By Vesna Vuynovich Kovach
In Brava Magazine, December 2006

Literally translated as “pepper nut,” these walnut-shaped treats are named after the Pfefferlanden – “Pepper Lands” – an old German nickname for the spice-rich Far East. “The dough is very thick and dark, and has a spicy taste of cloves, cinnamon and anise,” says bakery owner Angela Anderson, who generously shares here the bakery’s century-old recipe. “It’s difficult to compare the flavor to any other cookie. We only make these at Christmas time, and include them in our ethnic cookie sampler.”

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground anise (or more, depending on your taste)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 2/3 cups all purpose flour.
Melted butter and powdered sugar, for rolling

In large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs and spices. Combine corn syrup, molasses, water and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture. Using mixer, add 3 cups of the flour. Add the rest of the flour and mix by hand. The dough will be very stiff. Use your hands to shape round balls of dough into balls about the size of small walnuts. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° F for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly brown. Dip cookies in melted butter and roll in powdered sugar. Yield: 300 cookies. These freeze well.