There’s pepper in these cookies? Surely not! Yes, that’s why they’re called Peppernuts. Oh, but there are no nuts in the cookies. They’re called peppernuts because they have pepper in them, they are tiny and you eat them like you would eat a handful of nuts. Thus the name Peppernuts.
The best thing about Peppernuts? They taste just like my Grandma’s. I was so excited after I ate my first one twelve (it’s okay, they’re tiny, remember?). I hadn’t had a peppernut for YEARS, because the only person I ever knew to make them was Grandma and she’s been gone since before my oldest was born. Peppernuts…such sweet little bites of memories.
Peppernuts had actually fallen off my radar until my friend Gail mentioned them to me a couple of months ago. Suddenly…I NEEDED some peppernuts. Gail found a recipe and emailed it to me. Then of course I “whole wheat floured” and “sucanated” it…and woohoo…just like Grandma’s!
This experience gave me a whole new respect for Grandma because these tiny little cookies are a little bit time intensive. They’re not hard to make mind you…but the recipe makes a HUGE batch of dough, then you roll the dough into teeny tiny snakes and cut off teeny tiny pieces and you bake them into teeny tiny cookie bites. It took two to three hours to get through all of the dough. It was worth the time and effort, but I’m guessing I’ll only be making these a few times a year.
1 cup butter, melted
4 cups sucanat
1 teaspoon real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon hot water
6-7 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Beat first five ingredients well. Dissolve soda in water then add to first five ingredients. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Knead into firm dough (hand mixing will probably be required. This dough is too stiff for most electric mixers). Chill overnight or at least two hours. Roll into “snake-like rolls” a little smaller than dime size in diameter. Cut into small pieces about 1/4″ thick. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in 350° oven for 7-8 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
And now, some Peppernut Pictures…
As you can see from the amount of ingredients, this recipe does make a huge big blob of dough:
If in fact you cut your tiny little pieces not quite tiny enough, they expand and bake together into one huge crazy looking…thing…on your baking pan. You will then learn that your idea of tiny wasn’t tiny enough and you need to cut them even tinier. Take note, the following peppernuts are cut too big (even though they look small) and are too close together on the pan.
Which resulted in something freaky like this:
Instead cut them teeny-tiny like this:
So that they will look like this:
It is a little bit fun if they are too close together on the pan and you get a peppernut snowman:
Or a peppernut worm:
After you have rolled and cut your twenty sixth snake, you will realize that it’s easier to line up a snake or two and cut them at the same time. This revelation saves you 18 precious seconds.
These Peppernuts fill up the biggest bowl you have and then some. They’re great to package up in small bags to give as Christmas time gifts to coworkers and neighbors.
But of course, you should put some in cute jars and keep them in your kitchen for family time munching with Hot Cocoa.
You know what’s better than eating Peppernuts?
Looking at Peppernuts in cute jars.