Serious Eats: Recipes

Cakespy: Peppernuts Cookies

[Original artwork and photographs: Jessie Oleson]

Forget old letters and diaries—for me, old recipes are far more interesting. Not only do they teach us about the past, but they also offer the opportunity to share an intimate moment with the bakers of yesteryear.

So when I came across this employee-submitted recipe for Peppernuts (or Pfeffernusse in German), a small nut-shaped cookie in the Wilton Cookie Exchange book, described as being handed down over at least three generations, I immediately knew I wanted to give it a try.

While the first sheet came out crunchy, spicy, and overall pretty tasty, they had one fatal flaw: they were hopelessly unattractive.

20091214peppernuts.jpg

I decided to divide the remaining dough by making half of the cookies in the traditional way (by scattering bits of dough on the sheet and baking lumpy little cookies) and half by carefully shaping the cookies into rounds.

Though both versions tasted the same, the prettier ones disappeared faster.

Peppernuts Cookies

About the author: Jessie Oleson is a Seattle-based writer, illustrator, and cake anthropologist who runs Cakespy, an award-winning dessert website.

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