One of our interviews included a bit about how Germans from Russia men selected wives according to size. Farm work was hard work; long hours and sometimes bigger in the bottom was better especially when it came to stomping down the hay in the header box.
But to be a good Russian German cook you need upper body strength as well. Kneading bread dough, rolling noodle dough or mixing up a pfefferneuse cookie dough required incredible feats of strength.
I baked my 18 or so pans of cookies this week. Like most things in life, these cookies require aging to be perfect. Over the weekend, I mixed the dough together but had to ask my spouse to come and hold the bowl for me as I just don’t have the strength in my arms like I did when I was weaving full time. That, in case you don’t know, is like aerobic exercise for eight hours a day and I was fit as a fiddle. Oh, and now I’m some 12 years older also…. wonder if that makes a difference also.
These cookies are worth waiting for. My husband asked me to hide them somewhere because he must have eaten a dozen after supper by himself. They are a most excellent cookie for coffee dunkers and they get better with age.
But be prepared. This is not a recipe for the weak of heart. It comes from the Emmanuel Lutheran Church cookbook circa 1975. The original cookbook cost around a buck. The reprint will run you closer to $25 and is available from the Germans from Russia Library at NDSU. They will have a booth at the Pride of Dakota Show this weekend in Bismarck.
SO here you go – LorRaine Rivinius recipe for Peppernut Cookies (that’s correct… in English)
4 cups sugar
3 cups honey
1 1/2 cup butter or Crisco (or 1/2 of each)
6 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups cold strong coffee ( I save my extra coffee in the freezer for chocolate cakes and cookies)
3 teaspoon soda
3 slightly rounded teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoon anise oil (get the real deal you won’t be sorry)
2 teaspoon cloves
16 to 17 cups of flour (make sure you have a 10-pound bag)
DIRECTIONS: Bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil, then cool. Add the following 11 ingredients and mix. Let dough set overnight. make in balls, press down slightly and bake. While warm, roll in thin glaze of powdered sugar, boiling water and anise oil. (I just dust mine in powdered sugar). Drip on a wire rack to cool. Store in closed container with a slice of bread to keep them soft.