This cookie recipe has a long history. I believe the original German recipe would be called pfefferneuse. Of course, Americans changed the name to peppernuts. I first tasted them at Mrs. Carlson’s house. Some of you have met her and might remember her: she is the homeliest, most beautiful old lady I’ve ever met. Always has a huge smile, and never has a bad word to say about anybody. Probably about 90 years old now and for all I know, still bakes these cookies. Where did I get this recipe? I am really not sure. But I do remember one of the girls in my 7th grade home ec class baked them and contributed a recipe to our class cookbook. I liked them, but the cookie never really caught on in the Rhodes family – we were spritz people. And gingersnaps.
But years later, something brought this back to my memory and I tried them out on my own kids. It might have been during the infamous 30-days-of-cookies Christmas. Well, they disappeared pretty quickly, maybe because they are tiny little cookies that you can eat by the handful. They are made by rolling the dough into a long strand, and then cutting off small pieces. When David was just tiny, he observed the process and apparently decided to make a batch of his own with his play dough. There he was in his little red overalls, rolling out the dough into long logs on the floor and cutting little pieces. I was in the kitchen with him and asked, “David, what are you making?” He didn’t pause or look up but replied, “Makin’ lumchumps.” Lumchumps? I still don’t know where he might have gotten that name from “pepper nuts.” But lumchumps they became and still are.
I really miss you kids at Christmastime: no one to bake cookies for!!
- 2 cups sugar (you can use part brown if you’d like)
- 2 cups honey
- 2 cups corn syrup (you can use molasses, if you’d like)
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cups sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons soda
- 2-4 drops anise oil (they are really better with anise oil, but it’s hard to find. I usually sub in 1 teaspoon of anise extract. I’ve heard of people crushing anise seeds – about 3/4 teaspoons.)
- 10 cups of flour. Yes, 10.
Mix the sugar, honey, syrup in a sauce pan. (a big one.) Add the butter. Heat and stir until the butter has melted. Sift and add the dry ingredients (I have to admit: the only time that I sift flour is when I make a cake) alternately with the sour cream. Roll up your sleeves and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon. Cover and chill overnight. Roll into long sticks – about 1/2″ in diameter – and cut pieces off. You can then roll these pieces into small balls, but seriously? They are going to round out as they bake anyway. I just put them on the cookie sheet, ungreased, about an inch apart. Bake at 300 degrees for …….oh, I don’ t know…..just don’t let them get too brown. Let me know how long that takes and I will amend the recipe. Makes a lot. A lot…….