In my previous “traditions posts, I shared “Katy Valentine’s Fabulous Fruitcake” and “Katy Valentine’s Incredible English Plum Pudding” recipes, which needed to be started well before the end-of-year holidays in order to allow the aroma and flavor of the Frey Ranch (https://freyranch.com) whiskey to permeate the cakes and pudding.
This is a cookie recipe that can be made just before eating. I am a type II diabetic and on a KETO regimen, so I should no longer eat this dessert as it violates my diet. However, I still plan on making this for my late-night snacks and am sure that I will eat more than my share as it is one of my 4 most favorite holiday desserts. I know that my daughter Kelli loves these cookies, so if you make some this holiday season, make sure that you share your production with Kelli and Neil Kelly for judging. But be advised she may make her own cookies.
I will call this one: “Katy Valentine’s Perfect Pfefferneuse (Dog Biscuit) Cookies”
These Pfefferneuse (pronounced “Feffer Nus”) Cookies are made from an old German recipe. My mother’s family came from Germany, through Russia (Germans from Ukraine) so I am sure that this recipe is older than my mom. Pfefferneuse translates to “Pepper Nuts.”
Mom made these cookies around Thanksgiving when I was growing up. As these were a family favorite we would get 5-10 cookies in the lunches that we packed to school. When I got older, I would make these earlier in the year in order to “relieve mom’s burden,” as I would say, but mostly to satisfy my insatiable craving.
There are commercial Pfefferneuse available. I have found them on Amazon as well as at Trader Joe’s. However, neither source was anything like these. They were shaped more like chocolate chip cookies and were covered with powdered sugar, which I do not like to see on what is an old German recipe. There are other recipes on the interweb, such as the one found at https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/155182/pfeffernusse-cookies/. Of course, my mother’s recipe is superior. However, that does not mean that you cannot experiment with additional spices such as those found in the other recipes.
Katy Valentine’s Perfect Pfefferneuse (Dog Biscuit) cookie
2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp anise seed or ¼ tsp anise oil (I almost always double the anise)
5 or 6 cups all-purpose flour (start with 5 cups of flour, reserving the remainder)
2 oz citron, chopped very fine
Beat the eggs with the sugar. Add the finely chopped citron and honey and continue to mix thoroughly. Add the spices and baking powder, mixing well.
Sift in part of the flour and beat thoroughly. Keep adding more flour until you have a soft dough.
Roll a portion of the dough into a rope on a well-floured board, parchment paper, or silicone baker’s sheet. The dough may be sticky, so keep adding flour until it no longer sticks. The rope should be about ¾” in diameter or 0.441786” in circumference (for you technically-minded chefs).
Cut into 1-inch pieces and bake on parchment paper in a preheated 375°F oven for 12-15 minutes. These cookies will not flatten and will resemble dog biscuits when finished. When hot, the dog biscuits will be softer than when cooled.
Warning: Mind that you do not break any teeth or crowns with the cooled cookies. I prefer them to be harder, so I take them out of the oven later when they start turning brown. Other family members prefer softer cookies, so when I bake them for the family, I take them out of the oven when they start turning brown…oops, my bad.
When we were little Mom would store them in the cupboard in dog biscuit boxes. When I would send them to Kelli and her sister I would also pack them the same way. As I haven’t had a dog for many years, I had to ask my neighbors for their empty boxes. Enjoy, but remember to share with Kelli and Neil Kelly.