I had lunch with a friend yesterday and told him I was making cookies. He looked interested until I told him what was in these cookies.
Besides the usual ingredients, they have candied fruit, strong coffee, and anise flavoring.
The cookies are Pfeffernusse, or, as my grandmother called them, peppernuts. They must be some odd variety, because most recipes I've seen for pfeffernusse call for the anise, but other than that are basic refrigerated butter-and-sugar cookies. My friend Karen makes them.
Ours are strange, but we all love them! When Grandma couldn't make them anymore, Mom did. Then I took over. Now it's tradition that I bake them.
It's an all-day project. First you make the very sticky dough, made with honey and corn syrup, as well as those odd ingredients. Chill the dough. Make small balls and bake them. Cool. Then dip them in icing made by boiling sugar, water, and anise.
Finally, roll them in powdered sugar.After all that, the icing hardens so they stay fresh pretty long, and freeze well.
I divided the batch in 3rds and sent some off to my siblings, who love them. Might as well; they're a little too weird to take to a cookie exchange or give to the mailman!