Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the kitchen smells so delightful!

Really delightful!  We’ve been selling tons and tons of pfeffernusse at work, so I decided to try my hand at some homemade!  I have a vague recollection of my mother making them once when I was a little kid, but they were never a family tradition in our Irish household.

I also made them once when we had a “Christmas Around the World” party back in the early 1970’s.  (I had Germany.  I made a stollen, too – it was terrible, from my very hazy recollections…)  But I digress…..

Pfeffernusse – which translates to pepper nut – is an easy cookie to make.  The only caveat is the dough needs to be made a day ahead of baking.


  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped candied orange peel
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup brandy

Powdered sugar for dusting

Mix the flour, baking powder and soda, and spices and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the sugars into the butter. Add the egg yolks and mix. Add the almonds, orange peel, lemon zest and mix some more. Stir one third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add the molasses and brandy. Then add the the rest of the flour mixture. When fully blended, cover and refrigerate overnight.

The following day… heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll spoonfuls of dough nto small balls and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 2″ apart.  (I use parchment paper – it’s worth it!!!)

Bake for about 12 – 14 minutes.  Roll in powdered sugar while still warm.  Roll once again when fully cooled, before serving.

Okay.  Easy.  And really, really good!

My cousin Mary Kate (she’d kill me for referring to her as “Mary Kate” – she’s been “Kate” for the past 40 years…) sent off this recipe for our family Reunion Cookbook back in 1986.  I’ve had it for 22 years, looked at it for 22 years, and finally decided to make them yesterday.  Damn, am I sorry I waited 22 years to make them!  They are really, really good!

Frosted Nutmeg Logs

A Christmas tradition at the Hodsdon house!


  • 1 C butter
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 3 C flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2-1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 tsp rum extract (I used Tortuga Rum)
  • 4 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, nutmeg, and extracts. Stir flour into creamed mixture. Shape into 1/2″ x 3″ rolls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool. Frost with Vanilla-Rum Icing.


  • 1/4 C butter or margarine
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp rum extract
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • Nutmeg

Cream butter. Add part of sugar and extracts. Mix. Add remaining sugar and enough cream to obtain desired spreading consistency. Frost cookies and run the tines of a fork down the frosting. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Makes 3-4 dozen. Another really simple, but extremely tasty cookie!  They’re also excellent unfrosted!

So there are now several doughs in the refrigerator ready to be baked – and more tomorrow and Saturday!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…..