Sunday, 5 December 2010

Pfefferkuchen - the backstory

Pfefferkuchen update:
Made my very first batch of Pfefferkuchen on Friday.
The recipe was a blend of two I found online, adjusted in light of my having no hazelnuts and tons of ground almonds. They are were delicious, definitely worth making and not difficult.

Top tips:
1. Toast the whole almonds in a frying pan till lightly browned, then grind in the food processor. The aroma is unbelievable.
2. Take whole cardamoms, remove the outer husk and grind the little seeds in a pestle and mortar. Again the aroma released  - amazing.
3. Have Rufus on hand to do quality control. (My friend Anne is administering the test!)
4. Bake plenty, they keep well and they taste good - so you'll need lots.


  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted and ground (6 oz)
  • 1 cup ground almonds  (I should have used 6 oz of hazelnuts roasted - but squirrels got there first)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 oz)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon (Saigon cinnamon if you can find it)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon (grind it yourself)
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg - freshly grated
  • 3 TBsp grated zest of orange
  • 2  TBsp grated zest of lemon
  • 1&1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2  TBsp cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 TBsp unsalted butter, softened  (3/4 stick)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (5 oz)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups icing sugar (confectioners sugar) (7 oz)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
1. Heat oven to 350F, 180 C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
2. Add toasted almonds, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cardamom & nutmeg to a food processor and grind to a fine meal (30-60 secs).
Add fruit zest and process for 15 seconds more.
3. Whisk together flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
4. In large bowl beat together softened butter and brown sugar at medium speed for 2 mins, till light and fluffy 
 Add eggs one by one and beat. Add vanilla extract.
 Add flour mixture and continue to beat for 1 minute, till mixed.
5. Add ground nut mixture from processor and mix evenly.
6. Make small mounds of the mixture and place on baking sheet about 1 inch apart. (About 1-2 tbsp of mixture). Form small balls and then flatten slightly when on the sheet, approx 10 Pfefferkuchen per sheet.
7. Bake till the Pfefferkuchen have small cracks on top and the sides are firm. Takes 12 -18 minutes,  depending on size of them. Switch the two baking sheets half way through cooking.
8. Allow Pfefferkuchen to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before transferring them to a cooling rack.
9. When the Pfefferkuchen are cool, whisk the icing sugar and milk together till smooth. Brush or spoon a thin layer of glaze over the cookies and allow it to set. The glaze is a little runny, which allows it to flow over the top and soak in a little.

Enjoy baking together this Christmas.

Remember to play this whilst you are baking!


Astrid said...

Mmm, looks yummy. Much fancier than our batch! Shame there were no pfefferkuchens left for a photo!!!

Ingrid @ Fable of the Table said...

You spotted that we ate them all!
Just to clarify - pfefferkuchen are not the same as pepparkacka.
Pepparkacka are similar to gingerbread but pfefferkuchen, apart from having a lot of fff's, are chewier, nuttier and altogether delicious.

Mayda Villar (Cuatro en la Carretera) said...

This recipe looks awesome! And I loved the video! So funny...

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