them in a tin or a jar.