Sunday, December 9, 2007

Lazy Weekend

With more snow in the forecast, I ran around like a madwoman on Friday night, trying to get all of my errands done. I squeezed in some Christmas shopping and a much needed trip to the grocery store. I was prepared to be 'snowbound' all weekend!

Saturday started with laundry and some quick housecleaning to get it out of the way and move on to the big project for the day - making Grandma Pete's version of Pfeffernuesse - small, hard, round cookies that have been a family favorite since before I was born. (The name translates into pepper nuts in German, Danish and Dutch, describing their spicy blend of cinnamon, cloves and anise.) The process involves bringing the wet ingredients to a boil, then cooling it off before adding the spices and flour. The, you have to chill the dough for a couple more hours before rolling it out into ropes, cutting and baking them. I finished making the dough at about noon, started baking about 2:00 and finished right around 5:30, just as the snow was starting to fall. Mary and the kids showed up shortly after that to collect their batch - Mary seemed pretty excited that I had revived this holiday tradition. I watched a little TV, but went to bed early; I could hardly keep my eyes open.
Sunday started with a trip outside to clean off the car and move it around so that the driveway could get plowed. I fixed some coffee with my favorite peppermint-mocha creamer and set about doing an at-home-pedicure while Bailey napped. Mom stopped by to pick up her batch of cookies and the afternoon was spent on the couch, watching Pirates of the Caribbean III and eating popcorn. I couldn't have asked for a more relaxing weekend!
Grandma Pete's Peppernuts:
1 cup molasses
1 cup dark Karo syrup
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon (not quite) ground cloves
1 teaspoon (a little more) cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground anise
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 T. vinegar
6 cups flour (more or less)
Heat 1st four ingredients to boiling point, then chill to cool. When cool, add spices, the soda dissolved in vinegar and finally the flour. Mix together to make a real stiff cookie dough. Chill. Take pieces of the dough and roll into rope lengths. Slice ropes into 1/2 inch thick "peppernut" pieces. Spread pieces on cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool.

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