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Today's Case

Particular Peppernuts Cookies

Subject: Particular Peppernut cookies
From: Diane
Date: 11/14/2019, 11:22 AM

On 11/13/2019 11:45 AM, diane wrote:

No one in my family has been able to duplicate grandmas peppernut cookies. 
These were very hard cookies great for dunking or breaking a tooth! I scanned 
over your archives, none of the listed peppernut recipes are close. These were 
a very stiff cookie dough (mom killed her mixer attempting make them). 
She would roll the dough out to about almost 1/2 inch thick, then cut them 
into round discs, grandpa made a special cutter that looked like a metal shot 
glass with the small end cut off. When cut out she would place them on a cookie 
sheet & carry them to the basement to dry. I recall her turning each cookie 
over allowing both sides to dry (my sister does not recall the flip over).
Once it was time to bake them she would sit at the table with a small dish of 
whiskey or bourbon, she then dipped her finger in the whiskey then touch each 
cookie on the top. 
When they baked each cookie would puff up like a bubble. Jiffypop popcorn or a 
big puffed chefs hat come to mind. Most would puff up some didn't (mom like 
the duds best so she could drop 2 or 3 in her coffee cup at once) 
Both of my sisters have made them numerous times, none have ever puffed up.
May I need to get the recipe & have a go at it. 
I do remember there was citrin (sp) hard green jellied stuff in them possibly 
anise or anise seed, quite a few of grandmas cookies had both in them.
Hopefully you can find it. Lots of grandmas recipes had side notes or changes 
she didn't write down. I'm pretty sure this was a handed down recipe. Grandma 
was born in 1901 & raised in the Plain City/Marysville Ohio area, great grandmas 
maiden name was Schlegel if that helps any.

Thanks so much,

Hi Diane,

Sorry, I had no success finding a recipe that closely fits your description.

Much of the information that you give is description of the way your grandmother made them, which is not what would be given in a recipe. Without searchable terms like unique ingredients, the only way to determine if a similar recipe is on the internet would be to locate every single recipe on the web for "peppernuts" or "pfeffernüsse" and compare the description, which would take more time than I can devote to it.  However, I would question whether your grandmother's recipe would be on the internet or in a cookbook at all. You said it is a "handed-down" recipe. If so, how would it ever have gotten posted on the web unless by someone in your own family?

I will post this request for reader input. Maybe one of my readers has an old recipe for these cookies that has the citron and anise and will make the connection with the puffing/not puffing.


Hi Diane,

A reader told me that there was a similar recipe on this site: RecipeLand

I went there and checked. That site has six "pfeffernusse" (peppernuts) recipes. Two have recipes with citron, but no anise. One has anise, but no citron.

You might begin with one of those and see how close you can get to your grandma's peppernuts. Follow the above link to the six recipes.


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