Crunchy Gingerbread Bites (Pfeffernusse) are bite-sized cookies with a European heritage. They stay fresh for days and don’t crumble–perfect for gift-giving.
These cookies won the Star-Telegram Christmas cookie contest awhile back–I think. Or maybe it was second place. I’m not sure. Anyway, I printed the details and stuck it in my someday-I-want-to-try-this file.
When I heard our church needed cookies for the Christmas baskets we give to the older and less mobile members, I dug out this recipe. It was the perfect opportunity to experiment because I would have something to do with them besides stuff my own face.
Turns out that Crunchy Gingerbread Bites make excellent gifts for three reasons:
- They don’t crumble.
- They stay fresh and delicious up to 3 weeks or can be frozen.
- No decorating required.
By the way, I made up the name “Crunchy Gingerbread Bites” because who can pronounce their real name unless you speak German? I won’t even try to explain the translation, pepper nuts, but you can read about it on Wikipedia.
These miniature sweets are some trouble, officially qualifying them as Christmas cookies. I’ve figured out if you want to be labeled a Christmas cookie, you must be either red, green, or labor-intensive. Not saying these are difficult to make–they couldn’t be easier. It just takes a chunk of time to cut all those little pieces of dough. Don’t worry, the last tray only took about a third of the time of the first tray.
Rolling out Crunchy Gingerbread Bites:
Originally, I thought I would roll each little ball by hand. HA! There must be about a thousand per batch. People eat them by the handfuls, so trying to make them look perfect is wasted energy.
To package them, I put about 3/4 cup in each cellophane bag (available at craft stores) and tied each package with red raffia. A cute Christmas label would have been nice. (Sigh) Maybe next year.
Crispy bite-size cookies reminiscent of gingerbread. Also known as Pfeffernusse.
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons dark syrup (I used date syrup but dark corn syrup or molasses is also good)
- 3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons soda
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon anise oil (optional)
- Whip room-temperature butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and egg and continue to beat.
- Add remaining ingredients in order given.
- Pull off small pieces of dough and roll to the thickness of a pencil. Slice into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. Place on a cookie sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown.
Keywords: cookies, gingerbread, gifts, holidays, Christmas